Hall of Distinction Class of 1994-1995

Newton B. Thomas was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 11, 1944. Thomas attended the LSU Lab School and graduated in 1962. He then attended LSU on a baseball scholarship, graduating in electrical engineering in 1967, with a minor in business. Thomas is a registered professional engineer in Louisiana.

Upon graduating in 1967, Thomas began his career with Southern Instruments, Inc. in Baton Rouge as an estimating engineer. Southern Instruments, Inc. was an industrial controls contracting company whose principle business was the installation and commissioning of control systems in the petrochemical, refining, paper and power generation fields, primarily within the state of Louisiana. From 1967 to 1971, he held the positions o chief estimator, vice president of estimating and construction, and then general manager. In 1970 the company was acquired by a public company that was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1971 Thomas was promoted to president of Southern Instruments, Inc.

Thomas left Southern Instruments, Inc. in 1973 to form Newtron, Inc. with Ervie A. Ellender and Alberto J. de Jongh, coworkers from Southern Instruments. Both Ellender and de Jongh were Thomas’ classmates and electrical engineering graduates of the LSU College of Engineering in 1967. When initially incorporated, Newtron, Inc. was an industrial instrumentation construction company serving the same clientele and Southern Instruments, but was pursuing work all over the United States.

In response to changing markets and opportunities, the corporate structure of Newtron, Inc. has changed over the years. To take advantage of those changes and opportunities, in 1983 a new holding company was formed. All companies are now under the umbrella of the parent company, The Newtron Group, Inc. in Baton Rouge.

The Newtron Group, Inc. was awarded the Company of the Year award in 1990 by the Baton Rouge Business Report, and was named the Free Enterprise Company of the Year in Louisiana for 1989 by the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants. Total sales volume of The Newtron Group, Inc. has grown over the years with the highest year being ninety-nine million dollars in 1993.

In addition to serving as chairman, president and CEO of The Newtron Group, Inc., Thomas is a regional director of Premier Bank, N.A. (recently acquired by Banc One of Ohio). He is also a director and a member of the Executive Committee of Baton Rouge Water Company. As a volunteer, Thomas is a member of the Board of Trustees and is the immediate past chairman of the Baton Rouge Marine Institute, a non-profit rehabilitation program fro adjudicated youth in the juvenile justice system. Thomas is also a member of the Associated Marine Institutes Board of Trustees and Executive Committee, the parent company that oversees forty-three individual juvenile justice programs in ten states. Additionally, Thomas has been on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the LSU College of Engineering since its inception, serving as chairman for the first three years.

In 1978 Mr. Thomas married Elizabeth Reich, a 1971 graduate of LSU in interior Design. Newton and Betsy reside in Baton Rouge and have two children Katherine, age 15, and Lindsey, age 13. Both children attend LSU Lab School.