Thomas P. Gill honored with Distinguished Alumni Award
The Mitchell Community College Alumni Association awarded its 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Mr. Thomas P. Gill at the annual Alumni Day events on May 4. Gill was selected for his dedication to and representation of the power of education.
Gill attended Mitchell Community College from 1977-78 and credits these formative years for setting a foundation for his academic success as an East Carolina University (ECU) Cum Laude graduate and subsequent University of Arkansas Magna Cum Laude graduate. While at Mitchell, Gill played on the varsity golf team and was an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society. This experience encouraged him to strive for success at ECU which he did including recognition as Outstanding Senior in both the school of Aerospace Science and the School of Education. He was also an AFROTC Distinguished Graduate which earned Gill a regular commission in the United States Air Force. While completing his degree, Gill served as the Head Resident Advisor for two ECU dormitories, as Commander of the AFROTC cadet wing, and in several honor societies.
Gill has had three very distinct and successful careers which he credits to his early Mitchell Community College experiences. Gill began his professional life as a young Air Force officer retiring in 1998. He earned multiple awards including the Joint Meritorious Service Medal as well as three Air Force Meritorious Service Medals. During his military career, Gill served as a nuclear Missile Combat Crew officer rising to the position of Instructor Combat Crew Commander and eventually became a Headquarters Squadron Commander for a test launch organization. He received the General Martensen trophy for the best OJT program in the division and also was selected as Company Grade officer of the Year. Later, Gill served as the Chief of Education and Training for the eight hundred Air Force cadets at The Citadel where he was recognized with the highest Inspector General (IG) rating ever at that academic institution. After serving as a professor responsible for all the cadet training, he was promoted to manage a national AFROTC headquarters program ensuring the appropriate selection of pilot and navigator candidates. In his last Air Force position, he led the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Military Entrance Processing Station in its annual medical, aptitudinal testing, and accession of 12,000 applicants for all the military branches. Once again Gill earned his organization an “Outstanding” IG rating.
After the military, Gill transitioned this health care experience into a civilian career using the medical experience provided in his previous two Air Force positions. Having worked closely with the Surgeon General’s office and having conceived and developed the idea of relocating his last organization from Philadelphia to New Jersey, providing recruiters and candidates an improved processing station while saving the military millions of dollars, Gill was hired by an international healthcare company to manage its Charlotte area dialysis clinics. During this tenure, he developed and implemented the United States’ first Nocturnal dialysis program in Gastonia, NC. Subsequently, Gill was hired by another international dialysis company, DaVita, eventually becoming Vice President of the Carolinas and eastern Tennessee clinics while also managing the national nocturnal dialysis program. Although Gill achieved notable business successes, his favorite health care career memory is the development and implementation of bench strength development and leadership program he called STELLAR which became the gold standard for DaVita dialysis’ leadership training program in 2200 nationwide clinics.
Gill’s third and current career is as a published author. In the past three years, he has published three works including two fiction novels set primarily in North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. The Bridge, his first book, has been read in six countries and its sequel, Return to Emerald Isle, has been very successful. In addition to his third book (Randy’s Way), which Gill wrote pro bono to support a Marine Major living with full blown ALS since the Gulf War (25 years), he has a fourth novel in draft which includes Statesville’s Grace Park Recreation Center in its opening chapter. This book tells the story of a missing teenager murdered during the racially charged early 1970s. It follows the main characters as they have aged into adults in 2019.
Beyond his distinguished careers, Gill has served his community in several ways. As a three-time published author, he has provided more than forty-five pro bono presentations during the past four years to schools, clubs, veteran groups, libraries, and other organizations on processes to successfully write, edit, publish and market fiction and non-fiction literary works. Locally, Gill presented eight separate events in the Statesville area including the Statesville and Mooresville public libraries, Statesville and Mooresville high schools, and several middle/elementary schools. Gill provided multiple copies of his first two works to the ISS Superintendent and Instructional coaches for use within the system. Additionally, Gill has voluntarily provided editing service to numerous area aspiring authors including a 2017 Mooresville High School student’s publication of a book for her senior project. Gill also serves as a Board member for a national scholarship program–FIRE Inc.–located in Concord which focuses on enabling minority and first family members to attend college through mentoring and financial support.