Executive Director, Penn Hills YMCA
Where I Grew Up: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: Bachelors in Education, Edinboro University
Resident Since: 2006
It absolutely fulfilled all of my passions, from coaching, to teaching and personal training; helping other people meet their goals. I was able to see the positive impact that I was able to have in others’ lives. I really fell in love with working for the Y and wanted to do more there.
Thomas Wallace has a vision. A vision where the Penn Hills YMCA is not only a place for residents to swim and exercise, but a vital community resource that creates lifelong relationships with its members by offering services and programs that support all members of the family.
As the YMCA's executive director, Wallace is the person in the best position to make that happen.
Growing up in Wilkinsburg, Wallace's family lived in Penn Hills and he spent much of his childhood here. After what he describes as a "rough childhood", Wallace credits his high school football coach for becoming a father figure to him and providing a new perspective for his life.
After graduating from Wilkinsburg High School, he attended Edinboro University and received his bachelor's degree in education. He then spent a few years teaching elementary school in East Liberty, coaching football at Wilkinsburg, and working as a personal trainer, but he was in search of a career that would combine all of his passions.
His opportunity came when he accepted a position at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA as the healthy living director.
“After the first year I knew I was in love with it. It absolutely fulfilled all of my passions, from coaching, to teaching and personal training; helping other people meet their goals,” Wallace said. “I was able to see the positive impact that I was able to have in others’ lives. I really fell in love with working for the Y and wanted to do more there.”
After 7 years, he became the Associate Director at the Baierl Family YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh in Franklin Park, and 3 years later was promoted to Executive Director at the Penn Hills Y.
"When I took the position, we were not properly staffed. So the first thing we did was hire a membership director and we're now hiring an Operations Director and Childcare Director."
With the YMCA properly staffed and additional changes to board personnel, the YMCA has become poised to realign its focus. No longer just a gym and swim, Wallace is turning the Y into a "community resource creating lifelong relationships through unrivaled service and results."
To do this, Wallace is taking steps to understand the needs of the community and align the Y's programs and services to fulfill those needs.
Some of the programs currently offered at the Y include traditional gym membrships and subsidized family memberships, before and after school childcare, free childcare while working out, youth sports for ages 3 and up, occasional community nights, and much more.
Not content to stop there, Wallace is also the Vice President of the Penn Hills Chamber of Commerce. In that role, he aims to rebuild the Chamber's membership and influence in the community.
When not riding his motorcycle, Wallace spends his time at football games and wrestling matches of his sons Lorenzo, Thomas and Ta'Son, or with his wife, Sandra, at some of their favorite spots in Penn Hills including Pasqualino's, Mohan's and the Old Village Grille.
Wherever you find Thomas Wallace, one thing is for sure, his infectious enthusiasm for the betterment of our community is an invaluable asset to Penn Hills.
Stop by the YMCA to meet Thomas and learn about the Y's many programs for your family.