- LTG Thomas P. Bostick (89-90) – 2015 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award
John W. Gardner challenged all White House Fellows to commit to a lifetime of public service: to return to their communities after their Fellowship year and become agents of change and renewal, and to work to strengthen the White House Fellows Program. LTG Tom Bostick has met that challenge. By any measure, Tom has lived all the values of the White House Fellows program. His life is one of great personal and professional achievement, leadership, and selfless service to community and country.
Personal Background: Tom was, as he says, “in the military all my life.” Born in Japan to an American army sergeant father and a Japanese mother, Tom and his parents and four siblings moved all around the world in service of the U.S. military. Though times were hard, Tom says the children never knew adversity because their parents single-mindedly taught them love, teamwork, aspiration, and the importance of education. Tom went on to West Point, where he played 150-pound football and later was a member of the All-Army Powerlifting Team. He later earned masters degrees in both Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.
Leadership, Achievements and Dedication to Public Service: Since 2012, Tom has served as the 53rd U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In this role, Tom was one of the most important and visible national leaders responsible for responding to the Mississippi River floods and Hurricane Sandy. The Honorable Leon Panetta, who served as U.S. Secretary of Defense at that time, credits Tom and his colleagues for the fact that the nation’s responses to these disasters “did not mirror the earlier failures of Hurricane Katrina.” Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey praised Tom’s “personal commitment” to help the state recover and rebuild, and his “ability to manage a complex organization during a highly complex situation.” And Deputy Energy Secretary (and former White House Fellow) Daniel Poneman said, “Though I had known Tom for a quarter of a century by then, I still could not believe how quickly, quietly, calmly and efficiently he operated. His people seemed to be everywhere: installing generators at hospitals and senior citizen homes; engineering solutions to the flooded subway tunnels in Manhattan; assessing the damage to the shipping channels serving the oil terminals along the New York Harbor…. Tom Bostick was integral to getting the Eastern United States up and running in a systematic manner.”
In a prior role, Tom led U.S. Army Recruiting Command overseeing record-setting growth in the number and quality of recruits. One of his techniques was simple but brilliant: instead of making each of four recruiters responsible for two soldiers per month, he made the four-person team jointly responsible for recruiting eight soldiers per month. The teamwork was transformational. Tom’s innovation is said to have helped to save the all-volunteer Army, defying predictions that the Army would need to reinstitute selective service draft to meet its personnel needs.
Throughout his career, Tom has given back. He has mentored dozens of younger soldiers, and helped adapt policies to expand opportunities for women, gays, and religious minorities in the military. And he has never forgotten his parents’ emphasis on education. Married for 34 years to Renee Bostick, an elementary school principal, Tom taught engineering at West Point and through the years has presented to K-12 classrooms in the United States and overseas– embodying his fervent belief that the most important institutions of sustained democracy are the U.S. military and public education.
Support of the White House Fellows Program: Tom has also been an active alumnus of the White House Fellows program, serving on Regional Panels, recruiting candidates, mentoring current Fellows, reading applications, speaking at the annual Leadership Conference, and giving financial support.
Tom Bostick has dedicated his life to public service and giving back to his community. His quiet confidence and competence have helped restore ravaged communities and boost soldiers and citizens alike. He is a public servant of the highest order, and the White House Fellows Foundation and Association is proud to present him with the 2015 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award.posted: September 16, 2015