I have been at Wallace Group (WG) for just over five months. Prior to joining WG, I gained 15 years of experience at other private firms, and two years of experience at Caltrans District 5. After college and before all of that “office space,” I was a commissioned officer in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps for 6 years, spending 3 years at sea and 3 years on land and in the air. The NOAA Corps is called “The Seventh Service” because people know even less about it than they do about the Public Health Service (remember C. Everett Koop?). That experience was much different than a typical start to an engineering career, but it gave me something valuable—an education in human nature. You see yourself and other people at your/their best and worst when out at sea. I am very thankful for that experience and I got paid to travel to some really interesting places. I also met my wife of 19 years, Jane, during that time.
Tom & Family on a recent vacation to Kauai.
I have lived in San Luis Obispo for 14 years and have two awesome teenage kids, one of whom is off to college next year. Prior to San Luis Obispo, I lived in San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; and on the east coast, where I grew up. I graduated in 1991 from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
Q & A:
WG: Describe what you do at WG
TM: I am working on some great local projects, mostly development, some small, some large. Rob Miller (Principal at WG) recently got me involved in a winery project – I have always wanted to work on one of those (a brewery is also on my bucket list, Rob).
WG: What are some of your favorite activities with WG?
TM: Still finding out, but had a lot of fun at Game Night and playing Golf with some other Civils – also loving the constant supply of fresh fruit since I try to eat healthy.
WG: What are you involved in outside WG?
TM: Professional Organizations – ASCE Past President, ACEC Vice President, Cal Poly Industry Advisory Board; Service Groups – Habitat for Humanity, Board of Directors & Building Committee
WG: Favorite pastime?
TM: Right now, spending as much time with my kids as they will let me before they grow up and leave home. I also enjoy playing a few instruments, and hope to get beyond “beginner” once I have more time. I used to sail and windsurf a good bit and hope to get back to that.
WG: Favorite movie?
TM: I don’t have a single favorite, but I like comedies (especially British), documentaries and human experience movies which make you think.
WG: Favorite food?
TM: Olives and/or anything pickled.
WG: Describe your dream vacation.
TM: Something that includes some pain and adventure (like backpacking) with a few days of tropical relaxation at the end.
WG: What’s your favorite childhood memory?
TM: We lived in England for a year and travelled Europe when I was in second grade. My parents were winging it and we lived on a shoestring (my “room” was a fold out couch) but the experiences really stuck with me.
WG: What’s your secret ability?
TM: Harmonica and, once in a while, impersonations.
WG: What is the farthest away from SLO have you been?
TM: Antarctica. I was supposed to be assigned to the tropics but my friends talked me into going on their ship instead.
Tom tries (and fails) to grow
a beard with his shipmates.