Thomas “Tommy” Armstrong was recognized by the college’s Classified Association for his innovative leadership as facilities manager for Trades Services on the Virginia Beach Campus. Armstrong’s department covers the physical maintenance of the campus, which includes 126 acres of land and 13 buildings.
Armstrong and his team oversee the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and other system needs of the campus. They also respond to all after-hours emergencies, prepare for storms, and clean up after any weather event.
“Tommy believes in top-of-the-line service and performance. He does not cut corners and is willing to roll up his sleeves as a supervisor to accomplish all that needs to get done,” said Virginia Beach Campus Dean Kia Hardy.
Armstrong, a Currituck, N.C. resident, says he is humbled by this award. “It means a lot. One thing I always try to do is treat people fairly and work hard,” he said. “This award is the best I’ve ever received.”
He continued, “I’m accepting this award on behalf of myself and the staff I lead. They are all remarkable and work hard every day to ensure we have a safe and operational campus.”
Armstrong started at TCC in 1994 and has worked in facilities management on every campus. While working in the Electrical department Armstrong was instrumental in installing the fiber optic cabling, that provides phone and internet services across the college.
He also was involved in the building of the new Portsmouth Campus, as he was the trades manager at that campus between 2009-2013.
A man of faith, Armstrong prays for the safety of staff each day. He said, “We work on systems that can cause severe harm or even death. Before coming to work I pray that my staff can go home at the end of each day and also for the knowledge, skills and ability to do all that we are asked to do.”
Armstrong was raised on a farm in North Carolina. He earned a degree from Guilford Technical Institute and is certified by the Department of Professional Regulations as a Master Electrician.
Tommy enjoys spending time with his wife of 36 years, Marie Armstrong, who has always supported his work as a maintenance manager. During inclement weather, she would pack his suitcase and food to get him through time spent on campus overseeing snow removal and monitoring conditions.
The couple has a side catering business and are known for their Carolina-style barbeque and their chicken. They also grow vegetables in a year-round garden. The couple have two grown sons and also cared for their niece, Victoria Smith, who had special needs and passed away at age 32 in 2022.
“My mamma always said a good name is better than riches,” Armstrong added. “She always wanted me to get the ‘Good Citizenship’ award, and I never did because I was very mischievous. This award represents that for me. I finally made it!”