Tommy DiNardo ’84 doesn’t hesitate when describing his father, Phil DiNardo ’57, a captain for Everett Case’s teams that won three ACC basketball championships in the 1950s. “From the time I was a very young child, he was my idol. And he still is my idol,” says Tommy. “I always dreamed of following in his footsteps.”
The younger DiNardo did just that. He transferred to NC State from Louisburg College and earned the only walk-on spot on the storied 1983 championship team, carrying on his father’s Wolfpack hardwood legacy. But he did it in another way, as well. He grew up in Jamesville, N.C., watching his father, who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, work at a paper mill. That sparked his interest in project engineering. “You would design, install and start up equipment for whatever industry it would be,” he says. “And I thought that really sounded neat.”
So DiNardo majored in mechanical engineering at NC State and has been doing, as he says, “neat” stuff for the past 30-plus years. Today, he’s associate director of global tech operations at a Merck facility in Wilson, N.C., where he oversees new product launches and equipment installations.