The Road to Palm Springs
Thomas J. Deierlein
Intensity, perseverance and competition are bread and butter to Thomas Deierlein, CEO of ThunderCat Technology. Tom is a retired U.S. Army Airborne Ranger disabled in combat in Baghdad in 2006. Although doctors said he would never walk again, Tom has since completed the Army 10-miler and two triathlons.
It was during his long rehabilitation that Tom started ThunderCat Technology, a systems integrator selling technology products for data centers. A serial entrepreneur, Tom knows a great opportunity when he sees it. And when the owners of Knight Point Systems (another Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business) approached Tom with an offer to sell him the products portion of their business in order to concentrate on services, he jumped at the chance.
Tom named the company after his call sign in Baghdad, and he threw himself into making the company a success. To get there, he needed the most talented sales force available. But in order to attract them to an unknown company that shared its name with a cartoon, he needed an innovative business model. Similar to a franchise, Tom hired only the best people in the field, then gave them access to blue-chip products, provided all the back-end services and contract vehicles, and paid them a significant percentage of the margin on any deals they closed.
As usual, Tom has succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations — except his own. His retention rate is 96% — a testament to the family environment Tom fosters. And last year, Forbes named ThunderCat Technology one of “America’s Most Promising Companies.”
Tom is also dedicated to giving back, particularly to veterans’ causes. Among many other initiatives, he is a certified mentor in the Wounded Warrior program and the USSOCOM Care Coalition, and he co founded the TD Foundation to assist Iraqi and Afghani children.