Tom Stewart is a native of Ohio, having spent most of his life in the state. He attended high school in Columbus, at The Upper Arlington High School. Following graduation, he attended Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine. Following graduation from Bridgeton, he attended Middle Georgia Junior College in Cochran, Georgia before returning to Columbus and The Ohio State University as a sophomore. He graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Communications and Education in 1972.
Following graduation, he became a Field Account Executive for J. Scott Corporation in Columbus. J. Scott was the advertising agency that handled McDonald’s Restaurants in Ohio. Tom quickly rose within the organization and became Director of Client Services in 1974.
His long term goal of becoming involved in the business of broadcasting was achieved when he was offered a position as a Local Account Executive for WBNS Radio in Columbus in 1976. Now known as “97.1/1460//The Fan”, Tom worked for the station for about nine months. At that point, sister station WBNS-Television offered him a position as a Local Account Executive and Tom accepted that position in the spring of 1977. He served in that capacity for about two years and then was recruited back to the radio station as General Sales Manager for WBNS AM and FM in 1979. Tom served as General Sales Manager for three years and was then named General Manager of WBNS Radio in 1982. At the time he was the youngest major market radio station general manager in the United States. Shortly after his appointment, he was elected Vice President of WBNS Radio and was also elected to the Board of Directors of the Company. During his tenure as the radio station manager, Tom successfully won the rights to be the exclusive radio voice of The Ohio State Buckeye Athletic Department and the station’s coverage of Ohio State Football and Basketball became a staple of the station.
In 1992 he was named General Manager of WBNS-TV and shortly thereafter was elected as Vice President of WBNS-TV and was elected to the station Board of Directors. During his tenure at WBNS Television, Tom returned the station to dominance in community presence, gross advertising revenues and audience programming ratings. Under his leadership, the station, which for several years had been producing declining metrics in most areas, set new and all time high records in both revenue and audience share. In February of 1994, the station was recognized as being the number one station in audience share points for late news programming among all CBS Affiliates in the Top Fifty Markets in the United States. The station was ranked second in share points for the entire broadcast day with only heritage station WWL-TV in New Orleans achieving a higher rating. Tom was quick to credit his peers and colleagues at the time with the impressive turn around at the station, but it was his leadership and his orchestrated management team changes that empowered the station to achieve its full potential. Tom served as a senior executive of WBNS until his retirement from the company in December, 2001, after just over twenty five years of service.
Following his second long term goal to teach, he became a Lecturer in the Human and Community Resource Development Department of The Ohio State University, his alma mater. Now in his tenth year of teaching, Tom is enjoying working with students at Ohio State teaching communication courses such as Public Speaking and Public Relations. He has been awarded the Price Teaching Award for his classroom efforts.
In 1993, Tom was elected to the Board of Directors of The Grange Mutual Insurance Company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Grange is a regional P/C Insurer with a Life Company Affiliate. The company is a billion dollar organization and is licensed to sell and market insurance products in eleven states, primarily in the Mid-West. He has held leadership positions on the Board by serving on the Executive Committee, Chairman of the Compensation/HR Committee, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, the Investment Committee and the Audit Committee. He has represented the Board in the Columbus Business Community as well as with the Agent Community at numerous functions and meetings. In 2002, Tom was elected to the Board of Directors of Integrity Mutual Insurance. Integrity, based in Appleton, Wisconsin, is a one hundred million dollar organization marketing P/C products primarily in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Integrity became an affiliate of Grange in 2002. Tom has served in numerous Board leadership positions in Appleton as well. He was Chairman of the Compensation/HR Committee from, 2002 until 2010. In May of 2010, Tom was elected to the position of non-Executive Chairman of the Board, a position which he still holds.
Tom has long been involved in the Columbus and Central Ohio Community having served on the Boards of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Columbus Zoo, The Ohio Association of Broadcasters, The Community Shelter Board, The Upper Arlington Education Foundation and various committees and task forces of The United Way of Franklin County. As with his private sector Board service, he has held leadership positions with many of the non-profit organizations listed above including Board Chair, Executive Committee Membership and Marketing Committee Memberships. In 1995, under his leadership as Chairman of the Board of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, the hospital embarked on its first major endowment campaign with a goal of Eighty-Five Million Dollars. The actual amount raised was One Hundred and Twenty Five Million Dollars which set a new all time high record in terms of fundraising for the hospital. Tom was credited with leading the effort but he was again quick to credit others for the success of the campaign.
Tom has been married to his wife, Pamela, for forty-one years and they have two daughters, Elizabeth S. McKitrick (Mrs. Jack S.) of Columbus, and Jane S. Irwin (Mrs. Timothy H.) of Columbus, Ohio. They also have two grandsons, Theodore H. Irwin and Samuel T. Irwin of Columbus.