Thomas L. Patterson
Creator of Software Solutions - and Opportunity
Inducted in 2005
Thomas L. “Tom” Patterson is an engineer-entrepreneur whose personal success has swept Alabama’s entire technology industry along in its swell, creating hundreds of jobs in our state and substantial wealth for many of his employees. The thriving computer-systems supplier SEAKO—the first firm he launched—was started by Mr. Patterson in 1980 and attracted a Fortune 500 buyer in 1989. That same year, Mr. Patterson established TXEN Inc., a provider of technology-based programs used in the administration of health care plans. TXEN was acquired by Nichols Research Corporation of Huntsville in 1998. A charter investor in Nichols Research in 1976, Mr. Patterson became board chairman of Nichols TXEN, having earlier served as CEO of its Birmingham health care and insurance division until Nichols Research was acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation. TXEN merged with CSC Healthcare Systems and now serves many major U.S. health care companies nationwide.
In an additional venture, Mr. Patterson serves as the CEO of DAXKO Inc. He co-founded the Birmingham firm in 1998 to develop Internet-based data systems for commerce. Today, DAXKO, which uses the motto “Shared Technology,” provides Mr. Patterson a venue for developing unique, cost-effective application service provider solutions aiding not-for-profit organizations such as YMCAs and Jewish Community Centers. He views this work as “giving back,” manifesting his gratitude for a remarkable career.
More recently, combining hobby with business, Tom has acquired an interest in Shannon Yachts, builder of Satori, a 51-foot sailboat in which he completed a transatlantic crossing and return with his oldest son Peter and his wife, Carol. Mr. Patterson serves as president of Shannon Yachts of Bristol, Rhode Island.
The University of Alabama has received perhaps the lion’s share of Mr. Patterson’s earnest tribute. The Gadsden native received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from UA in 1964. He attended graduate school on a U.S. Navy program completing a master’s degree in engineering mechanics in 1967. The link between Mr. Patterson and his alma mater, however, far outreaches words on paper.
A decades-long record of volunteerism at the University was capped with two endowments in the 1990s and with a $1 million gift establishing the Tom and Carol Patterson Family Computer Center for Athletes that is being incorporated into Bryant Hall, which will house both athletes and engineering students. Renovations of Bryant Hall are underwritten by the Crimson Tradition Fund, of which Mr. Patterson is an executive committee member. The earlier endowments were to the Blackburn Institute and to the UA College of Engineering, creating chairs honoring Robert Barfield, engineering dean emeritus, and William Jordan, retired engineering mechanics professor. The Pattersons’ gift also permanently funded several engineering scholarships, acknowledging Mr. Patterson’s own experience as a scholarship student.
A charter member of the Capstone Engineering Society, Mr. Patterson’s University roles have included membership in the President’s Cabinet and Engineering Leadership Board, among many other appointments. Honors bestowed on him by the College of Engineering include Outstanding Fellow of the mechanical engineering department, Distinguished Engineering Fellow, and Outstanding Alumni Volunteer. He has long been active in community, church, and charitable efforts, especially those benefiting children and youth. He has four adult children, two daughters and two sons, and seven grandchildren.