2018 Young Alumni Award Recipient
Thomas J. Callaway
Thomas J. Callaway IV (TJ), founder and CEO of Onward Reserve, found his entrepreneurial drive at an early age.
When the 1996 Summer Olympic torch passed through his hometown of Thomasville, Georgia, 11-year-old TJ saw an opportunity to sell drinks and boiled peanuts to the gathering crowds. Now, at the helm of an online and retail destination for lifestyle gifts and apparel, he attributes much of his success to the hands-on experiences he gained through the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
While majoring in finance at Terry, TJ was accepted to the ILA’s Leonard Leadership Scholars Program, which encourages leadership development through innovative courses, company site visits, campus visits from industry executives and challenging service opportunities. In addition, he was a member of the Student Managed Investment Fund and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
After graduating in 2007, TJ worked in investment banking for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, focused on municipal bond origination in the nonprofit healthcare and energy sectors. Though he learned a lot working in finance, he yearned to fulfill his lifelong dream of founding his own business. He started FiveMile.com, an online, membership-based retailer that specialized in upscale outdoor apparel. That evolved into Onward Reserve, which now boasts eight locations across the Southeast with plans to open more stores within the next year.
As his brand has expanded, so has TJ’s commitment to the University of Georgia. Along with supporting the Institute for Leadership Advancement (ILA), he gives to various areas on campus, including the State Botanical Gardens, athletic programs, Terry College and the Georgia Fund. He also serves as president of the UGA Alumni Association Young Alumni Council, where he strives to help other young alumni to connect to the university through a variety of events and programs.
TJ also supports UGA by serving as a guest speaker and mentor to students, through Student Alumni Association and Terry Third Thursday programs. He encourages students to take advantage of their time at UGA and the innumerable opportunities available to them so they can fully explore their interests. He believes that “if you can find something that aligns your passions with what you want to do, that’s worth its weight in gold.”
TJ and his wife Catherine (BSFCS ’07) live in Atlanta with their two daughters.
“Having started Onward Reserve in Athens, UGA is such a major part of not only my life but also my business. It’s been an incredible way to get plugged back into the university.”