2010 Tom Talbot  Outstanding American   Portage (Large) (Small).jpgThe Hall of Outstanding Americans demonstrates wrestling’s pride in those who have used the disciplines of the sport to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities. New classes are inducted annually.

Tom Talbot never wrestled a day in his life, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a huge impact on our sport in the State of Wisconsin and beyond. Tom credits his college buddies at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) for introducing him to wrestling in 1970, and he has been an avid fan and supporter ever since.
An Iowa native, Tom was born and raised in Centerville, where he played football for Centerville High School for four years, lettering in two. Centerville started its wrestling program the year after Tom graduated so he never had the opportunity to participate. Yet, throughout his adult life, Tom has worked tirelessly and joyfully to create opportunities for wrestlers at all levels, while also building several businesses.
Tom honed his natural leadership abilities via lumber company “apprenticeships” and in college, where he served as Indian Hills Community College student body president before transferring to UNI to double-major in marketing and business. In 1971, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to broker softwood lumber for a business mentor. Tom started his own lumber manufacturing company in 1979. Headquartered in Montello, Wisconsin, with plants and distribution centers in four states, Glen Oak Lumber & Milling, Inc. and its subsidiaries currently produce a diversified range of hardwood products – from boards to bio-fuels. As the company’s founder and CEO, Tom has been recognized as a finalist for Wisconsin Entrepreneur of the Year. Tom’s successful business endeavors provided him with the flexibility to attend numerous collegiate and world team competitions annually. He became a student of the sport, believing the lessons learned about positioning and competitive posturing in wrestling could be applied to business. One of his favorite sayings, “Position, position, position,” came from his good friend, Olympian Dave Schultz. Much more than a spectator, Tom has helped support and advance the wrestling community in numerous ways:
He served on the Portage High School Wrestling Club Board of Directors and donated materials and installation of a state-of-the-art floor system for the school’s wrestling room.
At the University of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Weigh-In Club also benefitted from Tom’s leadership and generosity. An active booster for 35 years, Tom served as president of the organization for three separate terms. Despite the fiscal challenges facing the UW Athletic Department at time, Tom enthusiastically guided and grew the organization to provide many freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers with opportunities to excel nationally and internationally. In the 1990s, when the UW needed a new wrestling facility, Tom led the fundraising campaign and organized a volunteer staffed demolition and reconstruction of the UW wrestling room In 2007, when the facility went through another update, one of Tom’s companies outfitted the Badgers’ locker room with custom-made materials. Tom’s ability to unite and energize people for a common cause is one of many reasons the UW wrestling facility is named the “Talbot Wrestling Complex.”
Nationally, Tom serves on the Executive Committee of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Board of Governors. His care and concern for all sports is exemplified by his service on the UW Athletic Advisory Council and the fact that he brought Steve Forbes to the 2003 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Madison to meet with wrestling leaders to discuss Title IX legislation and its impact on Olympic sports. Tom has also been a generous financial contributor to USA Wrestling and to various wrestling clubs that develop and benefit World Team-caliber wrestlers. Overall, Tom has impacted multiple generations of wrestlers and has enjoyed good wrestling friendships that have spanned decades.
When he’s not busy promoting wrestling, Tom is promoting his other long-time interest: politics. He has even found ways to combine the two passions, having “coached” Jimmy Jordan, one of Wisconsin’s two time NCAA wrestling champions, in his successful quest to become a US Congressman. Tom and his wife Jane are 20 year charter members of GOPAC in Washington D.C. for which Tom is Chairman of the Board.
Tom and Jane live in Marco Island, Florida, and in Portage, Wisconsin, where they raised their three children, Tanya (Lance), Tara (Russ) and Hub (Trish).