Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now
Visit Campus
Download UW Viewbook
Give to UW

Systems Engineer Supports the Rodeo Team

Dr. Thomas Weber

For engineer Dr. Tom Weber, Wyoming and rodeo are symbolic of people at their very best.

Tom Weber“These people have the stuff that counts the most,” says Dr. Weber. “These are people who raise crops and cows and feed the nation, and they love it. It’s tough to create wealth here in Wyoming doing this, and it takes people of exceptional character and perseverance to devote their lives, against very long odds, for this noble purpose. Surprisingly enough, rodeo is a surrogate for life—perfect for honing their characters for the long-term challenges they’ll be facing with life on the farms and ranches.”

To him, the cowboys and cowgirls of the University of Wyoming Rodeo Team are the embodiment of a personal ideal that should never be lost to modernity— pragmatism, responsibility, freedom, hard work, and “kitchen-table” economics.

You wouldn’t know it from his resume, though. Dr. Weber grew up in Michigan and earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at the exclusive General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). He then decided to get his MBA in finance and marketing at the University of Michigan but then later rejected the idea of becoming a corporate administrator, “a beanie.”

In the early ’90s, he thought, “This business is changing, and I’d better get ahead of it.” He went on to become the first to earn the degree Doctor of Engineering in manufacturing engineering from the University of Michigan—a practical degree similar to Doctor of Medicine that is awarded to someone with industry experience much like a professor of practice. He also received an Alumni Merit Award.

Dr. Weber’s publications include “Impact of Manufacturing System Configuration on Performance,” “Synthesizing Affordable Composites,” and “Small Series Automotive Body Design and Manufacture.” He holds a patent, with others, for a laser scoring process and apparatus used in airbag deployment.

While earning his degree, Dr. Weber founded Webertech, which investigates and identifies the underlying complex multi-dimensional mathematical relationships that define and describe the performance of any system. “He went on to literally save millions and millions of dollars for many companies, big and small, in North America and Europe,” the announcer for his award stated.

Webertech created its own suite of engineering models operating on multi-dimensional parametric matrices or arrays for comprehending and integrating complex system behavior. This in turn improved efficiency and added significant cost savings for the companies it served. He consulted on the production of engines, transmissions, axles, brakes, and gear systems for Ford, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ferrari, and Porsche, among others.

Henry Ford is a great inspiration for Dr. Weber due to Ford’s intense commitment to systematically lowering costs through innovation. Although Ford is often credited with inventing the assembly line, it was actually his engineers who developed it, inspired by systems for “disassembling cows” in Chicago’s slaughterhouses. The assembly line reduced the time to produce a Model T automobile from 12.5 to 1.5 hours, and Ford’s application in the auto industry revolutionized the way things are produced ever since.

Dr. Weber’s many decades of focused work in automotive systems have culminated in a unifying theory— High Yield Systems, or systems that are designed to realize their highest and best performance with efficiency not previously thought possible.

The idea of High Yield Systems started with agriculture. Farmers and ranchers make modest yield gains year over year, and similar to compounding interest they are able to raise enough food to feed the world. Likewise, small changes to manufacturing systems amount to significant gains in efficiency and productivity in the long run. Practices are translated into mathematical models of systems that take into account deterministic or predictable behavior as well as stochastic or random variation. By rerunning the model under varying parameters, manufacturing can greatly improve predictable performance and limit the adverse effects of random variation. These parameter changes are then re-applied back into the real world with significant results.

Because both agriculture and UW’s Rodeo Team embody these principles and are such an inspiration, Dr. Weber has supported the Rodeo Team with his time and philanthropy and is also remembering them in his estate plans. He wants to support these young men and women who represent the best in all of us. He is endowing a scholarship for members of the Rodeo Team, the heart and soul of Wyoming, but he is also supporting the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Engineering and Applied Science. These fields have made his career and profoundly shaped his ideas and contributions, and he hopes to support the continuing growth of these important endeavors for future generations.

Dr. Weber says, “I want to set aside funds for the pursuit of these important endeavors on the ag side and on the engineering side, and I want to make sure the Rodeo Team is recognized.” He adds, “In a real sense, I am now working for the not-yet-born future generations of the University of Wyoming.”

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon