Executive Profile: J. David Armstrong, Jr. on the best advice he ever received - ‘No matter what … go to college.’ | Broward College Office of Advancement and Broward College Foundation

Executive Profile: J. David Armstrong, Jr. on the best advice he ever received – ‘No matter what … go to college.’

J. David Armstrong, Jr


J. David Armstrong, Jr. is the face of Broward College in the South Florida business community, and he works tirelessly to ensure his students are prepared when they face local job opportunities.

Armstrong has spent 25 years in state and national higher education and economic development, including the role of chancellor of the Florida Community College System. As head of Broward College, he oversaw the school’s introduction of baccalaureate programs, and he guided the school to becoming one of the Top 10 community colleges in the nation according to the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute.

Low-key and affable, he works tirelessly with local business groups, including the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Six Pillars initiative, Leadership Florida and the Broward Workshop, as well as area charities.

A world traveler and avid football fan (Roll, Tide!), he also follows World Futbol through his son, who plays with an international academy in Austria.


What do you like about your job? I enjoy the people with whom I work. I am lucky to be able to interact with great faculty members and students from all over the world, as well as an outstanding civil and business community in greater Fort Lauderdale.

What’s the least favorite part of your job? Ninety-five percent of my job is wonderful; the only thing that sometimes concerns me is not having enough resources to be able to accomplish all of the opportunities we have accessible to us. There are many projects we would like to start at the college, including new career and degree programs, but we lack sufficient resources to begin them.

How old were you when you got your first job? I have been working since I was a child, doing odd jobs such as helping to bale hay and working on grass sod farms. I often had manual labor kinds of jobs that helped me earn a great appreciation for those who do these tasks today. Later on, I had my first indoor job of bagging groceries.

What’s the best advice you ever received and why? I am the first person in my family to go to college. Both my grandmother and my mother insisted that I go to college, and they made sure that they found resources to support me in my goal. I try to give that same advice to young people today. I tell them that, no matter what, they can go to college and it will be the best investment they ever made.

Imagine you’re with a group of CEOs. What three business tips would you ask them for? I would ask them: 1. What are the keys to your success? 2. What can we do at Broward College to help you and your company be more successful? and 3. What advice would you suggest I share with our students to help them be successful in a company like yours?

What’s your most – and least – favorite food? Any back story to either? I love a good steak or pork tenderloin that I have personally grilled. My least-favorite food is one that I recently came across while traveling in Asia. They often serve sea cucumber and various forms of tripe as delicacies. I eat these foods out of respect for our host, but I do not always enjoy them.

What would people be most surprised to learn is on your MP3 player? I have an eclectic music taste. Everything from classic country, like Conway TwittyGeorge Jones and Patsy Cline; to classic rock, likeEric Clapton and Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones; and even island style, like Jimmy Buffet. I also enjoy classical music from Mozart and Tchaikovsky. I have begun exploring opera.

You just won a trip anywhere in the world, by any mode of transportation. Where are you going? How are you getting there? Why? I have a long list of exotic places I would love to visit. I try to understand and appreciate cultures by visiting local markets and getting away from typical tourist destinations. While my list is long, my immediate fascination and plan with my wife is a two-week hiking trip in the Alps across three countries – Germany, Austria and northern Italy. Our plan is to hike from small, romantic inns to ski huts that are lodges in the summertime.

How do you unwind? A good book, a glass of red wine, getting on my little boat to explore in the Everglades, being in a forest or mountain wildflower meadows hiking with my wife and son, skiing in the winter or, lately, being on a tractor “bush-hogging” or cutting brush on a small “hobby farm” we have with our family in Alabama.

Article Source (full article requires subscription)


In the summer of 1949, a young architecture student from the University of Florida arrived at Scott Air Force base in Belleville, Illinois, for ROTC training. While there he called a friend of a friend, who invited him to a party where he met a beautiful young woman. They stayed in touch, and the following summer he went back to Illinois … and found his girlfriend had met someone else. Not being one to give up on finding the perfect woman, he continued to stay in touch and attend parties … and he fell in love with an even more beautiful woman – his girlfriend’s sister!