About Tom

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I could probably argue that I have been in the parks, recreation, and sports field my entire life. As a young child, my father was a Tom Track Meet Startrecreation director, teacher and coach. My memories of accompanying my father and mother to the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society state conferences are still vivid in my mind. When it comes to experience in the field, I grew up around it, I went to college to study it, I worked in the field for almost 40 years, and now I am teaching professionals and students who desire to spend their careers in the field. I think it is safe to say, “I have seen it all!”

I moved to the Charleston, SC area (Mount Pleasant) the following week after I graduated from college, and I’ve been here ever since. I started my career as a high school athletic director and coach. Shortly after my teaching and coaching ended, I had the opportunity to enter the parks and recreation field, the subject that I trained for while in college. I became the director of a large municipal recreation department in Mount Pleasant, and then became the executive director of one of the most successful park districts in our country, the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. Being a “director” for over 25 years has given me invaluable experience in almost everything relating to our IMG_0727field. My main areas of expertise include agency management, specifically government finance. I have been able to help many who struggled with finding and managing the financial resources.

Professionally I am currently on the faculty of Clemson University as a professor of practice. Professor of practice means I obtained my knowledge and material in the field through experience and expertise, as opposed to academia. Many universities now have professors of practice. I teach the business of entrepreneurial aspects of parks and recreation, and I have been fortunate to have been asked to speak regularly on the topic throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. I also serve as the executive director of the Parklands Foundation of Charleston County, which is Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission’s nonprofit fundraising arm. In November 2017 I was elected to the Mount Pleasant Town Council. I currently serve as a member of the Recreation Committee and also the chair of the Finance Committee, overseeing a $150 million operating budget.

There is a misconception by those close to me that I am retired. I don’t see myself as retired. Hopefully, as long as I am alive, I will be contributing something to someone. My next desire is to use my 40 years of experience in the parks, recreation and sports field to make the parks and recreation industry, and those that work within it, more productive.

IMG_5180Although my professional career has provided much to me, my main priority has always been my family. I met my wife Jackie in college and we have been married for over 39 years. We have three grown children and two grandchildren. The passions and hobbies that my wife and I share have kept us together. We are both very active physically, regularly competing in local runs, races and triathlons. We are avid cyclists and love to scuba dive. My wife and I are also coaches. We started our professional careers as coaches and we both are still volunteer coaching today in track and field.