Outstanding Industrial Engineer (2018)
Born in Kansas, Tom grew up in Park Ridge, IL, and entered Purdue in the Fall of 1965. At Purdue he was a member of Triangle Fraternity, was active in the Old Masters Program, and was a member of Alpha Pi Mu and Tau Beta Pi. After graduating in 1969, Tom spent his first six years as an Industrial Engineer, Assistant Trainmaster, and Operations Control Officer for the Penn Central and Missouri Pacific Railroads. In 1975, after earning a law degree, he moved to the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad as Executive Assistant to the president and where he was soon appointed Chief Engineer. In 1980 he became Chief Engineer of the Delaware & Hudson Railway. In 1985 he began an illustrious 19-year career with the CSX Railroad, serving in several executive positions, including: General Manager Operations Planning; Chief Engineer Maintenance of Way; Assistant Vice President for Operating Systems; President, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railway Co. (CSX subsidiary); Vice President of Service Design and later of Signal Technology; and most especially, eight years as Vice President Engineering, from which he retired in late 2003. After retiring from CSX, in 2004 he was appointed Vice President of TranSystems Corporation where he served until his retirement in 2009. On leave from TranSystems, he briefly assumed the position of Amtrak's Assistant Vice President, Transportation in 2006. Afterwards, he changed career "tracks", earning an MA in History from the University of North Florida in 2012, and began teaching American History at Florida State College-Jacksonville. He also serves as a history instructor at the University of North Florida Division of Continuing Education (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). Tom has been an active member of the community, serving as Chairman of the Jacksonville Zoo, Chairman of the Arlington (FL) YMCA, member of the YMCA International Committee of the USA, Chairman of Child Guidance Center, member of the Diocesan School Advisory Board, and President of the Western Railway Club of Chicago. Schmidt earned his BSIE degree (1969) from Purdue, his JD (Juris Doctor) Degree (1975) from Saint Louis University, and his MA degree in History (2012) from the University of North Florida. Tom and his wife of 43 years, Jane, have three grown children and one grandchild, and currently divide their time between Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, and Spirit Lake, IA.