He's had the privilege to work with all of the School's deans, starting with Dr. Howard Rudd. Over the past six months, he's learned more about Dean Shao's vision for the School and wants to help push his agenda to build world class facilities and graduate programs.
"Tommy Baker is an asset to this School and Charleston community," says Alan T. Shao, Dean of the School of Business. "We are fortunate to have him advocate our strategic vision to globalize our academic programs, form innovative partnerships and create the infrastructure to do so."
In addition to his Board position, Professor Tommy Baker is a Distinguished Entrepreneur in Residence and teaches mostly seniors who are majoring in business administration with an entrepreneurship concentration.
"My class is like boot camp for the young minds. I enjoy the interaction with the students and they come out with fresh perspectives of the business world," says Tommy. "In 13 weeks, I collaborate with them on team management, project development and presentation. Hopefully they gain insight and are more prepared to join the workplace."
Background and Accomplishments
Tommy was born in Charleston, South Carolina, close to the banks of the Wando and Cooper Rivers and the historic city of Charleston. He attended Moultrie High School, and distinguished himself on the baseball fields and the dance floors of the Lowcountry. Motivated by a desire to serve his country and the patriotism of many past generations of Charlestonians, Tommy enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after graduation. His service took him far from Charleston to the Japanese island of Okinawa. He returned home in 1968 where he enrolled at The Citadel, South Carolina's preeminent Military College. The strict discipline of The Marine Corps was here combined with a first rate education and a great Veterans program.
Tommy's pursuit of education did not simply stop after leaving the Citadel in 1972. In 1988, he was accepted into Harvard Business School's exclusive Owner/President Management Program, an intensive three-year study of business models and executive education. As stated in Harvard's own description,
"The concept of the program is simple and the impact far-reaching; Gather a group of dynamic business leaders...create an environment that generates ideas and fuels their passions...and something powerful happens."
After spending 25 years as an automobile dealer across the South, Tommy felt it was time to return to his first love, Charleston. Combining his extensive experience with acute business savvy and his one-of-a-kind amicable personality, Tommy founded Baker Motor Company in 1988. After starting out on Morrison Drive in Downtown Charleston with a single dealership, Tommy has since expanded Baker Motor Company to now include Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Maserati, Porsche, Land Rover, Infiniti, smart car, a Jaguar franchise, and a luxury Pre-Owned Center in a state of the art facility on Savannah Highway.
Tommy feels that the success he has achieved could not be possible without the support of his community. Mindful of this, he has always attempted to do his part and in the process has become a civic leader. He is formerly an Executive Board Member and Organizer of the Duke Children's Classic, a fundraiser for the Duke University Children's Hospital. He presently is the chairman of the board of Yes Carolina. In addition to his role on the School of Business Board of Governors, Tommy serves on the Board of Directors of Southcoast Bank and the Board of Directors of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as chairman of the board of the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital. On May 13, 1995, Tommy was awarded the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Charleston.
Tommy currently resides in historic downtown Charleston with his wife of 29 years. They have three grown children, Cassie, Katie, and Harrison, and one grandson. He is an avid runner, enjoys playing golf and spending as much time as possible with his friends and family.