Thomas B. Gentz
“I just want to do what’s right for the town” are the words constituents have heard Tom Gentz say often in the past four years. Tom contends that to be successful, leaders need to get all the facts, listen to all the voices, build consensus, and explain both the decision and the process. A number of long-term residents have suggested the Town of Charlestown has been managed better during the past four years than in decades. The Town of Charlestown depends upon volunteering professionals to keep town government small, while delivering low cost results to Charlestown taxpayers. Many talented people decide to settle in Charlestown for its high quality of life — the town’s rural and historic character, open spaces, beaches, and schools. We need these people to volunteer. Tom creates an atmosphere in which diverse opinions, expressed with civility, are valued and appreciated.
In the past four years, Tom has focused both on Charlestown’s need for affordable housing and the rural community’s need for affordable housing regulations that differ from those in the cities. He has facilitated affordable housing projects at ChurchWoods on Route 1A, Carolina’s Edwards Lane, and Shannock Village. The ChurchWoods project was just funded in 2014 by a HUD Sandy Disaster Relief grant. He worked with the state legislature to convene a commission to study the special needs of the rural communities and reasonably hopes that commission will see to completion in the next session the tasks begun in 2014. Tom is a proponent of careful budgeting so that each expense and dollar will be justified to taxpayers prior to spending and tax increases. He sees the time and effort spent as Treasurer of the Washington County Regional Planning Council (WCRPC) as a contribution to a collaboration in which the towns share the expertise of those with special skills. WCRPC’s project to allow Cities and Towns in Rhode Island to purchase their streetlights will save $8 million per year.
Additionally, Tom values open and transparent government as the key to moving the town forward when difficult decisions are needed. To do what’s right for the town, Tom listens to all residents, not just personal friends, hears their concerns, and incorporates feedback from diverse sources into his decisions.
Thomas B. Gentz – Town Council
Tom has deep roots in Charlestown. His wife’s family has lived here for generations, and they were married in Carolina over forty years ago. After a corporate career that took Tom to Chicago, Washington DC, and Boston, they returned to Charlestown full time in 2000. Tom brings a unique combination of business savvy and an appreciation of skilled labor to the Town Council. Tom works with his head, heart, and hands. Tom is not afraid of tackling tough problems and vows to work with staff and volunteers on all levels of government to get the job done for the Town of Charlestown. As a former sales and marketing executive, Tom listens carefully and creates products based on need and available resources. His creativity, intelligence, and big heart will continue to drive the Town of Charlestown to the next level of financial stability with opportunities for small business, an increased tax base, and controlled growth. Tom says, “My “can-do” spirit and dedication to the Town will provide thoughtful leadership to the taxpayers of Charlestown.“
- Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts
- Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Hobart College, Geneva, New York
- Adjunct Associate Professor of Marketing at The New England Institute of Art, Boston, MA (1997 to 2011)
- Director, Product Marketing, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
- Vice President of Sales of an Internet design company that sold to Fortune 500 companies
- Sales Leader at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts responsible for 140 sales representatives and sales managers, $1.2 billion in annual sales
- Assistant Vice President, Marketing, CIGNA Health Care, started 27 HMO’s across the US
- Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Central Massachusetts Health Care
- Vice President, Sales, US Healthcare, started HMO’s in Chicago, Dallas, Boca Raton, FL, and Washington, DC
- Sales Manager, Control Data Business Centers
- U.S. Naval Reserve, Boston, 1968 -1970 (Vietnam era veteran)
Town Council Accomplishments
- Negotiated all four Charlestown three year Collective Bargaining Agreements in 2012
- Hired Police Chief Jeff Allen
- Hired Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz
- As Treasurer of Washington County Regional Planning Council (WCRPC), collaborated with the executive director to draft a 2014 agreement that potentially saved Rhode Island Cities and Towns $8 million through the purchase of streetlights from National Grid
- Successfully lobbied to convene the Rhode Island Legislature Affordable Housing Study Commission
- Purchased Charlestown Moraine Preserve open space on Route 1
- Doggedly pursued the funding of ChurchWoods Senior Affordable Housing Project for $5.9 million that was funded in 2014 by a HUD Sandy Disaster Relief Grant
- President, Charlestown Town Council (2010-present)
- Town Council liaison to Affordable Housing, Mosquito Abatement, and Planning Commissions
- Charlestown Member and Treasurer, Washington County Regional Planning Council
- Member of the Rhode Island Legislature Affordable Housing Study Commission
- Member of the Charlestown Emergency Management team during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy and the individual who contributed the highest number of hours next to the Director
- Member, Charlestown Charter Revision Advisory Committee (2008-2010)
- Member, Charlestown Police Chief and Town Administrator Search Committees
- Member of CCA Steering Committee and Secretary of CCA (2008 – 2010)
- Former Board Member of the Quonochontaug East Beach Association and Road Committee Chair (2006 to 2010)
- Former Board Member Worcester Fights Back (1989 – 1996) a not-for-profit with goal of reducing the demand for alcohol and drugs. Served as Chair and Vice Chair (1992 – 1996), Trustee, Executive Committee, Contribution Committee CO-Chair and Chair of the Long Term Strategic Committee. Grants totaled $5 million over five years. On the Reimbursement Task Force, formulated a nationally recognized experiment linking treatment of drug or alcohol abuse on the stages of readiness to change of a client.
- Boy Scouts of America, Roundtable Representative, Annual Fund Co-Chair, Scoutmaster, and Eagle Scout. Led troops in South Boston, MA, Evanston, IL and Northborough, M
- Tom’s wife Mary Lou retired as the Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Washington County in March 2012. Tom and Mary Lou have two adult children: Bill, who is an Associate Director of Finance at the University of California San Diego, and Maggie, a Post Doc in BioChemistry and Structural Biology at the University of Queensland in Australia; and three grand children.
- Tom built his home in Charlestown over a four year period from 1988 to 1992. The frame was erected by professionals but Tom served as the general contractor and wired the home, insulated, painted the interior, installed the doors and trim. To conserve natural resources, Tom installed solar hot water heating on his roof in 1992.
- Tom is skilled at mechanical and automotive projects and has restored a 1966 Porsche 911 coupe that was recently featured on the cover of Hemming’s Sports and Exotic magazine.
- Recent President of TYP356ne, a car club honoring and driving the first Porsches, the 356 (2009-2010)
- Tom fully supports the CCA Platform for the 2014 election