Notable Veteran Executives: Tom Pettit

Class of 2022

  • Category: Notable Veteran Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 20
  • Undergrad degree/university: West Point United States Military Academy, New York. BS - Economics major, Engineering minor
  • Graduate degree/university: MBA, University of Hawaii, Concentration in Finance and International Business

Served four years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tom Pettit, the new chief operations and supply chain officer at Pewaukee-based Xylem Inc., has made supporting veterans a regular part of his career.

A 1991 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Pettit served four years in the Army Corps of Engineers, reaching the rank of Captain.

As the chief executive officer of a military construction engineering company, he served as chief operating officer of an organization of about 140 employees. Pettit supervised three junior managers in construction and overseas projects, and a maintenance staff of 25 responsible for 80 construction vehicles. He managed operating budget and directed teams coordinating the organization’s logistics, operations planning, training and wireless communications. 

He also served as a construction platoon Leader, leading a road construction organization of more than 30 people and more than 40 pieces of heavy engineer equipment.

Before coming to Xylem, Pettit was the chief operations officer and executive vice president at Town of Genesee-based Generac Power Systems. While at Generac, he helped develop the company’s first business employee resource group for military employees and families.

Colleagues say that Pettit ensured that veterans played a large role in community engagement, which has resulted in Generac’s position as a sponsor of Military Appreciation Day at Summerfest, inclusion of veterans’ organizations in corporate giving and special projects, such as a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to provide home improvements to the James A. Peterson Veteran Village, led by the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin. Beyond community involvement, Pettit is credited with helping make Generac a place for veterans to grow their careers and connect with and support one another.

Outside of work, Pettit continues his advocacy for veterans’ needs, mentoring officers who are transitioning from military to civilian careers as well as high school students considering entering the military. 

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