Timothy W. Sullivan ′75
2021 Recipient of the P.E. MacAllister Distinguished Alumnus Award for Service to Carroll
In a life marked by a series of professional successes, Tim Sullivan '75 is also celebrated for his civic involvements, generous philanthropy and service to community. His leadership has been particularly significant in the recent growth and vibrancy of today’s Carroll.
As an alumnus, Sullivan has provided his alma mater counsel and support in a variety of leadership capacities. He served for nine years on the Carroll Board of Trustees after being elected as a member in October 2008. Less than a year later, he gave the commencement address to Carroll’s more than 600 graduates in May of 2009.
Most notable, Sullivan helped Carroll to successfully raise nearly $53 million as co-chair for the institution’s last campaign, Campaign Carroll: The Common Thread, from July 2009 to September 2016. A key component of the campaign was the Michael and Mary Jaharis Science Laboratories, the first new (and first all-gift/grant) academic building built on campus in the past 50 years.
Sullivan 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, Arizona State University's Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, AZ.
He was instrumental in helping to secure support to make possible the Bucyrus Center for Applied Physics and Engineering within Doug and Nancy Hastad Hall, a space dedicated to Carroll University’s applied physics and pre-engineering program and its talented students. It was at Bucyrus International, Inc. where Sullivan spent most of his career, growing revenue 14-fold, employment 12-fold, and leading the organization to the eighth best performing initial public offering in the U.S. in 2004.
Under his leadership, Bucyrus was the 15th fastest growing company in the U.S. in 2009, and the eighth fastest in 2010. Sullivan was the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Bucyrus International, Inc. before later moving on to become CEO and Director of REV Group, Inc., a leading manufacturer of motor vehicles for bus, emergency, specialty, and recreation markets worldwide, from 2014 to 2020.
With more than 35 years of manufacturing and management experience, Sullivan has shared his expertise in workforce development with Carroll students as an active classroom speaker in the School of Business. In 2016, he also participated in the Business Executive in Residence program at Carroll University.
Currently, Sullivan and his wife, Vivian, live in Milwaukee, Wis. and have opened up their home in Arizona several times for regional alumni gatherings, to build relationships with Carroll’s growing alumni base. His encouragement of alumni to start and/or continue their involvement with Carroll has been very beneficial to the continuing work of the university’s alumni engagement efforts.
His alumni connections go beyond those friends he made at Carroll, too. His mother, Eleanor Sullivan, was a librarian at Carroll. His brothers, Brian and Robert, also graduated from Carroll in 1979 and 1980 respectively, as well as his sister, Patricia Santiago, in 1974.
Sullivan has been recognized as Wisconsin Business Leader of the Year by the Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin in 2008; Baird Management Excellence Award and Rotary Person of the Year in 2009; Carroll University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement in 2010; Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year, Distribution and Manufacturing Award in 2011; and the Hall of Friends Award from St. Ann’s Center for Intergenerational Care in 2016.
In 2007, former 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.
In addition to his commitment to Carroll, Sullivan has also 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, Milwaukee School of Engineering, chairman of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce, and St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care of Milwaukee.