(Dec. 2, 2015) As a boy in the late 1960s, Wil Ramos Jr. took a trip with his father to Italy to visit the source of the marble tiles for Tampa International Airport’s new and ultra-modern terminal.
He remembers driving out to a small farm with a marble-cutting operation outside of a town on Italy’s west coast. Underneath a simple pole barn, a man was cutting the marble and then splitting it by hand with a mallet and chisel.
“I thought it was pretty amazing,” Ramos said. “The amount of care that went into making the tile is something I’ll never forget.”
His father would later install the marble on all the columns of the airport’s main terminal – a feature that remains in place today.
Now Ramos and his company, Architectural Tile & Marble are back at the airport to continue the work his family started more than four decades ago.
The Tampa-based company that Ramos took over in 1987 is doing all the tile and carpet work on the airport’s main terminal expansion project as well as on the automated people mover stations and rental car center. Combined, his company is installing roughly 340,000 square-feet of tile and carpet with a total contract value coming in at more than $6 million.
That’s a good size contract for Ramos and his company of roughly 40 employees, ranking up with the larger projects they have undertaken. Ramos estimates they will have about 20 people on site working. He expects to add about 10 people to his field crews to accommodate the project.
Ramos is no stranger to TPA himself. Between 2012 and 2014, he worked on the airport’s Main Terminal modernization project, which included roughly 110,000 square-feet of tile and carpet work on the ticketing level and airside F.
“I am certainly proud of the work we have completed and the upcoming work at Tampa International Airport,” he said.
Ramos, 57, is a fourth generation Tampa resident and comes from a large family of five boys – all of whom are in the construction and development business in Tampa. His company is his second family, and many of his employees have been with him for decades. His daughter, Ansley, has been with the company for three years.
Ramos started working in the business during the summers in between high school and college. He started full time in the field in 1980 for a man, Richard Martinez, who is still with the company as a general superintendent. Ramos says he has a few employees who have been there 20-plus years, including his Vice President Paul Schmidt.
“The airport is typically the first and last impression of a city for travelers,” Ramos said. “As a lifelong Tampa resident, I am honored to have the opportunity to work on such an influential landmark.”