For over forty years Tom has been a teacher, coach and program developer in cooperative problem-solving. He has worked with the U.S. Department of State, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, as well as with UNESCO and organizations in Northern Ireland and Vietnam. As a member of Search for Common Ground he worked to improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world.
After studying for the Catholic priesthood he received his B.A. in philosophy and sociology from De Paul University, and his M.A. in the history of political thought and international relations from Georgetown University. A former U.S. Navy officer, Tom commanded the Underwater Demolition Team detachment in Vietnam and the Western Pacific area. He later served with a reserve Navy SEAL team.