Florida Institute of Technology’s Jim Thomas to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award
By Adam Lowenstein, FIT News Bureau // October 19, 2017
Thomas member of university’s Board of Trustees
Member of the Class of 1972 Will Be Honored at Nov. 4 Gala
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — Jim Thomas, a business executive whose vision helped lead MapQuest through its Initial Public Offering amid a career filled with successful product and market launches and the building of successful strategic relationships, will receive Florida Institute of Technology’s Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award at the university’s Homecoming Gala Nov. 4.
Thomas graduated from Florida Tech in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. By that time, he had more than made his mark on his alma mater: he was a vice president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, played on the baseball team, was a member of the InterFraternity Council and, as student government president, launched the university’s first homecoming weekend activities.
His dedication to Florida Tech did not end with graduation. In 2005, Thomas was named to the university’s Board of Trustees. Over his nearly decade-long tenure on the board he served as secretary and vice chairman, helping guide Florida Tech through an important period of growth and development.
“We are so proud of the alumnus and friend that Jim is to Florida Tech,” said university President Dwayne McCay. “He is a stellar example among the ranks of our alumni.”
Imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit he said was in Florida Tech’s DNA and equipped with a keen eye for the next big thing, Thomas led early-stage and growth companies reaching across the globe, serving as chief operations officer, chief financial officer and division president at a host of successful operations.
He is known for his creative and pragmatic leadership in technology-related public and private companies, including venture capital-backed companies in electronic entertainment and internet segments of the software industry.
He has extensive experience in financing and mergers and acquisitions with both large and small businesses and was a pioneer in the software-as-a-service business model. He has been a member of boards of directors of both public and private companies and non-profit organizations.
Thomas is currently the vice president of corporate development of Rivian Automotive, an automotive technology company that is developing a portfolio of aspirational electric vehicles, and is a member of the board of directors of Modus Operandi, a high-tech software company providing information-based intelligence solutions.
The Melbourne resident has been recognized with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Pennsylvania, Technology Council of Pennsylvania Technology Champion Award, Congressional Medal of Merit for Lifetime Achievement in Technology and the Pi Kappa Alpha Order of the West Range for outstanding alumni.
He can now add Florida Tech’s highest alumni honor to his awards collection. Named after the university’s founder, the Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus whose career accomplishments honor the university’s legacy of excellence.
It celebrates those Florida Tech graduates who have gained their unique distinction through successes in their professions, service to the university and contribution to their communities.
Thomas joins previous Distinguished Alumni Award winners, including Major League Baseball pitcher Tim Wakefield, astronaut Sunita Williams, Ann Dunwoody, the Army’s first female four-star general, retired Ford Motor Co. executive Robert Phebus Jr., attorney Dale Dettmer and Carmax President and CEO Thomas Folliard.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award and other alumni honors. The Homecoming Gala is from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Clemente Center on Florida Tech’s Melbourne campus and features a cocktail reception, dinner, awards and then live music and dancing.
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