The following autobiography is a story of Tom Powell’s life and work history. It is very personal and private. If you believe mixing business and personal is inappropriate, then DO NOT read on. If you would like to read some of the details and real life principals of Tom’s success, then please read on.
I was born in the late 1950’s in Miami, Florida. I was the youngest of five children, raised in a middle-income home. I had a loving family, a fun childhood and we all enjoyed an upbringing in a traditional Christian church. I have very fond memories of going to the beach, the city pool and even boating and camping in central Florida in the summers. My dear father worked three jobs to provide for our large family, and there wasn’t extra for the wants and desires, so I learned early on if I wanted extra things in life I would need to work for them. So I set out early in my entrepreneurial career, collecting newspapers and coke bottles for recycle, mowing lawns and the like.
My family moved north to the Orlando, Winter Park area in central Florida for job relocation. My dad, Don Simmons, gave our family something money can’t buy…a loving home in the country. Mom and Dad bought a small ranch and I experienced the best three years of my life. We had horses, cows, a pond, snakes, guns, and a hunting dog. It was here that I learned to love and appreciate nature. Though this was the toughest time financially for our family, it was definitely the most memorable. In my teens I was heavily involved in athletics. I lost interest in our family’s religion and quit going to church. I began working in the summers, doing construction at age 14. I learned to frame apartment buildings and enjoyed the 1972-1975 building boom that Walt Disney World brought to Orlando. At age 15, I was recruited by my next-door neighbor for my first roofing job. I started out working 2 – 3 hours a day after basketball practice during the week, loading shingles and learning the roofing trade. On Saturdays I had a job maintaining the J Bar J Ranch for millionaire WM Davis, which was his personal home. I spent four years running cattle and horses, washing cars, mowing, doing repairs and maintaining his three homes.
My parents moved to Houston in 1974 for another job change and I stayed behind to finish my senior year of high school and sports. I supported myself at age 17 with my roofing skills while living with my older brother. I graduated from high school in 1975 and decided that I would join my folks in Houston, Texas to pursue my career. Upon arriving in Houston, I decided to do what I did every summer, roof houses. While I interviewed colleges I got my first independent roofing job working for a local contractor. Low and behold to my great surprise, there was an abundance of work and a shortage of skilled workers. What a dream come true! I had always been a helper and had not yet led my own crew. So, I rolled up my sleeves and I roofed my first house all by myself in Kingwood, Texas. You heard it right and it was a two story to boot. Not bad for a rookie kid!
It was a God-send that the contractor who hired me recruited a Union roofer from Chicago, IL to be on my crew. My new friend, Johnny Millsap, taught me everything and anything I needed to know. Being union he knew all the codes, techniques and latest procedures, practices and safety techniques. He was a true, seasoned, ace, veteran, highly-qualified tradesman, twenty years my senior. He had a wife, large home on acreage and two kids to support. I said to myself, ‘If Johnny could make a good living at roofing, so could I.’ I thank God that he sent Johnny. He taught me most everything he knew in one year. I had taken a few classes at HCC, but by the end of my first summer with Johnny, I brought home my first paycheck larger than my dad’s and chose to forego my college education and start my career as a business owner. My dad and mom were always supportive of all my wild business ventures and actually were the motivating ones cheering me on to try my ideas and take some chances following my dreams. Johnny moved back north in 1976. I recruited my brother Dennis from Orlando and at age 19 we started our first company, Powell Bros. Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. We roofed hundreds of houses in the Woodlands and all over Houston.
At one time my brother and I were so good and efficient ,we bragged about being the two fastest roofers in Houston.! I decided to break off on my own in 1979 and began my first solo start up company, Tomco Enterprises/DBA Tomco Roofing. By 1981, I had enjoyed much success utilizing the boomtown years of the late 1970’s and the Tomco name became a household word in the Missouri City/Quail Valley area. I read self-help books on how to become rich and wealthy and gone to some seminars. At age 22, I had a nice 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2-garage home in Missouri City and then bought my next door neighbor’s home for a rental. I owned a new 22’ Starcraft, 6-sleeper motor home that I parked in my backyard. I was part owner in a private airport in Rosharon, TX and even owned 50% of a twin engine PA-23-160 piper airplane. I was in training for my pilot’s license and living it up as a single businessman. I was living the Great American Dream. It didn’t take long for the financial stress to get to me, and I found myself getting high and drinking daily to ease the stress.
At age 25, I was still single and lonely. I realized that in the last six years I had been in love six times and could not figure out why I couldn’t keep a long-term relationship and find a wife. I was doing what I had learned in my success studies, but had not realized that all the things I was buying on credit would one day become due. I had built my life on sand and there wasn’t much of a strong foundation. As I became more and more desperate, my girlfriend and I started attending a little Assembly of God Christian church, which met in the Missouri City Fire Station #1 on Texas Parkway. I visited the little church for six months and grew in my relationship with the pastor, Larry Frick. One day during Sunday School it all became very clear to me. I had spent the last 11 years trying to succeed, trying to make a life for myself and had left my roots. I was trying to do it all outside of God’s will. I had forsaken my first love as a child and left Jesus Christ out of my life. I repented that day of my sinful ways. In the eyes of the world, I was living the American Dream and I had made it, a home, 2 cars in the garage, a 40-acre weekend airport, a pretty girlfriend and recreational vehicles for traveling – all by age 22 yrs old. But I had missed the most important thing, the salvation of my soul. Jesus said “What good is it if a man gains the whole world and forfeits his soul. I was miserable, poor and wretched and didn’t even know it. That Sunday morning I committed my life back to Jesus Christ and never looked back. My life began to change dramatically. I began selling everything I could and began rebuilding. Low and behold just in time. Little did I know that within six months of this great revelation from God that Houston would go into a serious recession in ‘83, and I probably would have lost everything if I hadn’t listened and sold out. I married a beautiful godly woman in 1982, and in 1990 we moved to a property on F.M. 1092. Yeah, that was us, “The Narrow Gate Ranch” with the horses, the oak trees and the “Jesus is the reason for the Season” sign at Christmas. We even constructed three wooden crosses out at the highway and decorated them at Easter time. In 1999 we began operating the company under the dba,First Colony Roofing & Siding Inc. The name was added to gain momentum and reputation in the Sugar Land market and retire the old Mom and Pop image of TOMCO (Tom’s company).
By the prayers & unconditional love of my dear mom, Sami, my dad, Don and my angelic sister Sandy Parker, I was “born again” that day in 1982. I received forgiveness of my sins and began rebuilding my life according to God’s word, the Bible. We raised our family there on our little city ranch on 1092.
My wife and I have since moved to Greatwood to be closer to the church and get away from the hustle and bustle of Missouri City and Sugar Land traffic. Our office is conveniently located off the intersection of Crabb River Rd and 762 on Gonyo Ln.
Under the leadership and teaching of the very successful pastor, teacher, author and financial expert, Ladell Graham, we have been involved in other start-up companies in the Fort Bend/Sugar Land area involving acquisition of Sugar Land real estate and ranching. We have been blessed more than we could ever have imagined, all by the grace of God.
We have since raised (7) kids, and with our youngest at Texas A&M, have experienced “empty nest”.
Martha and I both have felt a call to move on in our spiritual journey from the traditional church and be involved in the awakening and revival here in Houston. In 2011 we joined a movement at the University of Houston, main campus, called Mission 24. With our love for kids and experience raising (7) we decided to volunteer our time, services, giftings and money to help young people find themselves, who they are in Christ and fulfill their destiny. With so many disillusioned about their past, upbringing and previous church experiences it is a very needed and fruitful ministry.
The mission at Misson-24 is to help young adults experience God, build relationships and serve the campus, in a practical down to earth way “where the rubber meets the road”.
Misson-24 meets on Sunday afternoons at 6:00 PM at the A.D. Bruce religious center. We are experiencing revival in our body, on campus and among the students. Misson-24 is the only evangelical church on campus and we are experiencing salvations, healings, miracles, signs and wonders weekly. Students yield their hearts to God and except Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection in their life for forgiveness of their sins and start a new life in Christ as they continue in their education and careers.
It has been so very refreshing being part of Christian Fellowship that truly has God’s heart and is not about building programs and staff salaries, but doing the work of the ministry through loving and helping people one at a time, until the complete campus is under the Lordship of Christ and serving him.
If you know anyone at the University needing help or a place to just plug in and be loved, accepted and nurtured, have them look us up on our website posted at the end of this page or simply come visit.
There is a wonderful, very fulfilling life with purpose and meaning for those who will say “Yes Lord” to his call and purpose for their lives. We want all who have clicked on our website and happen to read this to find their purpose in life, live out their full potential, have healthy relationships, be healed in their bodies and be financially secure. The scripture says “If any man is in Christ he is a New Creation, old things have passed away and all things become new.” I invite you to experience this new life. It begins with acknowledging your sins (repentance), accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins and making a commitment to follow him and his plan for your life through His Word, the Holy Bible. If you would like one of our staff to pray with you, please call our office and we will be happy to assist you. May God richly bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and give you His Peace.
Tom Powell and the staff at First Colony Roofing, Siding and Remodeling
Mission 24 www.mission-24.com