Born in Butte, Montana, Tom grew up on the family ranch in Stevensville.
Tom graduated from Stevensville High School in 1971 and attended Western Montana College on a basketball scholarship. He was elected student body president at the end of his sophomore year and participated in numerous clubs. Tom received a BS in Education in 1975 with double majors of Mathematics and English. From 1975 to 1982 he taught advance math at Hamilton High School in the Bitterroot Valley while also coaching football, boys and girls basketball.
In 1982 Tom joined the staff at the University of Arizona in the College of Agriculture, Animal Science Department. While working on his Master's Degree in Education, he instructed students in equine taxation, breed farm management and breed registries. Upon completing his Master's Degree, Tom returned to Montana in 1986, settled in Billings and founded a software company called IMS Consulting Group, Inc.
Over the next 18 years, the company grew, counting more than 100 clients, located in over 10 countries around the world. The software products dealt primarily with the horse racing and greyhound racing industry. In 2007, IMS Consulting Group, Inc.'s major products were purchased by InCompass Solutions, a division of The Jockey Club. Today, IMS Consulting Group, Inc. continues to do specialized software for the gaming industry.
Tom's wife, Kathy is a retired middle school math teacher. They currently reside in Corvallis, Montana. They have three children and five grandchildren.