Special achievement award winner Thomas Finn is a 1966 graduate of BHSU with a degree in physical education. He earned a master’s degree in education from BHSU in 1970.
He began his education career in South Dakota as a teacher in Geddes, moved to Las Vegas, Nev., to teach, returned to Lead as public relations manager for Homestake (1969), and then did counseling work for Lead/Deadwood Public Schools (1970-1976).
From 1976 to 1979 he served as dean of student affairs at Archbishop Shaw High School, Marrero, La. For the next 20 years (1979-1999) Finn worked for McDermott International, Inc., a multi-national offshore oil construction company, in the areas of employee relations and human resources. His responsibilities dealt with company domestic and international relations in numerous countries from South America to the Far East.
He lived, traveled and worked in Europe, Emirate countries, Africa, Indonesia, China, and Australia, to name a few. This provided him with the opportunity to study different languages and experience many different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. His job with McDermott provided him with unusual and exciting opportunities; it also provided stressful situations involving evacuating company employees when revolutions broke out, such as in Indonesia in 1998.
He received recognition from the American Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, and a special citation of excellence from McDermott International for his efforts in that evacuation. He also had the difficult task of notifying families of fatalities resulting from transportation accidents (helicopter and boat transportation) or work related injuries.
“Professional management opportunities have provided me with a wealth of life experience. The most important value of these experiences has been the ability to live, work, and absorb the culture of not only the United States, but also numerous other foreign countries and cultures,“ said Finn.