Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Tommy Marks, a 1977 McNeese State University health and physical education graduate, attended McNeese on a track scholarship. He was a cadet in the ROTC program and credits this experience for leading him towards a military career.
“I was commissioned as a second lieutenant and reported for duty in 1978,” says Marks. “I was a helicopter pilot during my 24 years of service, and after retiring, I was able to explore the many facets of business and management in the Army.”
After retiring from active duty in 2001, Marks served as executive director for the Army’s Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program, where he managed a multi-billion dollar program to provide support services to troops, and executive director for Acquisition Services for the Department of the Army that oversees policy and strategy for services contracts used for planning, procuring and providing equipment and supplies to soldiers.
“Having a health and physical education degree from McNeese, I never thought I would be immersed in the business side of the Army,” he says. “I was able to earn a master’s degree in acquisition management while on active duty. I found my passion for business and I knew my education would help me both inside and outside of the military. I’ve worked with incredible teams and traveled around the world securing contracts that provide the equipment our troops need during war.”
Before retiring from the Army for the second time as a civil servant in 2018, Marks represented the Secretary of the Army as director for the Office of Small Business Programs. In this role, he was involved in the advocacy and policy aspects for small businesses to contribute to the material and economic needs of the Army.
After nearly 10 years as a civil servant, Marks retired as a senior executive service civilian tier two, the equivalent of a two-star general.
He has continued supporting small business through his own consulting firm, SAC Solutions LLC, and as director of the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development’s Federal Procurement Center.
“The center provides training and strategic planning on federal contracting opportunities specific to minority-owned small businesses ready to grow their revenue and overall business model,” explains Marks.
Throughout his entire career, he has credited McNeese with providing a foundation on which he could build the rest of his life.
“Everything I’ve been able to achieve started at McNeese,” says Marks. “As a student and ROTC cadet, I learned how to be flexible and handle change. McNeese prepared me for a lifetime of learning and leadership.”