CarMax Board Chair Tom Folliard Speaks to Packed House at Smith Lecture

Florida Tech Alumnus, Trustee Shares Insight Into Business Success

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech alumnus Tom Folliard, who led one of the most influential and disruptive businesses in the U.S. marketplace – CarMax Inc. – shared his insights and experiences from the business world with a packed Hartley Room audience on Wednesday as the university convened its fall F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture Series.

Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay introduced Folliard and was joined by members of the university’s Board of Trustees, where Folliard has served since 2014. University leaders, faculty, staff and students were also in attendance.

Folliard presented, “How a Florida Tech Graduate in Melbourne Helped CarMax Transform an Industry.” He spoke about how CarMax grew so quickly and discussed the company’s journey to the top of the industry. After his presentation, he answered questions from the audience.

After graduating from Florida Tech in 1989, Folliard began working at a local used car wholesaler. After a visit from the founders of what would become CarMax, he became employee No. 1 in 1993 when he was named senior buyer.

A year later, the promotions began.

Folliard became director of purchasing in 1994. He was promoted to vice president of merchandising in 1996, senior vice president of store operations in 2000 and executive vice president of store operations in 2001. In 2006, he became president and chief executive officer, where he remained for the next decade.

Folliard retired as chief executive officer in August 2016 and currently serves as the non-executive chair of the board.

The lecture series’ founder and benefactor is F. Alan Smith, who like Folliard displayed great success working with automobiles. Smith spent more than three decades in leadership positions at General Motors in the U.S. and Canada, including serving as executive vice president of finance of General Motors and president and general manager of General Motors of Canada, Ltd.

Smith has served on Florida Tech’s Board of Trustees since 1996.

Find out more about the series at

Tom Folliard speaks to students and others who attended his presentation.
The standing-room-only crowd at the Hartley Room for the F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture featuring Florida Tech alumnus and trustee Tom Folliard.
Florida Tech President and First Lady Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, from left, Florida Tech trustee Michael Bisk, and trustee Alan Smith, the lecture series’ founder and benefactor, listen during Tom Folliard’s presentation Wednesday at the F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture at the Hartley Room.
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