This is one in a series of profiles of VADA and Integrum Advisors team members. With these profiles, we ask them to share a story — funny, touching, insightful, or meaningful. Here’s Tommy Lukish, our Legislative and Legal Affairs Manager. Tommy has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for dealers — reading, learning and analyzing various state and federal workplace, health, and safety guidelines for Virginia's franchised dealers. If you get our weekly emails, and to borrow an automobile reference: Tommy is fuel that drives them.
"My father has always been my hero. In the 1970s, he was an all-state baseball and basketball player at Benedictine – an all-boys, Catholic, military high school in Richmond – before playing baseball in college and professionally. When I was a kid, I thought that was so cool (honestly, I still do), and I wanted to be just like him, but I focused on basketball.
In 2008, I was an awkward 16-year-old just shy of a growth spurt, trying out for Benedictine’s varsity basketball team, hoping to wear the same uniform my father did as part of state championship teams in 1974, ’75, and ’76.
Then, I got cut. I worked for years to make that team – probably put too much pressure on myself the week of tryouts – and got cut. I was devastated and a little embarrassed.
Thinking at the time I might want to work in college athletics, I quickly accepted an offer to join the team as a student assistant coach. I just wanted to be around the game, to help the group however I could. 'The name on the front of the jersey is way more important than the one on the back,' my dad would always tell me, instilling a mindset of team over self. We won another state title that season – with one of the most talented rosters in school history – and I was proud, even though I wished I had a bigger role.
That next fall, I tried again. My dad wouldn’t have cared had I sat home, but I thought about the lessons he had taught me: Have faith. Never give up. All you can do is your best. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Fortunately, I made the team and was named a captain.
Now 29, I have complete clarity that the lessons my father and mother have taught me inside and outside athletics have helped shape the person I am today. My wife, Madelyn, and I are expecting our first child – a baby girl – this fall. I pray I’m even a fraction the father my dad has been to me. With Madelyn, I’ll teach our daughter about service to others over self, about faith, to get back up after falling down, and to always try her best. In sum, I’ll tell her all the things my dad told me. After all, he’s still my hero.
Best Business Advice:
“I always try to be myself, honest, respectful of others, and hardworking. For one, doing so allows me to sleep better at night. But also, so much of our business is about relationships. If I’m all those things, my hope is I can build relationships with dealers, legislators, coworkers, and others, and continue our success as an association.“
- Husband of Madelyn
- Always sees the glass as half-full
- Sports enthusiast
- Virginia Tech Hokie, former manager on the men's basketball team
- Enjoys creative writing (watch for his name on a future best-seller’s list)