Tampa International Airport Trio Makes it Look Easy

Tampa International Airport employees
Coordinators Trudy Brandvold, Kelly Figley, Debbie Stokes


It takes a village, or at least a powerhouse trio, to pull off the Tampa International Airport campaign each year. Fortunately, the airport is in the very capable hands of Kelly Figley, Trudy Brandvold and Debbie Stokes, with a combined 40 years’ experience running their internal campaign and the massive effort behind the TPA 5K on the Runway. All members of the airport marketing department, Kelly acts as the liaison between the campaign chairs, Aviation Authority departments and United Way; Trudy handles the financial and reporting aspects of the campaign and 5K and Debbie manages and coordinates details of the campaign and 5K.

As Kelly says, “The United Way Suncoast very much feels like a part of Tampa International Airport’s family, and it’s something that stays top of mind for all of our employees year-round. From our CEO Joe Lopano, who is extremely passionate about the UWS mission, to all of our employees who give year-round and help support our fundraising events, we take a lot of pride in giving back to our community in a meaningful way. The UWS allows us to make an even bigger impact on our community than we could ever do alone.”

Over the past 10 years, with a two-year break due to the pandemic, the TPA 5K on the Runway has raised more than $600K, with 100% of the proceeds going to United Way Suncoast. Held the first Saturday in April, the race is the signature event kicking off their giving campaign. It’s also an opportunity to showcase the airport while doing something good for the community. Once the excitement of race day is over, employees participate in a variety of fun activities celebrating their internal campaign including raffles for hockey tickets and a 50-50 drawing.

Airport employees were able to see first-hand the impact UWS makes in the community during the federal government shutdown in 2109 as United Way coordinated efforts with community partners to set up an Assistance Center for TSA agents and other federal workers. The workers were able to stop by the center, located on airport property, to pick up food and other basic necessities to help them weather the storm. Kelly says, “Seeing our fellow federal employees in need and seeing the UWS and its partners spring into action touched us on a personal level. That really brought home the amazing work UWS does every day.”

We are so grateful for all our fantastic corporate partners like Tampa International Airport who enable the critical work we do in our community and we’re already training for the 2023 TPA 5K on the Runway.

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