Tom is an educator, a pragmatist, and an endlessly kind soul with an infectious passion for renewable energy. Bringing lessons and hands-on activities to hundreds of school-age children through the Chewonki Foundation each year, you’ll catch him saying things like “you now know more about passive solar design than 99.9% of Americans.” His pedagogy is necessarily action-oriented, generating the kind of enthusiasm and self-confidence that mobilizes students to take on real projects in their home communities. Many a school renewable energy project has been born from Tom’s laughter and supportive smile.
Eleanor Roosevelt is an inspiration to Tom, him describing her growth from timid to courageous and outspoken as a path he can strongly identify with. Teenage Tom was self-proclaimedly “quite lazy,” and developed an early passion for efficiently expending his energy, time and resources. When his father passed away when Tom was young he knew that he could not choose to fritter life away with meaningless work. “I’m not taking a higher ground here, I would just wither away.” While his work at Chewonki represents a daily decision to to commit to a brighter future, he recognizes that we must throw our whole selves into this transition. Now dreaming of going back to school, starting a small consulting company or working with local activists on the side, he’s “making a conscious decision to open my world up, before I get crotchety.”