Tom Strange of Easley is vice chair. He was appointed to the Commission in April 2017.
Until his retirement, Strange worked for 23 years for Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) in Liberty. As senior director of research and development, he introduced many new technologies that continue to define state of the art in implantable medical devices for both pacing and arrhythmia correction.
He has an extensive background in materials science and is the author of 53 patents and numerous papers over the last three decades, covering all aspects of power component development.
He represented Pickens County on the Tri-County Technical College Commission from 2011 to 2014. He served on the Foundation Board of Tri-County Technical College from 2014 to 2017.
His honors and achievements include receiving the 1998 St. Jude Medical Hendrickson Award for his work on development of flat capacitors, the highest honor for St. Jude; and has been inducted into the Abbott Volwiler Society as a Research Fellow, the highest honor for Abbott scientists.
In 2002 he was appointed Economic Ambassador for Pickens County by Governor Jim Hodges. He received the St. Jude Medical Patent Hall of Fame award in 2005, the University of SC Distinguished Alumni in 2007, and the Dr. Charles Towns Individual Achievement Award in 2009.
After receiving his undergraduate degree and completing graduate studies in physics at the University of South Carolina, he joined Philips Components as a member of the research staff. During his 15 years with Philips Components in Columbia, South Carolina, and two years with Aerovox, Inc., in Huntsville Alabama, he participated in or led the research activity involving the development of electrochemical and AC film capacitors. He was a member of a small team of entrepreneurs who, from 1994 to 1996, developed and produced the pioneering flat medical grade electrolytic capacitor that made thoracic implantable cardioverter defibrillators possible.
Strange serves on the board of directors for the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Music Museum, Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County (MCPC), and was a founding member of the S.C. Biotechnology Industry Organization (2008-2016).
He and his wife, Debra, have a son, Derek.