Tony Lopez ’02
Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) in Sports Administration
What brought you to St. Thomas University?
I was looking for Sports Administration programs during my college search. When I made my first visit to campus, I entered their offices and saw the sports memorabilia everywhere. Then, I met Dr. Jan Bell, who welcomed me with open arms. I was sold on St. Thomas University after that!
Where are you now, and what are you doing?
I am the Deputy Town Manager at the Town of Miami Lakes, FL. I am responsible for implementing all Town operational initiatives and policies and have provided the vision for significant community development projects in parks, beautification, infrastructure, and mobility. Also, I directly oversee the Police Department, Parks and Recreation Department; Public Works and CIP Department; Communications and Community Affairs Department, Building and Code Enforcement Department, and strategic planning and innovation.
What do you like most about what you are doing?
I enjoy community building and working with communities to deliver on their vision of what they would like their community to be. I get to lend a hand in improving the quality of life within communities and create memorable experiences through impactful projects and services. I firmly believe that public service is unique in that you can directly help shape people’s environments, impacting lives. Not many professions allow for such a direct impact on people as in public service. It fulfills my professional purpose of influencing as many people as possible in a positive way.
How did your experience at St. Thomas University shape your career path?
The whole philosophy of developing Leaders for Life that was instilled into me during my experience drove my success. While my focus was on sports administration, the program had a significant focus on overall leadership development. I still remember the final seminar course where influential leaders in the sports field shared their stories and the impact it made on me. Ultimately, my experience at STU led me to my first internship for a community non-profit and helped me discover my purpose for improving communities through public service.
Also, STU provided me with the first opportunity to teach at a college level back in 2006. Many of these students are now well into their professional journeys.
Share your favorite St. Thomas University memory?
My favorite memories from my time at STU were sitting in some of my professor’s offices and talking to them about sports. They always welcomed me with open arms. Also, I remember being a part of the winning team of an annual intramural 3v3 basketball tournament held at the school. That game was a classic!
What is the most important thing you learned while you were attending St. Thomas University?
During my time at St. Thomas University I learned to think outside the box and consider all my options when it came to finding a career. If it weren’t for that, I would’ve never considered parks and recreation as a career as a sports administration graduate.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Public service requires a certain level of humility as the field isn’t about you, it’s about your community. It is important to find and develop a group of mentors that can be a resource to you along the way. When you find them, listen first and speak second. Look for ways to connect with people outside of your circle to expand your mind. I encourage students to get involved, join and/or volunteer for a professional association or a community organization. Lastly, manage and make the most of your time, don’t let it control you. Remember that star athletes keep working on their game when others aren’t watching.
What activities were you involved in when you were at St. Thomas University?
I was involved in Sports administration-related student activities. When I wasn’t doing that, you could find me playing intramural sports.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
I enjoy all things sports, whether watching or participating; exploring new food and wine destinations; reading about business, history, and horology; and travel “hacking”- the art of collecting frequent-flier points and miles to get free flights, hotels, tours, and more.