Tom spent his formative years in Louisville Kentucky where the majestic Ohio River and nearby Rough River Reservoir which began his fascination with our Nation’s fisheries resources. While working at a restaurant in high school he noticed a box stamped “Farm-raised catfish,” stirring his curiosity and leading to his learning of the fisheries science field. He attended Purdue University majoring in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, minoring in Communication, and minoring in History. In 2005 he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue. After finishing up at Purdue, Tom ventured to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) where he ultimately received a Master of Science in Aquaculture/Fisheries in 2007. Tom’s research at UAPB focused on the evaluation of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program and their Fishing Derby Program as well. From 2007 to 2012, Tom served the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) as their statewide Fisheries Program Specialist. His duties at KDWP included coordinating the Community Fisheries Assistance Program, Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) program, Fish KS Aquatic Resources Education program, mobile aquarium, and fishing marketing efforts.
During his tenure at KDWP, two of the programs he coordinated were recognized nationally with the “Outstanding Sportfish Restoration Program” awards. In 2012, Tom accepted a new challenge as the Wichita Falls District Fisheries Supervisor for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) where he and his team manage the fisheries resources of eight counties. As a part of his duties at TPWD he has helped establish three Chapters of Friends of Reservoirs to conduct projects to enhance, restore, and revitalize fish habitat within his District’s reservoirs. Most notably he is helping to lead a team of dedicated volunteers and partners to conduct a holistic and total lake revitalization of Texas’ 3rd oldest lake, Lake Wichita.
Tom served as President of the national Aquatic Resources Education Association. He is currently serving on the American Fisheries Society’s Governing Board, is the AFS Socioeconomics Section President, and President-elect of the AFS Fish Habitat Section. He serves on the City of Wichita Falls’ Parks Board and Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee.