Anthony Tirollo was born on December 4, 1940 in New Haven, CT. At a very young age, Tony discovered his talent for math and engineering and was always the one his friends would copy high school and college notes from. “He was the one who would figure out the treehouse measurements in his head at 8 years old,” says Tony’s lifelong friend Gerry. “Then he’d tell each of us how to put everything together and he was always right!” After deciding to major in Engineering, Tony worked full time during the day and attended night school, all while managing a family that included his 3 daughters – Robin, Tracy and Maureen. After graduating from New Haven School of Electronics with a Bachelor’s in Engineering, he began working for a large electronics company. Concerned by the direction the organization was heading, Tony decided to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and at the age of 29, started his own high-end electronic component business. In June 1970, Technical Research and Manufacturing, Inc, was born.
In 1998, he married Wendy Tirollo who was HR Director of TRM Microwave at the time. “Tony was highly regarded as a genius in his field and was often called ‘The Microwave King’,“ Wendy says. “We would have major prime defense customers come to us with roadblocks to their challenges. Tony could look at a design specification and quickly come up with a solution. He just saw things differently.” In 2006, Tony began mentoring Wendy intensively for the following 4 years and in 2010, passed on the reigns of TRM by appointing her as CEO. This decision in turn allowed Tony to become CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and start focusing on the technical work he loved full time.
Tony reminded Wendy that most business owners are not experts at everything when running their business but following his strategic advice would go a long way in helping run a successful organization.
Tony was known for his special and unique style of mentoring. He had a passion for guiding his engineers and instilling a sense of excitement when coming up with solutions. For Tony, the more challenging the problem, the more intrigued he became in solving it. He felt that no matter how hard it was, if things were in the realm of physics, there was a solution. “That was the ethic he indoctrinated in his engineers,” Wendy adds. “He loved passing on his knowledge and wisdom because he cared about what we do, our industry as a whole and wanted everyone to succeed in their role.”
In addition to his hard work ethic and technical involvement, Tony was known for his quick, dry wit and joked around daily with everyone in the office. He showed a keen ability to make the atmosphere lighter under even the most intense project pressure. As Wendy explains, “Tony’s favorite phrase was ‘Keep Smiling.’ That was his attitude. He didn’t let anything get to him and he never worried. The world could be crashing down and he’d be totally calm, cool and collected and his pleasant, positive attitude and demeanor was contagious. Tony loved sharing his sense of humor because he knew how important it was to keep the company culture enjoyable, even when there’s stress. Tony used to say ‘If you don’t have great employees who have your back, you don’t have anything.’”