As a young boy, LaMonte Thomas watched in awe as locomotives passed by his middle school. He dreamed of jumping aboard and taking off for destinations unknown. His fascination with trains has stuck with him through the years, and provides the basis for his favorite pastime—model railroads.
Now in his 20th year at Cigna, he serves as president and general manager for North Texas and Oklahoma. Thomas first discovered the world of model railroads at a train show in Virginia. He thought it would be a fun activity to take up when he retired someday. But about 10 years ago, he decided to get an early start and set up his first “layout” in his home office. Dead-set on making everything perfect, Thomas became frustrated with the process. At another train show, he shared his frustrations with an older gentleman. The man told him to go outside and look around. Thomas decided to humor the guy and did as he was told. When he came back inside the man asked him, “What did you see that was perfect?” Nothing, Thomas realized.
After adjusting his expectations, everything changed. “I realized that it’s just about relaxation—creating something and being able to adjust it based on my mood or something I have been inspired by,” Thomas says. “I’m the conductor. This is my railroad. What do I want to see along this journey that will excite me?”
Read more of this monthly ‘My Passion’ feature in the July issue of D CEO magazine at this link.