President & CEO (retired), WorldPAC – Newark, CA
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Thomas O’Hare’s first job was selling hot dogs, soda and ice cream in the center field bleachers of Fenway Park. Like many kids growing up in the late 1940’s and 50’s, he juggled several jobs such as cutting grass, caddying, serving as a soda jerk in a drug store, delivering newspapers, and more. “Each one was an opportunity to learn, but I must confess at the time I did not realize how fortunate I was for those experiences,” he reminisced.
But fortune smiled, O’Hare said, when he was able to attend and graduate from Boston College and then join the Marine Corp as a ‘wet behind the ears 2nd lieutenant.’ “I never would have made it without the help of a rough and tumble, take no prisoners Master Gunny,” he smiled. “Without his guidance, only the shadow knows my fate.”
After serving in the armed forces, O’Hare attended Tufts University, earning his Master’s degree in economics and subsequently interned at the Federal Reserve in Boston before starting his own business. “I failed and learned a lot before receiving the call that changed my life and led me to the Ford Motor Company,” he said. “There, I learned a great deal while dedicating 17 years to various sales and marketing positions as I travelled throughout the country,” he said.
Tired of the constant relocations, O’Hare then left Ford to become the President and CEO of Butler Auto Group, a major automotive conglomerate consisting of a vehicle distributorship, port operation, and trucking and finance companies located in the metro New York area.” After spending 12 years with the company I wanted more and needed a challenge,” said O’Hare. “And boy did I get one.”
In January, 1995 the automotive aftermarket trailblazer signed on to become the president and CEO of an auto parts company with the goal of integrating two other companies. Successful with this merger, the group was ultimately named WORLDPAC. Encouraged with the prospect of additional growth, O’Hare then successfully merged two additional companies to become part of the group on January 1st, 2000. We were thankful that the Y2K merger was also successful, as WORLDPAC grew substantially over the ensuing years,” said O’Hare of the company which was recognized as one of the Top 10 Best San Francisco Bay Area companies to work in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
But as their entrepreneurial success skyrocketed, O’Hare and his wife Carole faced an unbelievable heartache which eventually furthered their philanthropic endeavors.
“Carole’s mom was a victim of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, as she was a passenger on United Flight 93 when it crashed into an abandoned strip mine located in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,” said O’Hare. “We knew we had to assist the families of the victims and wanted to help create a place for healing that would also serve to educate future generations about how the actions of a few people can effect generations. That’s why we established the Hilda Marcin Flight 93 Charitable Fund with the purpose of carrying on her love of helping disabled children and training companion animals,” he shared.
A ‘dye in the wool’ Red Sox fan, O’Hare was elected to the Automotive International Association (AIA) Hall of Fame in 2007 and is a current member of the WORLDPAC and General Parts International Boards.
*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.