TOM GARDNER: A Life Serving Others
Tom has been an entrepreneur his entire life. Growing up in Richmond, he was inspired by his father who had his own insurance business. Running his own businesses, Tom came to realize that he enjoyed the challenge of building and growing a business while serving both his customers and employees. It’s not easy – and he was usually the first one in and the last one to leave – but he found it incredibly rewarding.
After attending Radford University, Tom immediately went into the family business. Initially working for the company, and later running the business himself. During his time leading the company he and his partners grew it into a multi-million dollar firm with over 70 employees. In 2000, Tom stepped away from the business when his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and assisted with his care until he passed in 2001.
Looking for a new calling after his father’s passing, Tom dedicated himself for the better part of the next decade to urban inner city outreach ministry. Part of his role in the ministry was as a Youth Advisor to inner city high school students in one of the worst performing schools in Richmond. He worked with kids, and the school, to help identify and solve problems that were holding students back or getting in the way of their education. Through the ministry they had a lot of success helping many kids lift themselves out of the generational poverty cycle and Tom is still in touch with some of them today.
After nearly a decade in the ministry, Tom felt another calling to fulfill his longtime interest in traveling the country, so he took a job as a long haul trucker. During his five years on the road, Tom got to see every one of the lower 48 states. Naturally the entrepreneurial bug wasn’t far behind, and Tom started his own company, became a trainer and put over 25 safe drivers on the road in their own trucks.
In early 2018, after his mother got sick, Tom felt the need to leave trucking and come back home. In 2019, after his Mom had another stroke, it was clear why he’d been called home. She now lives with Tom, so he can be close by when needed. He spends his timing managing and growing the families real estate business and is a bus driver for Henrico County Public Schools.
Tom’s life has been dedicated to helping others and taking on tough challenges. Tom’s next challenge is to run for DELEGATE to help make the Commonwealth a better place for every Virginian.