When Troy Munford ’84 received his acceptance letter to Bentley – his top choice, he wasn’t expecting to turn it down for an acceptance letter to Thomas College.
While touring Thomas, Troy met Lincoln Brown, who was the Director of Admissions at the time. Throughout the tour, Troy noted that he received the impression Thomas really wanted him; the experience resonated with him so much so that Troy joked his acceptance letter beat him home. He received his letter in the mail by 1:00 p.m. the following day.
Coming from a single parent home, it was up to Troy and his mother to pay his tuition. So, when Thomas was able to offer Troy a great financial package, between grants and scholarships, it only solidified Troy’s choice in Thomas. “It was a huge financial relief for me and my mom,” says Troy.
By the time Troy was a senior, he was the President of Student Senate and Society for Advancement of Management. “It helped me take a leadership role with the College and helped assist me with leadership roles as I moved forward into my career,” Troy said.
Troy recalls a few fond memories while attending Thomas. “I and a group of classmates started a petition to allow LD – a dog who spent time on campus – back on campus. We collected a couple hundred signatures and brought it to the Dean of Students, Rob Bongiovanni. When Rob turned to the back page, he noticed LD’s pawprint as the last signature.”
“Behind the Village, in the springtime, we used to turn it into a mud pit, and on Sundays we would have mud football – everyone would be covered in mud.”
When Troy graduated in 1984, he moved to Massachusetts and rented a house with a group of alumni and started working at a travel agency. That year, he and several other Thomas alumni bought season tickets to the Patriots. To this day, Troy and some of the alumni still attend the Patriots games and enjoy tailgating together.
Between 1984 and 1988, Troy worked for various travel agencies. While managing a travel agency, a customer asked him why he hadn’t opened his own business (because he was good at what he did). Troy responded that he had the knowledge but lacked the resources. The customer ended up backing him, and in 1988, Troy opened his own agency, News Travels, in Sudbury, MA.
“When I was trying to come up with a name, I was playing poker with a group of friends from Thomas, and they were tossing out names. That’s how I came up with News Travels.”
During Troy’s 15 years of ownership, News Travels went from two to 14 employees and in the 90s was doing more than $20 million in travel sales that included corporate and group business. Troy additionally coordinated trips for Patriots away games, which Thomas alumni would sign up for, and he helped organize many Thomas alumni honeymoons and vacations. He acquired two other travel agencies before selling in 2003 to an agency out of Portland, ME.
“I wanted to move back to Maine, and when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I sold my company and moved back to care for her.”
While attending a birthday party for an alumna’s husband, Troy was offered a job at Sunday River. “You never know when you’re going to have an informal job interview. I had an official interview the following week, but it all began at the birthday party.”
In 2004, Troy started working at Sunday River in Bethel, ME, as their Tour and Travel Sales Manager, dealing mostly in tour operations. He started reaching out to locals in the community to create activities for people to participate in while visiting Sunday River. Troy’s efforts paid off in 2013 when he was awarded the Governor’s Award in Tourism Excellence in Maine, the highest achievement you can receive in the tourism industry.
Troy was also awarded the President’s Award in 2015 and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Maine Motorcoach Network.
As part of Troy’s job, every fall he travels to England and Ireland for three to five weeks, giving PowerPoint presentations on Sunday River exclusively to tour operators. “I train companies’ sales people to sell my product, Sunday River.”
Currently, Troy works with international companies that mostly deal with ski trips for junior and senior high school students and fall foliage viewing and moose tours for senior citizens.
“Sunday River allows me the flexibility I need to do my job and this past year, I finally contracted with the largest tour operator in Ireland for student skiing to add Sunday River to their portfolio, after years of trying. They have already booked four groups. It goes to show that persistence pays off.”
This past year Troy has also joined Life After Thomas, a program comprised of alumni volunteers who engage with current students on campus through events that draw upon their professional and personal experiences since graduating.
“I would like to give back to Thomas. I have gained a lot and as the years go by, I appreciate it more. I find that I also appreciate the people inm y life that I’ve had experience with from Thomas and after. And, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Thomas. It’s a good opportunity and a good time in my life to give back.”
Throughout the years, there is one thing that has stayed consistent for Troy: his base of alumni friends and his fond memories of Thomas College. There is no doubt Troy takes Thomas wherever he goes.
“And, of course, we recount the old Thomas stories, year after year – whether it’s at a Pats game, out on my boat on the lake, or in a lounge chair in the Caribbean, the Thomas stories just get better and better every time.”
*This story was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2019 Thomas Magazine.