Alumnus of the Year Award

WernerThomas H. Werner, Eng ’86
Los Altos, Calif.

Tom started his educational and career path with high aspirations and specific goals – the type of dreams and opportunities he now hopes to empower for others. He recognizes how fortunate he has been to receive the education and achieve the professional success that has shaped his life, and he’s made it a personal mission to enable the same experiences for future generations of Marquette students.

Tom's path to success began to unfold when he was hired into a management development program directly out of college. At the same time, he came to Marquette to pursue a second bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. His participation in both programs solidified his goals and prepared him for the career and philanthropic leadership roles he would hold in the years to come.

Tom credits Marquette for accelerating his success by shaping his work ethic, ability to set priorities, and relentless quest for excellence. "Marquette taught me the importance to be in service of others," says Tom. "It gave me a much stronger moral compass."

That moral compass has guided Tom's personal and professional pursuits. He dedicated his career to building great companies that have the potential to make a positive impact on the world, while personally building a commitment to philanthropy that embodies cura personalis, or caring for the whole person.

Just as transformative is Werner’s passion for philanthropy that empowers others to achieve their potential, as embodied in his significant leadership gifts, with his wife, Suzanne, to endow scholarships for first-generation Marquette students, establish a faculty chair in sustainability (within the OPUS College of Engineering), and support the award-winning RISE pre-orientation program for multicultural and underrepresented students.

Tom’s desire to create greater opportunities for the next generation was inspired by gratitude. In his experience, college was expected and even a given, but he recognizes this isn’t true for many young people. As a Trustee of Marquette, he feels deeply responsible to give back and open doors for future students. “We are proud that more first-generation and minority students now have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the world by attending a great institution with tremendous leadership and a strong mission,” he says.

This sense of empowering others also guided Tom’s leadership style at SunPower, a California-headquartered solar technology company he joined in 2003 and helped grow into a world leader in solar efficiency and sustainable manufacturing processes, with more than 7,000 global employees He served as CEO and a member of the board of directors there until 2021. He is currently the chairman of the board for H2U, a company developing technologies to aid clean energy production, and FLO (previously known as AddÉnergie), an EV charging network operator.

Through his professional and philanthropic efforts, he continues to live the Marquette mission of excellence, faith, leadership, and service. He is active in his church, participating as a lector and serving on the parish finance council. He also remains hyper-focused on developing future leaders and plays the role of mentor to rising executives at several companies.

In addition to serving on the Marquette Board of Trustees and the Time to Rise Campaign Executive Committee, Tom sits on the UW Madison Engineering Advisory Board and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group board.

"I am humbled to be included with so many other great people who were awarded the Alumnus of the Year Award previously," says Tom. "It inspires me to be in more service to others, including new Marquette students, to help them reach their full potential."

  • Tom has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including international triathlons, a half Ironman, and four full Ironman races.
  • If Tom could have dinner with any celebrity (past or present), he'd choose former Marquette head basketball coach, Al McGuire.

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