Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Tom Connor, the adventure lover - A chat with Toyota Jamaica’s boss

Published:Sunday | November 24, 2019 | 12:00 AMMickella Anderson - Automotives Writer
Toyota Jamaica’s managing director, Tom Connor (right), engaged in conversation with Patrick March (left) and John Orelue.
Tom Connor, Toyota Jamaica’s managing director.

Have you ever wondered what the individuals at the helm of some of the country’s most prominent organisations do outside of the office when they’re not making tough decisions and leading an entire team?

We recently tried to find out when we caught up with Tom Connor, Toyota Jamaica’s managing director, while on the organisation’s last TJam 4x4 excursion to Harmonization Beach in Trelawny.

The occasion was just right, and there could not have been a better time to pick the mind of the Toyota boss about his spare-time shenanigans than in the midst of with awesome leisure activity and with his drink of choice – a Red Stripe beer – comfortably in hand.

“I’m very passionate about Red Stripe,” Connor admitted with a chuckle, keeping a watchful eye on the merriness of the family day – a regular treat to the company’s 4x4 club members. His wife, Rowena, was also in attendance.

Favourite thing about Jamaica

Connor is originally from Scotland and has been the main man at Toyota Jamaica for seven years now. His favorite thing about ‘Jamrock’ is the tropical climate, something very different from his homeland.

“The best thing I like about Jamaica is the weather,” he told Automotives. “That’s the number one thing for me, coming from a very cold country. You don’t have to get up in these really cold mornings and have to defrost your car, you can actually drive anywhere, so the climate is very nice.”

And because he enjoys Jamaica so much, he admits to traversing regularly along the ‘nitty and gritty’ of our nation’s roads, but not on the mode of transportation you would probably expect.

“Quite often, I do a lot of cycling,” he revealed. “I go all over: the Blue Mountains, all the different country areas, from Morant Bay to Negril.”

Considering his love for adventure, the company he works for is a great fit; he describes Toyota as a reliable brand suited to going places.

“The Toyota brand makes life easy because it’s a very reliable vehicle,” he said. “It’s also very suited for Jamaica, because we do have fairly rough roads, and the vehicle can stand up to the conditions.”

Tom Connor, the cyclist?

So if he weren’t Tom Connor of Toyota Jamaica, just who would he be at this point in his life? A professional cyclist, perhaps?

“No, absolutely not!” he joked when we challenged him to the question. “I would be very hungry,” he said. “It (cycling) is purely for leisure, and I’m too old for that.”

He told Automotives, “I am passionate about most of the vehicles in general; I would be in the car industry in some form. [With] Toyota, there’s so much of Jamaica you can actually go and explore.”