“I had a real Leave It To Beaver upbringing,” Tom Scripps says. “My parents gave me a good sense of values and a strong work ethic.” He was born in Peoria, IL but at a year old moved with his family to Milwaukee where he was raised with two older brothers and a younger sister.
“I was a Caterpillar brat. My dad worked for Caterpillar Manufacturing for over 40 years and managed the Milwaukee plant for 15, overseeing 600 employees before he retired. One of the things he really stressed to us was that no person is better than another, and that’s a lesson I’ve carried with me all my life.”
Tom graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and then attended graduate school in Fort Collins where he gained a Master’s in Statistics. “Ann Moore, a good friend and fellow Evergreen Chorale Member, once told me I’m the most right-brained statistician she’s ever met,” he says. Given his varied interests, she’s probably right.
In addition to maintaining his own successful company, Tom is on the board of The Chorale and has previously served as the organization’s president. In his youth, he took lessons from a jazz pianist and continues to enjoy playing jazz to this day.
Following graduation Tom returned to the Midwest; but when he was unable to find a job, he came back to Colorado. “I just thought, ‘Well, it’s pretty nice here.” He initially waited tables until finding a job at an internal statistical consultant in Littleton. In 1983, he moved to Evergreen, having formed his own consulting business. “I wanted to be out of the city but needed to be within an hour’s drive to the airport,” he explains.
And what sort of services, exactly, does a statistician provide for his clients? “It’s data collection and analysis put to use for a number of reasons,” he explains. “I don’t necessarily have to understand the specific product a client’s business provides; instead, I determine why their product isn’t performing, or why it isn’t providing customer value. I tend to work a lot with research and development people to help their product or service to better meet their customer’s requirements.”
Hearkening back to the philosophy his father instilled in him about the value in every person, Tom says one of the keys to his success lies in his ability to relate well to the people with whom he works. “I tell everyone that you have experience and knowledge that nobody else possesses; the trick is in finding someone who’ll pay you for that knowledge.” That credo seems to have worked well for him, since he’s in the 35th year of his consulting practice. “Going off on my own is the second best decision I ever made,” he says.
Which leads to the first. He first saw Barb – his wife-to-be – when he attended a performance of The Evergreen Players’ production of "Godspell" in 1988 at the old Little Log Theatre. “I said to the person sitting next to me, ‘Who is that attractive woman on that stage?’ Just a few weeks later, she joined The Evergreen Chorale. I was president of the organization at the time, and one of my duties at the first rehearsal was to introduce all of the new members to the group. Yet, somehow, I forgot to include her in those introductions!”
Despite this oversight, she agreed to go out with him. Their first date was on October 7th, opening night of The Chorale’s production of "Oklahoma." They were engaged by December 19th — Barb’s birthday, by the way — and married six months later on May 29th. A speedy courtship; but as he puts it, “I knew within a few weeks that she was the one!”
Tom himself has been active in the arts since high school, participating in choir and madrigal. Both he and Barb have appeared — separately and together — in Chorale musicals. Though his busy schedule makes it difficult to regularly commit to the rehearsal and performance demands of a show, he was able to appear in The Chorale’s recent production of "Billy Elliott."
“I got to serenade Barb years ago when we were in "Tomfoolery;" and a few years ago, our entire family appeared in "State Fair." I think one of my proudest moments, though, was when our son Will played FDR in The Evergreen Children’s Chorale production of "Annie," since I had played the same role myself some years earlier when The Evergreen Players had done the show.”
Tom is also an amateur astronomer; it’s an interest he’s held his entire life. “I have a bunch of telescopes at the house, and I never get tired of looking up at the skies,” he says. He’s given talks on the subject to his kids’ classes when they were in school. “I love talking about what’s up there, sharing that information.” In fact, he and Barb have hosted a number of “Star Parties,” raising money for local not-for-profits by auctioning off an evening of dinner and viewing through his telescopes.
Some years ago, they considered moving from Colorado. “We’re both from the Midwest originally; and when the kids were younger, we thought it might be nice if the kids could be closer to their grandparents. But we decided against it. We love Evergreen too much. There are just so many opportunities and activities available here.”