Tom grew up in a small south central Pennsylvania town and still lives in the house he was brought home to from the hospital. Tom graduated from Dartmouth (BA), the University of London (MA) and M.I.T. (PhD), and during his studies, he joined the Peace Corps. While serving in the Peace Corps, Tom worked on agricultural and irrigation projects for two years in a small rural village in India. While in school, Tom met Frances and they got married in 1975. Tom and Frances have been married for 39 years, and have raised two wonderful daughters, Sarah and Katie. Both Sarah and Katie attended York County public schools before going to college.
After graduating from M.I.T., Tom returned home and worked as a forklift operator and warehouse worker in the family business. Later Tom took a risk by securing a loan with his two cousins to buy his family’s business — and as CEO, he turned it into America’s largest supplier of kitchen cabinets and a leading provider of specialty building products.
In 2006, Governor Ed Rendell appointed Tom to serve in his cabinet as Secretary of Revenue. As Revenue Secretary, Tom turned down the perks and donated his salary to charity. He even drove his own Jeep all across Pennsylvania to meet with 2,000+ workers and learn more about their jobs. While Secretary of Revenue, Tom instituted reforms that protected and strengthened the state lottery, which laid the foundation for millions of dollars in additional benefits for our seniors.
In early 2009, Tom was preparing to announce his bid for governor when he received an urgent phone call. The company he sold three years earlier — a company he spent twenty-five years building and growing — was on the brink of going bankrupt and closing. Instead of walking away and leaving his former employees to join the ranks of the unemployed, Tom immediately ended his campaign and negotiated a repurchase of the family business, putting every penny he had back into the enterprise.
Tom changed the business model, transforming it from just a distributor of other people’s products to a company that sources its own American-made cabinets, competing directly with Chinese imports. Tom led this turnaround the right way, by treating workers fairly with good wages and benefits. He even returns 20 to 30 percent of the company’s profits back to its workers – because he knows that their work is what truly makes the company successful.
Tom has been deeply involved with his community, serving on and leading boards of numerous organizations. And he even rolled up his sleeves to help build a Little League baseball field.
As governor, Tom will use all of his experiences to build a strong middle class and give Pennsylvania a fresh start.