Thomas Ravenel was born in Charleston, South Carolina and is the youngest of six children. In 1981, Ravenel was accepted to enter the Corps of Cadets at The Citadel, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1985. After graduation, he sold real estate for four years. In 1991, he earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina, emphasizing Finance and Real Estate. In 1992, Ravenel founded Ravenel Development Corporation, a commercial real estate development company, and moved it the next year to Atlanta where he began to concentrate on retail projects including freestanding, single-tenant stores, and strip-mall developments. He returned to Charleston in 1995. In 2006, Ravenel was elected statewide to the office of State Treasurer for the state of South Carolina. As State Treasurer, he was chairman of The State Board of Financial Institutions for the State of South Carolina, a member of The Budget and Control Board for the State of South Carolina, a member of The State of South Carolina Retirement System which invests approximately $30 billion in funds for the benefit of retired state employees.
Ravenel is active in national and state organizations that promote free enterprise and liberty such as The Cato Institute. He is a member of the French Huguenot Church of Charleston and a number of South Carolina organizations. Ravenel is the proud father of an infant girl, Kensington Calhoun Ravenel. In what little free time he now has, Ravenel enjoys polo, boating, and traveling.