One of Lauren Stover’s main job requirements is to be on top of her game at all times. Her title is not to be taken lightly: Director of Security and Public Safety for Miami International Airport.
But that doesn’t mean she can’t get some props once in a while as one of the stars of Airport 24/7: Miami, which debuts its second season 9 p.m. Tuesday on the Travel Channel.
Stover manages to have some fun with her gig.
“When people recognize me in the terminal, it’s a trip,” she said.
She recalls a time when she went to go meet former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at American Airlines’ Admirals Club and fellow clubgoers pulled out their cameras out to snap her, not him.
“They were so thrilled to meet me,” said the reality star. “But I’m the same person I was before this TV program. Some people change, I didn’t.”
At first she wasn’t so sure she wanted to be in front of the cameras.
"My inclination is to decline any participation in these types of programs," said the Miami native, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. "We’re very guarded about what kind of information goes out about the airport for obvious reasons."
But 24/7’s producer/creator Chris Sloan’s dedication was impressive, she said.
"Something about him just struck me. I thought he could be the guy who could really catapult MIA into the national spotlight," Stover said. "He has a real love of aviation. We lovingly call him an aviation geek. And this show gave us the opportunity to tell our story on what it’s like to run a major international airport and the strong partnerships we have with our law enforcement agencies and airport business partners."
One stipulation was that top staffers had the rights to review Travel Channel footage in case any sensitive security information was inadvertently leaked. Anyone working on the show was thoroughly vetted.
Stover thinks the series has been a win-win for MIA.
"People may now understand the complexities of running an airport," she said. "We want travelers to fly out of there because they want to, not because they have to."
Though always intense, the atmosphere has been amped up since the Boston marathon bombings.
"I utilize these instances to light a fire to get airport workers back energized," said Stover. "We tend to get complacent when things don’t happen. The minute we let our guard down we become very vulnerable. I always say we have to get it right it every day because a terrorist only needs to get lucky once."
Though the job is high stress, the University of Florida graduate and her husband Jeff Stover (a former Secret Service agent for the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations) keep things cool on the homefront with their three dogs.
But in the real world, there’s no break.
"We can never say, ‘Oh, what a great day. We made it through.’ Today never ends. It’s 24/7.”