Kathy ‘90 and Tim Terzis ‘89: Franchisees with a Philanthropic Purpose
As proud Aggie parents, successful Sport Clips franchisees, and selfless supporters of the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy and Tim Terzis help keep the spirit of Aggieland thriving.
By Rachel Knight ‘18
Editor’s Note: This story may not acknowledge or reflect the challenges of a global pandemic; however, we believe stories like this from the College of Liberal Arts provide an important source of light during these dark times.
They serve as a reminder that Aggies make a difference in the best and worst of times. We hope you find inspiration in what you are about to read, because you continue to inspire us. Thank you for all that you do.
Kathy ‘90 and Tim Terzis ‘89 have four kids who are devoted Aggies. They didn’t brainwash or bribe their children to attend their alma mater; they simply made the Aggie War Hymn part of their kids’ bedtime routine.
In addition to being great parents, Kathy and Tim are dedicated supporters and leaders in the Liberal Arts Development Council at Texas A&M University. Though they’ve been running their businesses successfully for 16 years, neither of these first-generation students attended college with the intention of becoming franchisees.
Two weeks after Kathy graduated, the couple got married. Kathy taught school for five years, and Tim pursued a master’s degree in English while waiting tables at night. Eventually their hard work paid off, and Tim became a successful salesman for Hewlett Packard, which allowed Kathy to stay at home with their children. Tim left corporate America when he was 38. Today, the couple enjoys spending more time in Aggieland giving back to a university that feels more like a second home than a school.
Our conversation with Kathy and Tim, which has been condensed and edited for clarity, is full of fun stories, priceless memories, and great advice.
Tell me a little about your childhood.
Tim Terzis ‘89: I primarily grew up in Richardson, Texas. I was one of five kids, and three of us graduated from Texas A&M. I was pretty active in sports, but I was a mediocre student. I learned to work on cars when I was 15, and I still do that today.
My mom stayed home until my oldest sister went to Texas A&M. Then she went to work basically to put us all through college with no debt. She worked as a dental hygienist. I got interested in attending Texas A&M, because my two older sisters got accepted to Texas A&M.
Kathy Terzis ‘90: I also am one of five children. I’m the second to youngest. I grew up in Plano, Texas. My mom also stayed at home until my youngest sister started elementary school. My mom became a legal secretary for an attorney friend of ours just to help support the family.
My dad spent a little time in the Marines, and then worked in heating and air conditioning. Neither one of my parents went to college, so I was the first one in my family to graduate from a four-year school. We had a bunch of people from our church who went to Texas A&M, and so that’s kind of where I decided to go to Texas A&M.
I had a good childhood. I wasn’t super involved in any major thing. I went through college on Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, so when I graduated I had about $25,000 in debt. I ended up teaching in a Title I school, so we only ended up having to pay a small loan. By teaching in a Title I school, each year I had 25 percent of my loan forgiven. After four years of teaching and making payments on the loan, that loan was forgiven.
Why did you each decide to study at Texas A&M University?
Kathy: My brother, who is just a year older than me, went to Texas A&M his freshman year. I went down for the Aggie Bonfire his freshman year in college, which would have been my senior year in high school. I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of people in my church who had gone there.
Because my parents didn’t go to college, I didn’t really have a lot of direction in that. I kind of grew up believing that after you graduate from high school, you go to college. There wasn’t really any other option. That’s just what you did, but I didn’t have a whole lot of direction. So I thought, “Well, I’ll just apply here.”
Tim: It was a pretty easy decision for me. My parents just knew they were sending all of their kids to Texas A&M, so they bought a duplex in what used to be the most southern part of College Station near 2818 and Welsh. My dad pulled me aside around my 18th birthday and said, “You can either go to Texas A&M or you can get a job and move out of the house.”
Knowing that my parents were going to pay for college, I decided to go to Texas A&M. It was a pretty good choice. I was a first-generation college student also. I don’t think I ever visited campus before I actually started classes.
How did you each choose your major?
Kathy: I was originally a business major. I wanted to go into accounting. Your first two years, you just take general business classes. My first semester I took ECON 203, and I was like, “Oh my goodness! I have to take three more economics classes to complete this degree? I don’t think so.”
My mom always wanted me to be a teacher, but I didn’t want to be a teacher because that’s what she wanted me to be. I wanted to change my major and continue doing something with math. If I transferred to elementary education, I wouldn’t lose any credits. That’s kind of how I fell in there and became a teacher.
Tim: After about two-and-a-half years of trying to be an engineer and what I tell my kids was being perpetually on the dean’s list, which means the dean’s list of students who have to get their grades up or be kicked out of school, I decided to change my major. What I really wanted to do was teach myself how to make a decision.
I looked at journalism because I had competed in high school in poetry and writing contests. I found out one of the requirements to be a journalism major was that you had to type fifty words per minute. Back then I typed with two fingers, so I failed that test. After that, I went to the English department and talked to them. It seemed like a good fit.
When I told my mom I’d changed majors, I said, “Mom, I think I’ve finally decided to change my major to English.” My mom’s immediate response was, “It’s about time.” I’m glad I did. I actually did English and philosophy, which are both good for critical analysis.
What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Texas A&M?
Tim: Getting our Aggie rings. Our kids are always amazed when we tell them the story of how we got our Aggie rings. It was not the production it is now. I remember getting my Aggie ring in between two classes. Picked it up, put it on my finger, and just like that I had an Aggie ring.
Kathy: The Alumni Center had just opened in the late part of our college careers, so I actually did pick up my ring from the alumni center. They just had it on a table. I think there was one person there handing them out. You just walked up, found your name, and took your ring.
How did the two of you meet?
Tim: If you know us you’ll think this is kind of hokey, but I always tell people I saw fireworks on our very first date, and it hasn’t stopped since. If you know us really well, you know our first date was on July 4th, 33 years ago.
We met at Tom Thumb, which is a little grocery store up here. We didn’t meet at Texas A&M, but we met because of Texas A&M.
Kathy: We both worked at Tom Thumb. The first time I noticed him, he was coming down the stairs from the break room, and I was going up the stairs. He had a Texas A&M hat on, and so I said, “Hey, do you go to Texas A&M.” He said yeah, and I told him that I did, too. Then we just kind of hit it off.
For our first date, we went down to the local football stadium in Plano, because they have a big Fourth of July celebration with fireworks. They had a parking lot that they had dumped sand in, they had water spraying, sand volleyball, and it was kind of like a big beach party in the middle of north Texas.
Tim: Four kids later, and the rest is history. We throw a big July 4th party, but most people know now that it’s really more than a July 4th party. It’s a celebration of our first date.
What is it like coming back to campus as parents?
Kathy: When our kids were growing up, we never really went back to campus. Once our oldest got interested in attending Texas A&M, we’d been in contact with Larry Walker at that time. He helped us get tickets to a football game and, oh my gosh, once we did that I couldn’t help thinking, “Oh, I just want to move back.”
I had forgotten how much I love that place. Maybe it’s because I have so many good memories there and it was a place that I grew up, even though I was only there for four years, but all those feelings and memories come back and it really is like going home.
Tim: That’s actually what we say when we pass the Brazos County highway sign. We look at each other and say, “We’re home.”
What I like about it is that we have kids down there, and they don’t mind hanging out with us. It’s nice to be back on campus with no responsibilities, actually having money, and having the means to go to Northgate without having to worry too much.
How did you end up with Sport Clips?
Kathy: Our youngest child was getting ready to start school soon, and I was talking about going back to work teaching or doing something else. Tim didn’t travel a ton, but he traveled frequently. He had a good piece of mind knowing that I was going to be at home. If something happened to the kids, or if he needed something done while he was out of town, he knew that I would be available to do it. So he said, “What if we buy into a business, and then you kind of take care of that business.”
Tim: I researched something called the franchise 500. I looked through and realized Sport Clips was the one that just adhered to our personal and family values. It’s a company that was built on the golden rule and they really mean it.
Kathy: They’re very family oriented and value based. In a lot of ways they remind me of Texas A&M. I feel at home with the company, and with the founder. It just has that family feel.
Tim, you were a liberal arts major. How have you used your liberal arts degree throughout life and your career?
Tim: Really by applying critical analysis. I learned very early in my career that people who made the right decision were very well paid. Getting into sales and being able to see an opportunity that needs a solution, I was pretty good at that because of my critical thinking skills.
Being an English major also made me very comfortable early on in my career, because I had to do a lot of writing in sales.
Kathy, you were not a liberal arts major, but all majors are required to take a few liberal arts courses. How have you used the things you may have learned in some of your liberal arts classes in life and your career so far?
Kathy: When I was in college and growing up, I hated reading. I could never understand how you could read something and just figure out what its meaning is. For me reading was just about a good story.
Being involved with the College of Liberal Arts, I have come to love the College of Liberal Arts. All of the professors I have encountered are wonderful. I’m a huge advocate for the College of Liberal Arts, because I see the value of teaching the students how to think, and as Tim said how to apply that to make decisions. Liberal Arts students are able to look at everything, gather information, and say, “Okay, what can we get from this information.”
I have fallen in love with the College of Liberal Arts.
What books would you recommend to readers?
Tim: My favorite books are probably The Millionaire Mind and Seven Habits of Successful People. Those books changed my life.
Kathy: I would recommend Things I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe.
What do you want your legacy to be at Texas A&M University?
Kathy: We talked about this with Dean Matthews when we went to dinner with her. I don’t really know what we want our legacy to be, but we would like to have a full scholarship that includes an Aggie ring. It may not be until our deaths when this can be funded, but we’d really like to do that. If someone is having a hard time paying for tuition, they’re probably going to have a hard time paying for their ring.
Tim: Our nephew went to Texas A&M, got an engineering degree, but didn’t think it was very important to get an Aggie ring. Then he joined the business world and realized that that Aggie ring really does open doors.
We’ve been in London, Paris, California, North Carolina, where I’ve run into Aggies and I know they are Aggies because they have an Aggie ring on. Our nephew wound up buying his Aggie ring after the fact. If we can help someone complete their journey at Texas A&M with a full scholarship and Aggie ring, then that’s what we really want to do.