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Alumni profile

Energy Executive Joseph Timms ’58 Learned the Value of Hard Work at MIT

Retired energy executive serves professional organizations.

As president and CEO of Consolidated Natural Gas Transmission, now part of the Fortune 500 company Dominion Resources, Joe Timms oversaw the largest underground storage operation in the world, delivering natural gas to major U.S. utility companies primarily across the East Coast. During his tenure, the company grew by 50 percent.

Although energy options are broadening, he thinks natural gas will remain an important resource. “We’re in an era where everybody is looking to go green,” he says. “Natural gas is probably the least polluting hydrocarbon-­based fuel, so it will play a big role in the future. The challenge will be to build the infrastructure to use gas for heating and power generation in the future.”

Timms earned an MIT bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1958 and a bachelor’s in business and economics from Salem International University in 1975. In 2008, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from West Virginia’s Davis & Elkins College. For 40 years, he worked in the field of civil engineering in positions from senior engineer to president of CNG Transmission.

“I came from a southern West Virginia high school noted for parties and sports,” he says. “At MIT, I was up against people with a better educational background. The first semester, I had Cs in everything except ROTC, so I worked my tail off and graduated on the dean’s list and with military distinction. It taught me a great lesson—the value of hard work.”

After retiring 20 years ago, he was elected mayor of Bridgeport, West Virginia, a city of 8,000. “It was great, because you could see decisions that you made go right into action,” says Timms, who held office for eight years. “There wasn’t the long delay that you get working for a large corporation. For years, West Virginia was a coal-based economy; it was hands-on fun seeing the city move into other areas to diversify the economy.”

Timms continues to contribute to the engineering profession. He was appointed for four terms to the West Virginia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers, where he held the posts of president and secretary. He was an adjunct professor of management at Salem International University for 15 years. He also served as the president of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES); recently, he earned that group’s distinguished service award.

Timms lives with his wife, Annabel, who runs a ballet studio. Their children, Cindy, Sarah, and Rebecca, are former actresses; Rebecca performed in Cats on Broadway. The couple, who live in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are founding members of the Bridgeport Presbyterian Church. They have traveled the globe from China to Yellowstone.

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