Thomas L. Anderson
Tom Anderson was born in 1936 and raised in Everett, Wash., by his Scandinavian parents who married in Sandpoint, Idaho. Anderson loved skiing, fishing, building model airplanes and constructing objects with his Erector Set. He was active in many extracurricular activities in school including being an algebra tutor and class president. He attended Everett Junior College and later transferred to the University of Idaho on a skiing scholarship. He helped to pay for his tuition and expenses by working for the Engineering Experiment Station. He was vice president of his fraternity and a three-year member of the varsity ski team that placed among the top teams annually at the NCAA National Ski Championships.
Anderson earned his bachelor's (’58) and master's (’61) degrees in civil engineering at U of I and a doctorate (’67) in civil engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from CU in 1994.
Anderson taught in the department of civil engineering at U of I from 1958 to 1970, where he also coached the U of I varsity ski team for three years. At this same time he worked at Boeing Airplane Company and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder.
In 1970, Anderson took a position with Battelle Memorial Institute in Richland, Wash., and after four years, joined Fluor Engineers and Constructors in Los Angeles. He spent 27 years with Fluor in a variety of assignments of increasing responsibility that provided an opportunity to make contributions to structural dynamics applications. Anderson was general manager of engineering services for Fluor’s southern California operations center where he directed $250 million in engineering design services annually. His first assignment at Fluor was responsibility for the seismic design of the Alyeska Pipeline pump stations and Valdez marine terminal, including all structures and equipment. He later designed the seismic base isolation system for the 911 Emergency Response Center for dispatch of all Los Angeles County fire and medical assistance which was the first seismically isolated building for Los Angeles County that ensured continuity of operations during and following destructive earthquakes.
When on sabbatical leave from Fluor in the mid ‘90s, he completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at RAND’s Critical Technologies Institute in Washington, D.C., where he worked with the Office of Science and Technology Policy in improving science and technology policy formulation in the Executive Office of President Clinton.
In 2000, he was appointed program officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he managed the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Program involving project management for all NEES experimental equipment awards to major research universities across the nation. Anderson continued as a consultant for a number of years after retiring from NSF, providing engineering, management, policy and advisory assistance to a range of clients. His technical specialty is earthquake engineering and structural dynamics, and he has published extensively in these fields.
Anderson still skis the black diamond runs, enjoys the theater, cooking, gardening and travel. Anderson has three sons, Steven, David and Eric and two stepdaughters, Wendy and Jill, and 14 grandchildren! He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Arlington, Va.