Tom began as an electrical engineer earning degrees from Old Dominion University (B.S. summa cum laude) and Ohio State University (M.S., University Fellowship). After practicing as a systems engineer, he received a scholarship to study dentistry at the Medical College of Virginia, and subsequently practiced general dentistry in the United States Navy. He received a fellowship to pursue his orthodontic residency at the University of Tennessee where he, and his wife Karin (also an orthodontist), taught before moving to Iowa. Iowa is now their home. Tom is professor and head of the Department of Orthodontics at The University of Iowa.