City of Huntsville employees Byron K. Thomas and Tenya Green both had humble beginnings.
Thomas, who describes himself as being country and family raised, and Green, a former Huntsville Animal Services clerk, never failed to grasp each new opportunity that crossed their paths.
“Where you start is not always where you end,” said Green, the City’s Human Resources (HR) Administration Manager since 2017.
Each celebrating 25 years of service to the City, Green and Thomas were honored alongside other employees on April 4 during the annual Longevity Banquet at the Huntsville Botanical Garden.
Learn more about these outstanding City employees below:
Byron K. Thomas
Hailing from Tupelo, Mississippi, Thomas came to Huntsville in 1989 to participate in J.C. Penney’s management training program. Working for the retailer as a merchandiser/buyer, Thomas said he fell in love with the Huntsville community.
Thomas, married to Natalie with one daughter, Nicole, at the time, later transitioned to HR at J.C. Penney before successfully landing an HR Analyst position at the City of Huntsville in 1997. From there, they welcomed another daughter, Nena, and son, Nylan.
With a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University, Thomas steadily moved up in his City career. After working as Benefits & Safety Coordinator from 2000-2006, he became Deputy Director of Human Resources before being appointed Director of Human Resources in 2009.
The City’s HR Department has flourished during Thomas’ career, growing to 20 employees. From HR administration and benefits to the Health & Wellness Center and more, the HR team is focused on providing the best customer service to employees, retirees, their families and citizens.
“Every day, we come in with the mindset that we’re here to serve every one of our employees,” Thomas said. “We’ve got over 2,500 employees now and we’ve really grown since the time Tenya and I have been here. Each and every one of them – no matter what work they do or what role they have here at the City – are special to us.”
After two years as a clerk at the City’s animal shelter, Green transitioned to the HR office in 1999. It didn’t take long for her to progress. That same year, she was promoted to Benefits Claims Technician, a position she held until 2003.
Green took on the role of Human Resources & Benefits Analyst in 2003, then became an HR Analyst, Senior HR Analyst, and, finally, HR Administration Manager. During her early days with the department, Green said mentors like Thomas and former HR Director Mia Puckett encouraged her to go back to school. Support from her husband and children also inspired her to continue her education.
“In order to progress, I knew I had to go to school and get the education and training to move into a management-type role,” she said.
And she’s so glad she did. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Oakwood University, Green holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from Faulkner University.
Being part of a family-friendly workplace that invests in its employees’ futures has been rewarding for Green. Building strong relationships with City workers has also proven beneficial for the Huntsville native.
“No matter what department it is, you touch somebody’s life,” Green said.
Green and her husband, Billy Ray, have four children: sons, D’Andre and Brandon; daughters, Demetrius (Jay) and Rayven. They’re also proud grandparents to Cristin, Ava and Jada.
‘Everyone is important’
Thomas said he’s proud of many HR initiatives, especially the creation of Mayor Tommy Battle’s Leadership Development and Advanced Leadership Development programs.
Designed to identify and elevate emerging City leaders, the programs work to build bonds among people who may have been strangers or casual acquaintances, and expose them to a broad variety of experiences and experts at the City.
“Getting the opportunity to let employees know that no matter what role you have, everyone is important,” Thomas said. “That same philosophy we try to instill throughout our office and share with our City departments.”
The City strives to be an inclusive place, showcasing all of Huntsville’s unique features and culturally rich communities. While there’s always more work to do, Green said the City’s diverse workforce reflects that.
Whether you’re the Mayor, a supervisor, first responder or blue-collar worker, the rewards of a municipal job are significant. Some perks include job security, good pay and better benefits than many private-sector careers.
“We reach all people,” Green said. “The diversity of our workforce is really inviting.”