Super Bowl Champion Turned Successful Restaurateur Set to Inspire Audience at Gwinnett Tech

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Moving from the gridiron to the restaurant business was a mark of success for Adalius Thomas, the former NFL player who is this year’s featured speaker for Gwinnett Technical College’s INSPIRE Lecture. The 38-year-old racked up honors and accolades during his ten years as a player with the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. Thomas is now co-owner of several restaurants, including Bolt Bistro and Bar in Raleigh, N.C.

The public is invited to join students, faculty and staff from 12 to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, when Thomas will talk about his journey from Super Bowl champion to successful restauranteur at the College’s annual INSPIRE Lecture. This is the second year for the event, which is focused on developing students’ self-awareness, self-improvement and sense of self-worth.

This year’s INSPIRE Lecture will be at Gwinnett Tech’s Busbee Center, Building 700, on the Lawrenceville campus. Although reservations are not required, they are recommended due to limited seating. There is no charge to attend. To reserve a free ticket, For more information, contact Dean of Business and Art & Design Dr. Jermaine Whirl at 678-226-6829 or

“We hope students will obtain words of wisdom and be inspired so that they too can achieve their dreams,” said Whirl. “We want them to see that many famous individuals have humble beginnings just like them. So they should never limit what they can become based on their current situation.”

Thomas played both football and basketball at Central Coosa High School in Rockford, Ala. Named as a Class 4A all-state selection by the Birmingham News, he attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a defensive end and earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors his junior and senior year, and Liberty Bowl MVP in 1999. Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, Thomas was named twice to the Pro Bowl and twice to the All-Pro team. He was also a part of the winning team his first year in Super Bowl XXXV. In 2007, he signed with the New England Patriots, playing mainly as a linebacker, and returned to the championships in Super Bowl XLII. Overall, his professional football career lasted ten seasons and 517 tackles.

Now five years out of the limelight of professional sports, Thomas is applying the business savvy gained with his bachelor’s degree in sport management to the food industry. In an interview with the University of Southern Mississippi, Thomas said, “Understanding your weakness and hiring people that are smarter than you is probably the most important thing you can do. Doing that has helped tremendously and helped the business grow.”

His experience makes him a great choice for this year’s INSPIRE Lecture, according to Whirl, who says he has heard many stories from students struggling to be successful through life challenges.

“I encourage all my students, but I believe it is more effective when they hear it from someone outside the College,” Whirl said. “The impact is even greater when it comes from a successful celebrity who had humble beginnings that many of our students can relate to.”

Gwinnett Technical College offers more than 50 degree, diploma and certificate program options that can be completed in two years or less. For more information, visit or call 770-962-7580.