Tom and his wife are enjoying the retired life these days, spending the winter months at their condo on the east coast of Florida and returning back north come spring to enjoy life in the historic town of Solomons, Maryland where the Patuxent River flows into Chesapeake Bay and ultimately the Atlantic.
Both places are the kind of places that a former high ranking official of the federal government might be expected to find a restful harbor after a long career in the frequently stressful world of Washington, D.C. reviewing and analyzing an endless stream of data about the income, expenses and tax burdens of the American people.
“I’m really a numbers guy,” this well-educated economist says with a good-natured chuckle while touching on the key points of a long career that took him from an industrial corner of the Midwest to the nation’s capital.
Tom grew up in the shadows of the oil refineries and steel mills of northwestern Indiana, before going downstate to a prominent liberal arts college where he also captained the football and baseball teams while getting his Bachelor’s degree. After college he spent a year working as a counselor for inner city high school dropouts and then went back to school and earned a Master’s in economics at one of Indiana’s leading universities.
Tom says, “I decided I wanted to try the federal government and most of the opportunities were in Washington DC. So I got a job in the Commerce Department doing economic analysis. I was one of the 30 or so people who put out the GDP report every month. I did that for four years, and then I got a job offer from a colleague to go to work at the Social Security Administration, doing long-term research on income distributions and tax burdens for four years.
“And then, the chief statistician of Social Security moved over to IRS to be the director of statistics and he offered me a job there, so I thought, geez, do I want to go to IRS, and I thought about it and it looked like an interesting opportunity, and so that became my place of employment for my last 28 years in the federal government. I rose through the ranks from a statistician and economist to senior manager and eventually the last eight years as the director of the statistics division.”
As a former college athlete, Tom has always maintained an active lifestyle, running, coaching youth teams, and playing competitive pick-up basketball. He explains, “When I turned 30, I became a pretty serious jogger, with a goal of running three or four times a week for 10-15 miles or more and did that for 28 years. I estimate I ran about 17,000 miles including five marathons, a lot of 10 K’s and everything in between. And that really kept me kept me pretty fit all those years.
“My running came to crashing halt around 2005 after I had several months of knee pain. I saw an orthopedic surgeon and he told me that my knee meniscus was worn out and to stop jogging. So living on the water these days I have kayaks that I like to paddle, as well as bike, play golf, and take hikes.”
In addition to trying to keep physically fit, Tom has kept his eye on how his mind was. “I’ve had a pretty busy life professionally but even in retirement, I’ve done some consulting and volunteer work and do my taxes myself,” explains this economics expert and former senior official. He adds without a hint of irony, “They can be pretty complicated, plus owning two condos with expenses here and expenses there, trying to manage our finances and things like that, and I really thought there’s a lot of reasons I’d like to be as sharp as I could be.
“So now I’ve been taking Prevagen for almost a year and definitely feel better for it. I’m 73 and Prevagen has definitely been a difference maker.”