As a quality-assurance certified helicopter mechanic and platoon sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Thomas D. Aguilar led a work center of more than 40 marines through three deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. After his military service, he brought those leadership skills back to central Illinois, where he pursued his education at Illinois Central College and Bradley University.
While at ICC, Aguilar helped coordinate Walk Sudan, a national movement that raised $92,000 to build an education center in southern Sudan. After earning his associate degree in 2010, he was one of eight students in the nation selected to participate in the White House Community College Summit. He then completed a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering at Bradley, where he was student chair of the Bradley Industrial Advisory Council and chapter president of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
In his current role as a facility planning engineer at Caterpillar, Aguilar provides leadership to the project team tasked with a multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation of the Morton Global Parts Distribution Center. An active leader in the workplace, he organized a new member orientation program and continues to serve as a mentor to new employees.
Outside of the office, Aguilar served five years on the board of Habitat for Humanity Greater Peoria before being named to the Board Executive Committee, where he has contributed to a long-term growth strategy to double the number of homes built each year.
Much of Aguilar’s volunteerism is rooted in his passion for education, having taught math GED classes and served as a life coach to correctional inmates. He’s also dedicated to serving ICC—the institution he credits for not only preparing him for his career, but “changing his standard of living and trajectory of life.” In addition to serving on the ICC Foundation Board of Directors, he and his wife started a scholarship to ensure other students have the same support they had to achieve their degrees. iBi