Making Character First
Building a Culture of Character in Any Organization
Tom Hill is Chairman of the Board of Kimray, a manufacturer of oilfield equipment and controls. Tom began his career at Kimray in 1971 after seven years in the United States Marine Corps including a tour in Vietnam as a Radar Intercept Officer in F4-B Phantom jets and then earning a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Oklahoma State University. Upon graduation from Oklahoma State University he received the St. Pat Award, the highest honorary recognition in the College of Engineering, and the Outstanding Electrical Engineer Award.
Tom is the Founder of Character First and Chairman for the Character Training Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing materials and training for building good character. Character First began at Kimray with a desire to help employees and their families be successful. Since all lasting achievement is rooted in good character, encouraging and building good character helps individuals reach their full potential.
Since its inception in 1992, thousands of schools, businesses, and communities in the United States and 27 other countries have implemented Character First. Tom is a regularly invited speaker on character and ethics, having traveled to 17 foreign countries on six continents to teach character building principles. His book, Making Character First: Building a Culture of Character in Any Organization (2010), documents his journey into character education. In 2012, Character First became part of Strata Leadership LLC.
Tom has served as trustee or board member for the Character Council of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for Character Education, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City YMCA, Oklahoma Christian University’s Academy of Leadership and Liberty, Metro Tech Foundation, Novo Ministries, Salt and Light Leadership Training (SALLT), the Institute in Basic Life Principles, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Scope Ministries International, and Fellowship of Companies for Christ International.
In 1998 Tom was named the Oklahoma Central Baptist Association Christian Citizen of the Year. He received the CBMC Salt and Light Award in 2002 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Oklahoma Christian University in 2005. In 2008 Tom received the Great Patriot award from the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge and the Valir Health Community Award. In 2009 Tom received the George Washington Award from the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, and in 2010 he received the Executive Pilot Award from the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium. In 2012 Tom received the Being a Difference Award from the NASBA Center for the Public Trust.
Tom and his wife Kay are active members of Western Hills Church in Oklahoma City. They have been married since 1963, and have three married children and twenty grandchildren.