Thomas David Petite (born May 30, 1956) is an American inventor and is best known for being one of the five early key inventors of Wireless ad hoc network or IoT Wireless Mesh Technology. He is Native American and a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribe. He is also a founder of the Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council, a non-profit organization helping Native American inventors and communities. Petite has more than 100 US patents pending, dating back to 1995 on adhoc networks. A listing of some of his inventions can be found at Patent Genius or by a search at The US Patent Office. Petite is considered to be a visionary scientist/engineer, with business knowledge skills. His early inventions seem to demonstrate a foresight to see the technology curve with business values.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he is the son of Robert Eugene Petite of the Fond du Lac Chippewa tribe and Helen Ruth Byrd. Thomas David Petite goes by his middle name David. He was brought up in Atlanta by his father who was a Native American Chief of the Chippewa tribe in Wisconsin. His father educated David on the cultural heritage of the Chippewa tribe instilling strong values and a great sense of pride.
Much of Petite's work revolves around the networking, remote control, activation or monitoring of wireless enabled devices. From his early invention of a personalized security system, in which a portable transmitter can be carried or worn and activated by an individual in need of assistance to transmit data relating specifically to that individual, to his most recent patents covering a site controller adapted to be used in an automated monitoring system for monitoring and controlling a plurality of remote devices via a host computer connected to a first communication network, his work has covered a multitude of industry sectors and applications.
He is perhaps best known for his role in the invention of the necessary components integral to creating remotely monitored and controlled environmental systems within a specific location such as a home. This set of inventions was a driving force behind the development of the so-called "Smart meter", and thus to what is now known as the "Smart Grid". According to one description “A true Smart Grid enables multiple applications to operate over a shared, interoperable network, similar in concept to the way the Internet works today.” His major contribution was developing the technology to allow a plurality of devices to operate together on one low power or proximity network. This technology allows each device to have single addressable identities and act as individuals or as an infinite and scalable series of devices.
In 2010 he was honored by the Georgia State Senate in a resolution introduced by Chairman of the Economic Development Committee Senator Chip Pearson. Mr. Petite was recognized for "his innovations in wireless technology and his incredible career in engineering and invention." In 2010 he was also honored as the 4th most successful Native American entrepreneur by Legal Zoom. Petite was invited to attend the presidential signing of The America Invents Act, in September 2011. In September 2011 Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia appointed Petite to the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns, a body created by the Georgia Legislature in 1992 to help protect Indian graves and burial objects from accidental and intentional desecration. The Council is the only state entity specifically authorized to address the concerns of Georgia's American Indians.