Tom earned his bachelor of science in business administration/management in 1989. It was his hustle on and off the basketball court that he was really known for. After graduating from Florida Tech, Tom worked as an auto broker and caught the attention of some business executives looking to diversify their retail business. These executives were in the beginning stages of creating CarMax, which began as a test concept by the corporate parent of Circuit City. Folliard joined CarMax in 1993 as the company’s very first buyer. CarMax spun off from Circuit City in 2002 during restructuring, and its business boomed.
Since then, CarMax Inc. has grown to be the largest used-vehicle retailer.
Tom rose through the ranks and became the chief executive officer in 2006, building an exceptional management team and positioning the company for remarkable growth. CarMax has been recognized for fourteen consecutive years as one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® and is a member of the Fortune 500 and the S&P 500. Folliard retired in 2016, but he continues to serve the company as non-executive chairman of the board.
“The basics I’ve learned on the court apply off the court as well—if you take care of your associates, they’ll take care of your customers, and the rest will take care of itself,” he said.
As a Panther Basketball standout, Tom was inducted into the Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and honored with the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012. He has returned as a visiting lecturer to the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business and has served on the Florida Tech Board of Trustees since 2014.
Tom met his wife, Mary, at Florida Tech, where she also played basketball. Mary earned her degree in aerospace engineering, pioneering STEM women before it became the well-known hashtag used today to further women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To commemorate the Folliard’s foundation at the university, they purchased the retired scoreboard from the campus gym and had it installed in their home.
The Folliards were featured together in Florida Tech’s 60th Anniversary special edition book, “60 for 60: Celebrating Sixty Years of Alumni at Florida Institute of Technology.” Copies are available for purchase here.