Tory is new to our club and Region Director of Etex N. America. He will share his life-changing experience of being a Rotary Exchange Student. Here’s his bio:
I grew up in a small Illinois town and at an early age realized how much of the world I wanted to see. Since I couldn’t join the military until I turned 18, I decided to become an exchange student at 16 and spent 1 year in Portoviejo, Ecuador. I became fluent in Spanish, and I found a vocation for international work which became my new ambition in life.
After graduating from The Citadel: Military College of South Carolina, I was recruited for a sales role with Black & Decker based in Miami with a promise to network with their Latin America office. After a few promotions, I found a dream job that spanned Central America and the Caribbean and lived in a few countries helping them launch the DeWalt brand.
In the late 90’s I was recruited by Red Wing Shoe Co. and for over 2 decades, I built a $25M region with distributors and partners in every country. I also got my MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and picked up Portuguese. After a few assignments in different parts of the world, I settled down in Knoxville to raise my family.
As my kids got a little older, I realized the importance of cutting back on the international travel for awhile and that is when I found Etex. Etex is a 100 year old €3 billion privately held Belgian construction materials company with 14,000 employees in 42 countries. I was asked to lead their expansion efforts in the US and over the past 5 years, the company has grown from a startup to an operation with 50+ employees manufacturing extremely light and thin high temperature (2000F) insulation used in Defense, Renewable Energy, and Refractory sectors (and we’re just getting started!).
When I’m not focused on the growth of Etex, I enjoy spending time with my family. I actually met my Colombian wife during my travels and we have three children ages 16, 13, and 10. My life philosophy centers around 4 F’s. Faith, Family, Foreign things, and Fishing. You’ll always find me involved with one of those.