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A retired Marine pilot is this year's 'Voice of Tampa International Airport'

 Sean Baker holds a hand rail on the Tampa International Airport shuttle as he smiles into the camera
Tampa International Airport
Sean Baker stands in the very shuttle where his own voice will greet him. The ex-Marine is proud to be the voice of Tampa International Airport.

The retired Marine helicopter pilot won a contest to become the voice welcoming travelers on the shuttle trams at Tampa International Airport during July.

Without thinking he would win, Sean Baker decided to enter Tampa International Airport’s "Voice of TPA" contest for fun. Now, he is the voice greeting thousands of travelers each day.

The contest awards the winner the opportunity to be the voice that greets passengers on the shuttles to and from the terminals throughout the month of July.

Since all the proceeds from the contest are donated to United Way Suncoast, Baker entered to support the good cause, but he said he certainly got more than he expected.

Hi, this is Sean Baker, a retired Marine Corps veteran and winner of this year's Voice of TPA contest. Thank you for visiting the Tampa Bay region. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Sean Baker's welcome message

"It was one of those things where you enter a drawing or something like that and think I'm never gonna win this stuff. And, at the end of the day, you really don't care," Baker said "I knew that I just wanted to donate and see what happens."

Baker, a retired U.S. Marine helicopter pilot who was previously stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, has been used to facing stressful situations across the globe. But that didn’t stop him from feeling nervous before his audio session.

Baker even compared the experience of recording his voice to his experience in the Marines.

"We always have to have hearing tests in the Marine Corps; you had to get it every year," Baker said. "And it was always the most dreaded thing because you had to get in this little soundproof room."

"I'm a pretty large person, but the booth was really tiny," Baker joked. "Once you're in it, you gotta exhale to fit in."

Now that he’s gotten his first taste of life as an audio star, Baker said he wouldn't mind pursuing it if the opportunity arises again. But for now, he wants to settle down in his Temple Terrace home and get a dog.

"Life is a journey, not a destination," Baker said. "I got to see the world. Now I get to go relax and see some good friends."

Tashie Tierney is the WUSF Stephen Noble Digital News intern for summer of 2023.