Tom was born in Nashville, Tennessee where he attended public school. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he obtained a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1966 with majors in Mathematics and Physical Sciences. While at UT he became a member of Kappa Alpha Order. After teaching mathematics, chemistry and physics in High School, he took a position with State Farm Insurance Companies in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Bloomington, Illinois. After four years with State Farm, he was hired by National Life and Accident Insurance Company in Nashville, TN for six years. He and his family then moved to Houston where he had an eleven year career with the Coastal Corporation where he was over International Information Technology and became part of the corporate acquisition team for acquiring other energy companies.
He left Coastal in 1989 to become Chief Information Officer for a publicly traded home healthcare company. Upon leaving the healthcare company he established INFOSYS Development Group, an Information Technology Consultancy with offices in Houston and Austin, Texas. INFOSYS provided consulting support to many large national and international companies. These engagements involved technology and management consulting roles including such companies as Chevron (Unocal), Chevron (Texaco), Virginia Power, Gas y Petroquímica Básica (Pemex, the Mexican Oil Company), BMC Software, Solvay Polymers, PG&E Energy Services and the State of Texas.
He is married to Dr. Cynthia L Chappell, PhD. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in English in 1970 and Master of Science Degree Biology in 1976 from Middle Tennessee State University. Tom earned a Master of Arts Degree in Economics and Finance in 1976 from MTSU. Cynthia earned her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Baylor College of Medicine in 1985. They have two grown sons.
His interest in public service began during his teaching years in Nashville. He has been involved with the Exchange Club of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; the Greenway Plaza Exchange Club in Houston, Texas; helping start the Family Escape Center in Houston, Texas; Director of Exchanges clubs of Texas, was elected and served on the Alief Independent School District Board of Trustees for six years with two of those years as President; a long-term member of PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbian and Gays); and founder of the Association for Family and Community Integrity, Inc. (AFCI). He is also a founding Board Member of Tony’s Place that works with homeless street youth. He is currently a Board member for the Homeless Youth Network of Houston/Harris County, Texas and UT Board of Visitors for the Mathematics Department.