He is a former assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and formed the nation's first program to assist minority entrepreneurs (now the Minority Business Development administration). He initiated and ran the government relations department for Quaker Oats, many of them as vice president. His teaching career includes service as adjunct professor of public policy at the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania; the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Loyola University Chicago; DePaul University; the University of Illinois-Chicago; Roosevelt University, Chicago and St. John's College, Oxford University.
He was born in Evanston and attended elementary and secondary schools in Chicago. He graduated from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. After time in the advertising agency business in Chicago, he returned to Minnesota to engage in journalism, serving as city editor of the St. Cloud Daily Times and a stringer for the Associated Press (1953-55). He became director of public information for the Minnesota Republican party in 1955 (1955-58), assistant to Congressman Albert H. Quie (R-Minn.) and Congressman Walter H. Judd (R-Minn.) from 1958-61. Then he served as press secretary to Minnesota governor Elmer L. Andersen (1961-63). He was director of communications for the Minnesota Republican party (1963-64) before returning to Illinois.
He was named manager-public affairs for The Quaker Oats Company in 1964, promoted to Director-Public Affairs in 1966 and served in that capacity until 1969. He left Quaker temporarily to assume a role in the federal government as assistant to the secretary of commerce for minority enterprise (1969-70). He then recommended the abolition of his own agency which was a controversial challenge to the permanent bureaucracy which led to his reassignment as Director-Public Affairs for the Peace Corps where he became a foreign service officer (1970-71).
Roeser returned to Quaker in 1971 where he was promoted to vice president-government relations. He served there until his retirement in 1991. Then he established the firm of Thomas F. Roeser & Associates and represented a variety of clients in government relations. He formed The Chicago Daily Observer, the city's first internet 5-day a week newspaper in 2007. In addition he has served as host of "The Tom Roeser Show" on WLS-AM, ABC radio in Chicago.
As the first corporate government relations officer to become a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard, he designed the course "Influencing the System" which shows how nine constituencies intersect to produce public policy.
Long active in Chicago civic and political organizations, he was a founder of Project LEAP (Legal Elections in All Precincts) anti-vote fraud organization; was president of the City Club of Chicago for seventeen years and is now its chairman; is a board member of Haymarket Center in Chicago; is chairman of Catholic Citizens of Illinois; is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars; board member of The Howard Center, Rockford; and is program chairman of Legatus (Chicago), an organization of Catholic CEOs. He is a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFL-CIO) and the Illinois Education Association (AFL-CIO). He is founder of the Republican Assembly of Illinois, an organization of grassroots and movement leaders in the state.
He is married to the former Lillian Prescott of Chicago. The couple are parents of four grown children and grandparents of thirteen.
In 1988 he and Mrs. Roeser was named by John Paul II as Knight and Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, a Roman Catholic charitable order.