Christopher S. Thomas '84
2019 Recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
When Chris Thomas graduated from Carroll in 1984, the concept of networking personal computers (PCs) was new and the ideas of logging into the Internet and world wide web were virtually unknown. Interestingly, the ITU estimated that 3.9 billion people will be using the Internet by the end of 2018. Thomas’ career parallels this growth with each successive billion having different challenges including inventing technology, establishing infrastructure, standardizing ecosystems and engaging business and governments to realize the economic value of technology deployment.
Considered a visionary in the technology industry, Thomas worked for the Intel Corporation for more than 25 years as the company grew from $1 billion to over $50 billion in revenue. During his time at Intel, he became well known for driving industry standardization and next generation solutions. He pioneered new techniques for ecosystem and industry engagements that helped sustain Intel’s rapid growth and set the stage for his Industry Development business.
The 1st Billion – Connecting PCs to Networks
Thomas joined Intel Corporation in 1988, after working for a startup networking PCs to mainframes. At Intel, his focus was on networking and standardizing computers. In his positions, he developed products for early corporate intranets, founded the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF), influenced the Fast Ethernet Alliance and was the architect of core technologies behind the successful LANDeskTM Management Suite. In 1996, Thomas was recognized with an Intel Achievement Award – Intel’s highest employee honor – for his role in positioning Intel as a leader in PC Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Manageability by driving industry-wide improvements in the setup and management of PCs.
In 1997, after transitioning to Intel’s new server group, he was credited with achieving “peace with honor” with Microsoft by negotiating the combining of two competing server specifications into a co- authored Hardware Design Guide for Windows NT Server 1.0 which led to acceptance by top server manufacturers.
The 2nd Billion – Moving Business Online “eBusiness”
With most PCs now connecting to the world wide web, Thomas turned his focus to extending Intel’s relevance in enterprise business computing. He co-founded Intel’s Distributed Enterprise Architecture Lab to prove out and engage companies in the early deployment of eBusiness solutions and established an Industry Strategic Marketing team to encourage broad eBusiness solution adoption, leading to his tenure as Intel’s Chief Strategist for solutions and market development.
In 2002, Thomas proactively identified and engaged the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in the redesign of the Grants.gov eGovernment initiative, saving billions for taxpayers annually.
In 2004, Thomas was recognized with an additional Intel Achievement Award for establishing the Mobilized Software Initiative which engaged companies to retool their software in order to seamlessly work with WiFi hot spots prior to large scale roll outs of laptops with WiFi.
That same year, he also received recognition for leading an engagement with Charles Schwab where his team succeeded in optimizing some of Schwab’s problematic systems and prototyping clusters of Intel- Based servers on Linux. This led to cost saving programs that migrated financial service industry data centers to Intel-based servers at Schwab, then NASDAQ and many others.
In 2005, he worked with Intel’s Israel Design Center to extrapolate how future software computing models might impact microprocessor architectures. The resulting predictive planning process helped design engineers incorporate the anticipated workloads into future microprocessor requirements.
The 3rd Billion – Bridging the “Digital Divide”
With Intel achieving well above 80% market share in PC and server markets, Intel sought to find ways to expand computer usage in emerging markets creating the World Ahead group.
In 2007, Thomas joined World Ahead, alongside VP John Davies, to become the group’s Chief Strategist and Director of Architecture. In that role, he managed a worldwide team of solutions architects tasked with overcoming third-world problems like poor infrastructure and country specific challenges in support of solutions for education, tele-centers, and healthcare. He also became active in World Economic Forum IT, cloud computing, Internet security and broadband activities.
In 2008, Thomas worked with NetHope and Catholic Relief Services to architect a digital cassava disease tracking and farmer training system that helped stave off financial crisis and food shortages for approximately 40 million people in six African countries.
In 2010, Thomas engaged with the USTTI, a government-sponsored effort to train people from emerging countries. A resulting data center, created at Lake Victoria Fisheries, was the catalyst for the European Union funding 6 state-of-the-art fish processing facilities in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, improving the efficiency, sanitation and quality of Nile perch exports to Europe.
Officially retiring from Intel in 2014, Thomas continues to focus at the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds. He co-founded The Stonington Group with his friend and Carroll Alum Rob Lampereur '85. As pioneers of Industry Development, they help companies identify the actions needed to create and engage new markets, industries, and ecosystems.
Thomas is on the Board of Directors of Agilix Labs Inc., developing online and mobile learning environments and is also co-author of the book Mashup Corporations. He is active in his local community, especially when it involves his children Shen and Jaime, including scouting, coaching, theater and helping create an after-school computing club.
Thomas graduated from Carroll in 1984 with degrees in Computer Science and Spanish. He maintains strong ties and annual traditions with other Delta Rho Upsilon alumni. His older brother Steve also attended Carroll, graduating in 1980. He credits his Carroll liberal arts education with helping him navigate the complexities of the engineering, marketing, sales and development roles that his career encompassed.