Tom Gehring was born in Cologne, Germany in 1953, and lived in Germany and France until he came to the United States in 1960. He lived in New Delhi, India for two years in the mid-60s. In 1975, he graduated from Rice University with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics. After earning his Masters in Electrical Engineering, he was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy in 1976.
Following two years of intense training, he served at-sea for 18 years on four nuclear-powered attack submarines, two afloat staffs, and a large surface ship.
As Chief Operating Officer (COO) equivalent of a submarine repair ship – a very large afloat industrial facility – Tom was responsible for systemic quality and strategic improvements on the flagship for the Navy’s Total Quality Leadership program. He created and starred in a Navy-wide 30 minute video on how to lead quality and performance improvement in a shipboard environment.
In the final tour of a 22-year Navy career, he was in charge of the Pacific Fleet’s Quality Improvement Team, teaching and motivating process improvement throughout the Pacific.
After retiring from active duty in 1998, he joined Booz∙Allen∙Hamilton as a senior strategic consultant, working at the boardroom level with a number of high technology military organizations.
In 2000 and 2001, he was the pro bono lead consultant for the California Medical Association’s
Re-engineering Task Force, a two-year project that produced revolutionary changes at one of the largest state medical associations in the United States.
From 2001 until his retirement in 2015, he excelled as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS), representing the 7500+ physicians in the 8th largest city in the US. Under his leadership, SDCMS was widely recognized as one of the most innovative and successful medical societies in the United States. Physician membership, the critical measure of organizational health, grew from 1920 members to 2980, where SDCMS became largest county medical society in California. He was deeply involved in health care policy and legislation at the county, state and federal level.
Concurrently, he served as CEO of SDCMS’ 501.c.3 Foundation, which brought in more than $3 million in grants and whose flagship program, Project Access San Diego, engineered the delivery of over $11 million in free care by local physicians to San Diegans without health insurance.
He was chair of his statewide professional association, the California Medical Executive Committee, for two years.
Tom served for two years as Chairman of the Board for the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross.
He teaches intensive one and two-day Socratic seminars on practical and actionable leadership for healthcare professionals, “The Leader’s Toolkit.”
Tom is the Co-Director of the University of California at San Diego’s (UCSD) Health Leadership Academy, a year-around top level seminar for health care leaders.
As interim Executive Director, he started up a not-for-profit, DestinationCare San Diego, designed to bring medical tourism to San Diego.
He frequently consults with non-profit boards, using his experience as both a successful non-profit CEO and an experienced major non-profit board chair, to facilitate strategic progress.
Tom is a proud member of San Diego’s Downtown Rotary Club, where he has chaired the “Rotarians at Work” committee.
Tom is fluent in German and French. He lives in Point Loma with his wife of 34 years, Catherine D. Moore, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice. Their son Ted is a sophomore at Dartmouth College.