Tom Float began his career in marching percussion on the single tenor in a drum and baton corps in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After moving to California, he called a local trophy shop to get suggestions on which drum & bugle corps to march and wound up in the 1973 Lynwood Diplomats (because, according to Tom, "I called the Anaheim Kingsmen, but their phone was busy"). In 72-74, Tom marched and aged out in the Kingsmen with Ralph Hardimon - calling themselves "the heads" (because they were easily a head taller than everyone else in the line).
Tom's teaching career began with the 1975 as an assistant to Sacramento Freelancers' Don Silva. In 1976-77, Tom taught with Al Murray at the Etobicoke Oakland Crusaders and Spirit of Atlanta in 1978-81. Tom's 1980 Spirit of Atlanta line won drumming execution at Drum Corps International Finals, but tied in overall percussion score with the Bridgemen. The title was awarded to the Bridgemen using a tie-breaker based on general effect. Later DCI acknowledged the tie in print, and considers Spirit of Atlanta and Bridgemen to be co-champions of the percussion caption in 1980, adding another percussion title to Tom's resume. Tom is probably most remembered for his 1982-90 drumlines at the Blue Devils, where he won 4 consecutive percussion titles (1983, 84, 85, & 86). Since 1990, Float has worked with the Velvet Knights, developed music programs at Disneyland and has performed marching percussion clinics throughout the world. Tom is an inductee of the DCI Hall of Fame.