After receiving his doctorate, Tom worked for Dr. Bruce Dunn as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the UCLA Department of Materials Science and Engr. Tom’s research projects included initiatives funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Hughes Research Laboratories. Under Dr. Dunn’s guidance, Tom was responsible for characterizing novel ceramic oxygen-ion conducting materials for oxygen generator systems; development of micro-energy storage concepts for powering advanced microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems (with Dr. C-J. Kim and Dr. G. Carmen); and building a new laboratory capability to synthesize new lithium battery materials. In 1994 (Group 15) and 1995 (Group 16), Tom was selected by NASA from over 5,000 civilian applicants as a finalist for the Astronaut Candidate program.
Tom began his Boeing career in late 1997 when he joined Boeing-North American (Houston, TX) to support real-time mission operations for the NASA Space Shuttle power subsystems. In that role, Tom proudly worked over 15 Space Shuttle missions in the Mission Evaluation Room and also served as a mission duty officer during the early construction stages of the NASA ISS. During this time, Tom was the battery technical lead for the NASA Space Shuttle safety upgrade Electric Auxiliary Power Unit (EAPU) development program. The EAPU energy storage system was one of the first applications of high-power LIB’s on a NASA-platform which helped establish the foundation for future NASA LIB applications. While residing in Houston, Tom served as an Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Houston (Clear Lake, TX) where he taught graduate-level courses in chemical kinetics and electrochemical engineering.
In 2001, Tom transferred to the Boeing Satellite Development Center (Torrance, CA) where he was promoted to the Battery Operations Cell Engineering Mgr. responsible for Ni-H2 cell manufacturing, test, and delivery for Boeing’s commercial and government satellite family. Over the next 12 years, Tom assumed technical leadership positions of increasing responsibility on a number of major Boeing space flight government and commercial programs resulting in numerous awards for program execution, technical innovation, knowledge management, and customer satisfaction. In 2013, Tom was promoted to Associate Technical Fellow and, later, Technical Fellow for his accomplishments at the Boeing company as well as his nationally recognized expertise in aerospace electrical power and energy storage systems.
Along with his professional accomplishments, Tom prioritizes education and mentorship as a tenet of furthering the aerospace profession. As a faculty member at University of Houston, USC, Cal Poly Pomona, and UCLA, Tom has created special topics curricula which emphasize applied and fundamental principles of chemical and aerospace engineering. At Univ. of Houston, he designed and developed graduate-level special topics courses in electrochemical engineering and created a new course titled, “Chemical Engineering for Chemists”. Tom was also a tenure-track Associate Prof. in the Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engr at Cal Poly Pomona where he helped create and institute a new freshman introductory engineering course titled, “Engineering, Society, and You”.
In October 2020, in conjunction with the Pacific Rim Meeting on Electrochemical & Solid-State Science (Houston, HI), Tom (w/Dr. Joshua Lamb, Sandia Nat'l Laboratories) will be teaching a 1-day short course titled, "Battery Safety and Failure Modes",
Tom and his wife Joan reside in Long Beach, California where they actively enjoy a Southern California lifestyle and traveling abroad - having visited over 40 countries on 6 continents. Tom has run the New York marathon twice; summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro; hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; snorkeled with sea lions in the Galapagos Is.; flown in zero-gravity; rode a camel around the Giza Pyramids; solo-piloted a Cessna 152; trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp, and viewed the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji.