With more than 20 years of service under his belt, there’s no question that Senior Manager of Concessions Operations Walt Froman is one of the most familiar faces at PDX.
In honor of his retirement, we’re reprising this story from our archives. Take a moment to get to know this friendly, fashionable, fast-walking fan of the unique shops and restaurants that help make our airport consistently one of America’s Best.
Walt Froman isn’t afraid to step up when it comes to overseeing Portland International Airport shops, restaurants and services. In fact, he logs over 25,000 each day on his step counter, leading our PDX concessions operations team, and going the distance for your quality travel experience.
How would you describe your job to a first grader?
My team and I (total of six, including our intern) are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the restaurants, shops, passenger services (e.g. luggage carts and currency exchange), advertising and rental car programs and facilities at PDX. This includes establishing and maintaining operating hours and staffing, ensuring that all facilities are providing the best customer service possible, and maintaining our “street pricing” program, so passengers want to shop here. There’s much more, but these are our main roles.
What’s the coolest part of your job?
Interacting with the many different groups of people that I do daily and working with our business partners to help them achieve success and increase their sales.
What should everyone know about PDX shops, restaurants and services?
Most of our shops, restaurants and services are local. They are from Portland or somewhere in Oregon or the Northwest. Also, the products they offer and the prices they charge are exactly the same as their other stores. This is really unusual at an airport.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
There’s actually two things… I walk a lot, because the airport is a very big place and my business partners are located all over the airport. I usually walk between 25,000-35,000 steps per day. I also really like my job and working in general. I’m excited to come to PDX every day!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I started working full-time at age 12. At first, because I had a multi-purpose job in Cedar Hills Cent-Wise Drug Story in the neighborhood where I grew up, I wanted to be a pharmacist. Did that change! Organic chemistry and I just didn’t get along.
How do you balance your work and home life?
Our kids are raised and have become wonderful parents and citizens. So, it’s just me and my wife, who has become very similar to me relative to her commitment to her company and the amount of time she spends at her job. We understand and appreciate each other. Our relationship works.