Chris Thomas ('03 Management & International Business, '08 MBA)

Chris Thomas 2023 Service to Smeal Award

Portrait of Christopher Thomas.

2023 Service to Smeal Award

Chris is the principal team leader for Chick-fil-A Inc. He is responsible for leading a team of technology senior specialists, who help to resolve widespread technology problems that may occur in the restaurants. Most recently, Chris was a senior lead advisor responsible for helping to select the best individuals to become operators of Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Prior to Chick-fil-A, Chris spent eight years with General Electric in several strategic marketing, sales, and talent management roles – most relevant serving as Vice President of Sales Origination for GE Franchising Finance providing financing for Arby’s, Subway, Wingstop, and Corner Bakery Café franchising businesses. He has also worked for companies such as NVHomes, Inc, PNC Bank, MBNA (now Bank of America), and May Company (now Macy’s).
Chris serves on the Boards of the Atlanta Airport Community Improvement District (CID), the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Council, and the Dave Krache Foundation.  He likes to dedicate time to mentoring youth via Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Chris is a 2018 fellow of the New Leaders Council Institute in Atlanta. In 2019, Chris was named one of the 40 Under Forty by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and was recently selected as part of the 2023 Cobb Leadership Class. 

Chris is a dedicated volunteer for Smeal and Penn State. He has stayed connected with the Smeal Diversity Enhancement Programs Office and the Professional Graduate Programs Office, serving as a valued mentor and advisor to students and staff. He was the founding President of the Atlanta Chapter of AAAO (African American Alumni Organization). Chris has also served as a speaker for several events, sharing his career insights as well as his passion for giving back to his alma mater. 

Chris received both his B.S in Business Management/International Business and MBA degrees from the Penn State University.  Chris and his wife Cherie, and three children reside in the Atlanta Metro area.