Tom Tomassi celebrates 45 (plus!) years at George Brown College

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Tom Tomassi

Tom Tomassi, Professor/Coordinator, Welding, is among a small group of George Brown College employees being honoured at an Employee Service Recognition event this month. The event celebrates the work, achievements, and dedication of employees who have had a long-standing tenure at the college. These employees have worked at GBC for 25, 30, 35, 40, and even 45-plus years. 

Tom first joined the college in the early ‘70s — initially, as a student. 

“I graduated from GBC’s Welding Specialist Program in 1971, and had started working as a supervisor for a construction company. I’d returned George Brown to reconnect with some of the faculty there, and was told that an instructor had been called up for jury duty.” 

Tom agreed to fill this temporary vacancy. 

“I guess you could say I never left,” laughed Tom. “It took a few years, but eventually I was brought on as a full-time faculty member.” 

Tom’s impressive 46-year career at George Brown College has always involved advocacy. 

“At the beginning of my time at George Brown, there was still a reluctancy to include women in ‘non-traditional’ trades. People with disabilities were also excluded. But in the welding world I saw that there could be a place for everyone. So, from the very beginning, I advocated for inclusion.” 

This commitment to inclusion led Tomassi to work as a union steward for OPSEU Local 556. Tom’s ability to advocate for and uplift others was noticed by his peers; he worked his way up the OPSEU ranks to become President of the Faculty Local. 

“I’m an immigrant myself,” said Tom, who moved from Aquino, Italy, to Toronto’s east end with his family in 1964. “My work with the Union has always been motivated by wanting to help level the playing field for everyone. Yes, I’ve experienced discrimination — and I believe we need to do all we can to remove barriers for others.” 

Tom also appreciates the work-life balance his career at the college afforded. 

Tom Tomassi (second from right) with his graduating class in 1971

“When I began at GBC I had a young family. I actually got to see my children every morning and every night — which wasn’t happening before. I got to see my children grow.” 

Tom’s top piece of career advice? “Find the work that your heart feels good to do,” he says. In Tom’s case, that means spending his days supporting — and teaching — others. 

“Oh, I love being in the classroom,” said Tom. “Even when I’m teaching, I’m still learning!” 

Congratulations on an incredible career, Tom! And kudos to all of our long-standing employees who are celebrating milestones this year. 

You’ll learn more about all of our long-standing employees in an upcoming GBCommunity article. Stay tuned!