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Distinguished Alumni: Thomas Eaton III '92

Exterior photo of Firestone Hall at dusk

The intellectual curiosity cultivated at Old Trail School propelled Tom Eaton III into a career that took him around the globe. Now that he’s back in Akron, Tom is thrilled to give his daughter, Anna ’28, the same education that played such a formative role in his life.

Tom is serving his first year as Old Trail's board president, continuing a family legacy that began a century ago. Tom’s great grandfather was Dr. William A. Parks, one of the founding fathers of Old Trail, and many of Tom’s ancestors attended the school. While Dr. Parks helped begin OTS 100 years ago, Tom is helping shape the next 100 years.

Tom attended Old Trail for K-8 and graduated from Walsh Jesuit. The well-rounded education offered at OTS broadened Tom’s perspective and planted in him a hunger for and curiosity about the world. After earning his bachelor's degree from Mount Union, he worked for Goodyear for 18 years, spending half of that time as an expat in Paris, Brussels and Johannesburg. Tom met his wife, Courtney, and Anna was born while they were living in Brussels. After his assignment in Johannesburg ended, Tom joined his wife and daughter back in Akron.

Upon returning, Tom purchased his father-in-law’s company, Rafter Equipment Corporation. Entrepreneurship provides the kind of flexibility and challenge Tom wants at this point in his career. The seeds of those aspirations likely were planted during his years at OTS.

Old Trail offers a customized educational experience—you are able to make it what you want to make it; they’ll guide you wherever you want to go.

Tom has since acquired a second manufacturing company in Akron and is a partner with Lock 15 Brewing Company.

Tom dreamed of sending Anna to Old Trail; now that they’re back in Akron, he could make that dream reality. “It’s surreal to see [Anna] walk the same halls. It even smells the same!” laughs Tom. “Some of the teachers I had are still teaching at Old Trail. Watching Anna learn how to swim from the same teacher that I learned how to swim from is really something.”

Two educators in particular made an impact on Tom at OTS. Former Head of School Peter Wilson “made you feel like he knew you and that you were a part of the fabric.” Mike Duff, the director of the Middle School, “was tough, but it always felt like he was doing what was best for you.”

“What would my great grandfather say if he could see what was happening today? I think he’d be really amazed,” says Tom. “We are all standing on the shoulders of giants, and we want to move forward in a meaningful way. I’m excited to take on that challenge.”