Tom Trotter joined the company back in December of 2009 when Buddy acquired the TriStar stores. At the time, Tom and his family were living outside of Cincinnati, OH and made the move to Peoria, IL. In July 2010, Tom took over the TriStar stores as the Director of Operations. He has since become an Operating Partner managing the TriStar and Pioneer entities.
In the form of giving back to his community, Tom works to promote health throughout his team. About 3 years ago, he started a Fitness Incentive Package for his Leadership team. “Fit in ’15” was the challenge that started the company’s fitness goals. Tom encouraged medical checkups and reimbursed gym memberships or personal trainers. For every pound lost, he also paid $20! The team of 7 participants ended up losing over 100 pounds and they got a special trip to Lexington, KY to check out some horse races!
After sponsoring and surviving their first 5K, Tom decided he and his wife, Laurie, could ride bikes – for 40 miles! So they sponsored, trained and completed the I’ve Decided to Ride program – they had about 20 Hardee’s folks participate in this, plus there were about 30 other participants. This was in partnership with I’ve Decided, a local motivational leadership organization. All proceeds from I’ve Decided events and membership go to support PUP (People with Unlimited Potential) – an organization to help disabled young adults transition from school to life in the community.
Tom has organized 5k’s, various bike rides, and plans to host 8 events this year. His Hardee’s territories are spread out in St. Louis, Iowa, Missouri and Peoria, so he would like to have events in each area. Currently, he is holding the Century Challenge. This is for participants throughout his team to either walk, run, bike or swim 100 miles a month. This is tracked through Map My Fitness and is a fun, competitive activity for his employees. Aside from all of these regional events, Tom and Laurie will participate in a 5K called “Run for the Health of It”, the I’ve Decided to Ride Program, and a Gold Star Families 5K on July 1st.
He has been asked by some of his managers, “Why do you do this?” Tom feels that investing in his people and their health is what holds everything together. The folks who participate end up feeling better, working harder, and are around longer! It’s an effective way to get their whole families involved as well, because once one person starts caring about fitness, it can become contagious.
Aside from fitness and health, their favorite charity to work with is America’s Gold Star Families. This is their partner for the Stars for Heroes fundraiser – with their sponsorship, they have been able to grow from a local organization to a national organization! They are very humbled to work with them. America’s Gold Star Families is a 501©3 not-for-profit organization created to provide honor, hope and healing to those grieving any military loss. They include all family members representing all conflicts, all branches of service and all circumstance of death.
Even though Tom and Laurie “live and breath Hardee’s”, they have a very active and full lifestyle outside of work. They have 3 children, Colby (25), Conner (22) and McKinley (18). Colby runs the Gilette, WY store for Hardee’s, Conner works for Wyndham International and McKinley is a senior in high school. The Trotter’s consider themselves to be avid foodies and Tom is the primary cook at home. They love hosting big holiday dinners with dessert always being the 1st priority at any meal. Tom says he’s a novice wine enthusiast and they love to travel and experience new places. He and Laurie went to Greece on their honeymoon and like international adventures. Last year, they even had an exchange student from Spain live with them the entire school year! Their daughter got to go back with her and spend the summer in Spain as well.
Even as I spoke to Tom, they were on their way to Kentucky to watch some horse races for the weekend. He said a 7 or 8 hour drive on a weekend is no big deal to go and do the things they love.
Some Interesting Facts About Tom:
- Astrological Sign: Aquarius
- Favorite Color: Yellow
- Favorite Food: anything Mexican
- Place He Would Most Like to Visit: Patagonia (the place in South America, not the store!)
- Childhood Dream Job: He wanted to be a professional bass fisherman – and to fund his habit he had his own worm farm!
- Little Known Fact: He was the 6th grade Class Treasurer at Fremont Elementary in Salinas, California
- Favorite Charity: America’s Gold Star Families (www.americasgoldstarfamilies.org)