Tom Etling has built his career on bold ideas, strategic thinking and tactical executions. His unique combination of marketing knowledge and business acumen has led him to senior positions with several St. Louis institutions, including the Gateway Arch and St. Patrick Center.
Now as Principal at Brown Smith Wallace, Tom leads our Marketing Advisory practice, working directly with our clients to audit, advise and advance their organizations through marketing.
From 2015 to 2019, Tom served as Partner and Chief Executive Officer at Dovetail, a St. Louis-based brand communications agency. There, he led brand strategy and stakeholder engagements for clients in diverse industries such as: finance, healthcare, higher education, manufacturing, public sector, tourism and more.
Prior to joining Dovetail, Tom was the Chief Executive Officer for St. Patrick Center, one of the country’s leading advocates for ending homelessness. Most notably, Tom led the creation and implementation of a regional plan that balanced innovative solutions with long-term financial viability. He also led the relaunch of McMurphy’s Cafe, an unprecedented concept that equipped people living through behavioral health issues with the skills and experience necessary to pursue successful careers in food service and hospitality.
Tom also has a comprehensive background in the public sector and is well-versed in the unique challenges that come with it. As Vice President of Marketing at Bi-State Development, Tom led marketing activities for the organization’s core business units, including the Gateway Arch, Metro Transit and St. Louis Downtown Airport.
Tom devotes much of his time outside the office to organizations that make our region shine. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Fontbonne University, the Board of Directors for Citizens for Modern Transit, as well as the President’s Council for Cor Jesu Academy. In 2009, Tom earned the Spirit of St. Louis Award for his leadership during major regional initiatives, including the I-64 highway reconstruction marketing communications collaborative.
In 2015, Tom was selected as one of nine Eisenhower Fellows in the United States program. This honor took him to Ireland and Spain, where he studied the impact of international economic development and public-private partnerships. Specifically, he focused on the political, business and cultural factors that facilitated the success and collective impact of the Barcelona Olympic Games.
Tom and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Etling, graduated from Indiana University and now live in St. Louis with their four children. Their oldest daughter, Taylor, is carrying on the Hoosier tradition and is committed to play field hockey for Indiana in 2020.