Father to son: TSA early influencer inspires next gen innovator

Friday, June 14, 2024
Early adopter Estevan at TSA’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. (J. Trujillo photo)

Jeremy Trujillo was an influencer before influencers were cool. He shaped TSA officer behaviors, changed attitudes and looked sharp doing it long before social media was a thing.  

Of all the roles Trujillo has had over his nearly 22 years of TSA service, an instructional modeling gig as the fit-for-duty dresser in a “how to” graphic on correct uniform dress and appearance is the one that earned him the most followers.

“Being recognized at airports by local TSA officers was always comical,” recalled Trujillo.

TSO Jeremy Trujillo models the new TSA uniform. (TSA graphic)
TSO Jeremy Trujillo models the new TSA uniform. (TSA graphic)

Kip Hawley, the TSA Administrator at the time, enjoyed the TSA.gov uniform page because users were able to rotate Trujillo 360 degrees to view the new uniform.

“To this day, I have colleagues who get a chuckle after stumbling across the poster in TSA’s Mission Hall,” said Trujillo of the TSA mission-focused historical display at TSA’s Springfield, Virginia, headquarters.

His son, Estevan, was a toddler in arms when Jeremy wore the first-generation security screener uniform for the Pueblo and Colorado Springs TSA team from 2002 to 2008 and grew up tagging along with his dad at TSA gatherings.

Through hard work, Jeremy transferred to TSA headquarters, then located in Arlington, Virginia, with Strategic Communications & Public Affairs (SCPA).

“While working with TSA Public Affairs in Arlington, between 2008 to 2011, my wife and I didn’t have many friends and family out there, so we always had our kiddos around the SCPA team at all the work functions. Estevan visited for Kids Day, came in to see the newly built TSA-TV studio, and served as our star player during our kickball games.”  

From his unique vantage point, a school-aged Estevan learned first-hand how his dad’s job in public affairs supported the same security mission he and his vacationing family experienced at the screening checkpoint.

“When I was growing up, I thought my dad had a really cool and important job,” said Estevan. “I have vivid memories of going to Bring your Kids to Work Day at headquarters and being fascinated. I thought his job was interesting when I saw him attend events such as the inauguration of President Obama where he took photos and produced a video news feature for TSA-TV.”

Jeremy’s professional influence on Estevan subtly continued as his TSA career steadily grew, taking him from security officer to public affairs specialist and then on to the Intelligence and Analysis program office, and most recently, a six-month senior advisor detail with Enrollment Services and Vetting Programs.

Their family bond is tight.

Toddler Estevan with dad Jeremy Trujillo (Courtesy of J. Trujillo)
Toddler Estevan with dad Jeremy Trujillo (Courtesy of J. Trujillo)

“He was my main motivator when I played football and rugby,” said Estevan of his dad, who volunteers assisting the local high school football program.

Outside of work and school, the father-son pair proudly support their hometown Denver Nuggets and Broncos from the stands as often as they can and attend concerts together when they agree on the artist. The Post Malone concert gets a “like” from both of them.

When it came time for college-aged Estevan, a communication major at the University of Colorado, to find an internship which would give him relevant, bankable industry experience, his dad’s advice became providential.

“I suggested he explore the various strategic communications options including federal government service, private sector, consulting and advertising agencies,” said Jeremy. “I think his decision to explore a TSA internship was based on seeing me reach accomplishments within the organization as well as seeing the various avenues he could explore throughout the agency.”

The Trujillo family celebrates Estevan’s graduation. (Courtesy of J. Trujillo)
The Trujillo family celebrates Estevan’s graduation. (Courtesy of J. Trujillo)

While scouting internships, Estevan discovered a summer opening with TSA Social Media that would allow him to use his communication skills in a real-world application.

TSA’s Instagram presence has a great reputation,” said Estevan. “I immediately wanted to be part of the team that informs the public in a fun, light-hearted way.”

“He applied and was thankfully selected for the position,” said Jeremy. “Estevan’s above and beyond work ethic and collaborative nature make him a perfect fit for TSA. Those traits have helped him hit the ground running with the SCPA team, and each week he improves a variety of skillsets based on the mentorship from the social media team.”

Estevan credits his dad for modeling those behaviors and more.

“Being punctual, detail-oriented, flexible, hardworking and an eager-to-learn self-starter are all characteristics I’ve learned from my dad,” said Estevan. “He looks to make an impact whether on the (checkpoint) floor or working at headquarters.”

As an intern, Estevan has engaged with TSA social media followers by responding to comments and messages, developing seasonal social media campaigns and monitoring social media trends.

With his year-long internship ending in September and his diploma proudly in hand, Estevan looks back at his accomplishment while eyeing future employment prospects. 

“I have my sights on finding a place for myself in TSA after I am done,” said Estevan. “I enjoy the mission and culture that TSA brings with it, and the SCPA team is encouraging and insightful. I hope for opportunities to arise that would allow for a role in SCPA.”

His dad isn’t surprised.

“Estevan had an amazing time when it came to being with the SCPA team as a kid, so he knew it was always a great group to be around,” said Jeremy.

The Trujillo father-son connection has morphed to another level. The influencer created an early adopter who himself became an influencer. Who among us can’t resist “liking” that?

Karen Robicheaux, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs