Working his way through school, TJ held a variety of jobs that ranged from a pipefitter in the mining industry to an open-range land conservationist. During college, TJ started his first small business, a firm that provided and installed home energy-saving devices.
After a career in international project management and construction, TJ’s volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity led him to found the Central Valley NMTC Fund (CVNF), which invests in socially and economically disadvantaged communities throughout the Central Valley. Starting from a single dollar in 2011, TJ has since raised more than $65 million and invested it in projects that have created over 1,500 jobs and brought our region critically needed services such as healthcare, job-training, community and recreational facilities and affordable housing.
These investments include new non-profit and educational opportunities such as Rescue the Children, an innovative campus for at-risk women and children, and West Hills Community College’s Farm of the Future, which trains young women and men for careers in agriculture. Another project—the North Fork Bioenergy Plant—turns dead trees from the Sierras into clean-energy. It was awarded “Project of the Year” by Novoco, an industry trade group.
In California’s 21st Congressional District, TJ was proud to help spur investment in community health clinics in Fowler, Mendota, Parlier and Sanger, creating more than 450 jobs. Today, these clinics deliver over 100,000 healthcare appointments per year. Health clinics provide tremendous community benefit—bringing health care to where it’s needed and when it’s needed while creating well paying, career-track jobs. Currently, TJ is spearheading additional investment in community health clinics in Huron, Lemoore and Selma, which will create 150 permanent jobs and bring health services to an additional 12,000 residents.
Cleaning the Valley’s air and water is a primary goal of TJ’s organization and CVNF is helping develop innovative dairy digester projects to support our dairy farmers and fight climate change by cutting methane emissions. The digesters will improve the environment while generating revenue for dairies from renewable bioenergy.
TJ understands that agriculture drives the Valley’s economy. Employing his deep knowledge of California’s farming industry, in 2012 TJ co-founded an almond processing business and in 2017, completed construction of an organic nut pasteurizing plant in Madera that processes 100 million pounds of nuts a year.
TJ was born in Walnut Creek, California, to Kenneth Cox, a scientist and chemical engineering professor from China, and Perla DeCastro, from the Philippines, who met in college in the United States. Sadly, TJ’s father passed away while TJ was in high school. The loss of his father influenced TJ to choose chemical engineering as an early career path. TJ’s mother was a pioneer for social justice herself and served as one of the first equal employment opportunity officers for the state of Nevada.
TJ holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Mackay School of Mines, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He lives in the Central Valley with his wife, Kathleen Murphy, M.D, a pediatric intensive care physician. They are the proud parents of four children.