Thomas W. Loker

Businessman, Board Member, Mentor


While much of Tom's career has been involved in Hi-Tech or HealthCare, many of Tom's major contributions have been in the area of general business skills and experience. Tom started his career in science, but soon transitioned into the business of science and education running various science laboratories. Tom was responsible for the development and day to day maintenance of the physical plant and lab equipment, management of supplies, expansion of facilities and infrastructure and budget controls.

Tom's next adventure took him into the land of retail, by redesigning and redeveloping the concept of what a college bookstore was. Tom took the simple idea that a campus bookstore was just a place for students to acquire athletic-ware, textbooks, and art and school supplies and transformed that into that of a full service store that offered everything from clothing and groceries, to computer systems and other technology. Tom not only redefined what a college bookstore was to become, he changed the business model itself. By selling at more of a traditional retail price model the things that students wanted but didn't need, he was able to offer the books and supplies they did need at much lower cost. His mentor, Jack Andrews, retired chairman of Federated Department Stores, taught him how to plan, develop and operate a successful retail business. He learned how to negotiate with vendors and suppliers, how to manage inventory, how to merchandise and market products and most importantly how to manage not just to a profit and loss statement but to the balance sheet of the business as well.

It was at the campus Bookstore that Tom began his career as a pioner in the PC industry. Not only was he the first person to offer full  PC systems in a college booksote. His activities helped define the future of computer sales. The success at PC sales in this small college bookstore led Tom to be one of the top Epson dealers in the US. This led Epson to recruit Tom in order to transfer his skills and abilities to a larger group.

Tom's Jump to Epson, took his retail experience and helped him apply what he had learned running his own operations to that of Epson's retail dealers. Tom learned to support his store base and help them become strong loyal Epson resellers by providing an effective support infrastructure that helped them grow their own businesses. Tom took his experience at planning and budgeting his bookstore operation to the next level at Epson.

While at Epson, Tom began the development of a comprehensive market analysis and projection tool that accurately predicted the computer market buying power for each territory in the U.S. down to the zip-code level. This early work led to the development of the Computer Market Index that was a significant tool for computer manufacturers and resellers to predict expected volume by territory in the early years. While at Epson, Tom wore a number of hats from channel development, to market sales, to sales and marketing management, to special projects and later to general management of their Mid-Atlantic distribution operation.

At ComputerLand, Tom brought his unique perspectives and business experience to their franchise network. In the middle of a significant industry downturn, ComputerLand had over 800 stores worldwide and a number of them were in trouble. With over 35 stores at, or near, bankruptcy, Tom redeveloped many of the tools that he had used in his prior careers and re-applied them to the ComputerLand Network. In addition to the Computer Market Index, Tom also developed a series of integrated financial modeling tools offering franchisees unique insight and guidance in how to adapt their businesses in a changing marketplace and helped many return to profitability. While there, Tom also served on a number of product and vendor committees helping provide street level input for the next generation’s products as to what the customers wanted and what dealers needed in order for a product to be successful.

While at ComputerLand, Tom was involved in helping numerous franchisees either successfully start new businesses or rehab faltering franchises. Tom participated in, or led, numerous mergers and acquisitions of computer stores as well as a very successful market consolidation and aggregation program that helped ComputerLand grow its annual revenue from $1.3 Billion to over $3 billion in 24 month.

Throughout Tom’s career, he has applied his skill as a leader, negotiator, planner and technologist to help many other companies. You can see in the quotes below what a few associates have said about Tom’s leadership and abilities.

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References



"Tom is one of those people you go to, to find out the things you don't know. An avid reader and perpetual student, he has either read about it or experienced it. And if he hasn't, he can rapidly either get you the answer or direct you to where to go to find it."

- Timothy Howell, Sr. Director - Commercial Management at Flextronics

"Tom has been a true partner with the State of California. He has tirelessly offered solutions to our states health and fiscal problems, always putting the needs of others ahead of himself."

- Don Perata, President Pro Tempore, California Senate

“Tom was instrumental in facilitating the successful transaction close and led a fractured shareholder group and inexperienced management team. Tom’s ability to organize and explain his ideas is exceptional. Since the acquisition, Tom’s guidance and input and has always been spot on.

Tom is a critical thinker and leader. He gets to the point of a matter quickly with decisive and crystal clear thinking. Tom is well connected throughout government and industry. He complements his strong decision making capability with strong people skills and salesmanship.”

- Eric Close, President, Redzone Robotics