Timothy W. Sullivan '75
2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
When Tim Sullivan '75 considered his company’s state in the 2009 downed economy, he drew inspiration from a famous children’s fairy tale. “Remember the story of the three pigs? Well, we built our house of brick and we’re in pretty good shape right now,” said Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bucyrus International, in a story published in Milwaukee in the May issue of The Business Journal.
Sullivan started building Bucyrus’ strong foundation shortly after he graduated from Carroll with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1975. He received his Master’s degree in business administration at the American Graduate School of International Management in 1976—now the Thunderbird School of Global Management located in Glendale, Arizona. That same year he joined Bucyrus.
He held various positions within the mining equipment manufacturing company, including executive vice president of marketing, vice president of marketing and sales, director of business development, director of parts sales and subsidiary operations, product manager of electric mining shovels and manager of international sales. In 1998, he took his talents and experience to United Container Machinery, Inc., where he was President and Chief Executive Officer.
Sullivan later rejoined Bucyrus in 2000, when he became President and CEO. Under Sullivan’s leadership and with an emphasis on international business, the company increased its annual sales from $280 million at the start of his tenure to an expected $2.5 billion in fiscal 2009. In 2007, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle appointed Sullivan as chair of the Wisconsin Council on Workforce Investment, which advises the Governor on workforce investment strategies, policies, and programs. It was Doyle who would later be the keynote speaker in May 2009 when Sullivan was named the 2009 Business Leader of the Year by the Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin.
While the award clearly recognized his business accomplishments, it also noted his civic contributions as well. Sullivan has served on the boards of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Aurora Healthcare, Children’s Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin, United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Milwaukee, chairman of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce, and St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care of Milwaukee.
He was elected to the Carroll Board of Trustees in October 2008, and less than a year later gave the commencement address to Carroll’s more than 600 graduates in May of 2009. Other professional accomplishments include the recognition of Rotary Person of the Year in 2009 and Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. Management Excellence Award to Bucyrus International Inc. in 2008. Sullivan’s business acumen remains widely recognized while his insight has been sought throughout local and national media such as appearances on CNBC’s “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer.
Currently, Sullivan and his wife, Vivian, live in Scottsdale, Arizona. His brothers, Brian and Robert, also graduated from Carroll in 1979 and 1980 respectively, as well as his sister, Patricia Santiago, in 1974.