A Hero and the Lessons He Taught Me

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Tom in military

Tom (Top Gun Pilot) next to his F-4 Phantom Jet circa early 1970′s

My boss, mentor and friend Tom McLaughlin passed away somewhat unexpectedly on Sunday after losing his battle with cancer.  He was 63.  He was the President/CEO and Partner of our company, Teamworks.  I have learned so much about him and even more so about myself in the past week, that it will take me some time to organize and reflect upon my thoughts. 

I worked closely with a hero the last 5 years (have known him for 15) and never knew it…and he wanted it that way.  In a world where its all about what I can do, look at me, I have this, his life was SO uncommon because it was exactly the opposite; and what a blessing to have known a man that lived that way.  I am truly better for it.  Below are some things I learned about Tom THIS week:

  • He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale where he played varsity football
  • Is an American Hero representing us with uncommon valor in battle
  • Finished 1st in his Top Gun Flight School class
  • Appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine at 25 years old representing the Man of the Year issue
  • Graduated from Harvard Business School with his MBA, he played Rugby for the Business School
  • Built several very successful businesses, including ours at Teamworks…
  • Always put us (his employees and families) ahead of the business/bottom line
  • He coached, played and loved sports with a passion believing in their ability to shape youth and people to become better human beings
  • He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery

What an amazing man!  His life, and his passing, has taught me a lot about what it should mean to be one…among other things, service, humility, honor and the pursuit of personal excellence without ever telling anyone about it…that was Tom.

 We will miss him, I will never forget him.

I pray that you would be fortunate enough to know someone like Tom, and that his story (or that someone) helps you reconnect with what matters most to you in life…your talents are too great, and this life is too short, to live it otherwise.

God Bless you Tom, rest in peace.


One Response to "A Hero and the Lessons He Taught Me"
  1. Kimberly Kyle Gilligan says:

    I would like to extend my deepest sympathy for Tom’s family and the greater family at Teamworks. Dave, your words and reflection on such a remarkable public servant are beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a genuine, heartfelt, and insightful consideration of an astonishing man.

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