Advantage – Jim | Trinity University

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Advantage – Jim

Sunday, November 18, 2007

by Donna Parker

Jim Timmins '76 is a partner in AIG Highstar Capital, a private equity fund with offices in New York and Houston. Highstar aquires infrastructure businesses in the energy, water, transportation and waste management sectors. Jim is responsible for raising capital and the current fund, Highstar III, totals $ 3 billion.

"Whatever business I have found myself in, building personal business relationships has been vital, although I have had some curves and a few bumps along the way!"

When Jim earned his MBA in 1978 from Trinity, he moved to Houston and became involved in the energy industry, acquiring oil and gas leases and drilling wells. Nine years later, he brokered institutional securities for Kidder Peabody...just before the crash of '87. From 1990-1997 he raised institutional capital for Torch Energy Advisors.

From 1997-2000 he worked at Enron Corp. "At Enron I handled third party equity transactions. It was an interesting place and I actually worked for the group who are in jail." They look awfully good in pinstripes he says. "

"It wasn't until 1999, when I became friends with a principal of AIG that my interest was piqued by the Highstar business model, which acquires regulated businesses and improves the overall operating efficiencies.

It's not all business for Jim, though, who is also an avid tennis player and was a key player in raising the necessary funds to build the new Mabry Tennis Pavilion on campus.

"That fund raising process has been extraordinarily gratifying," says Jim. He continues, "We wanted to do something for retired Trinity tennis coach Clarence Mabry, and the school. Within a short period of time, we had raised the capital necessary for constructing the facility. It was sure an easy task raising capital for a building named after Clarence Mabry."

Clarence had ignited Jim's interest in tennis starting when he was 10 years old at the San Antonio Country Club just down the street from the Trinity campus.

"As a kid, I spent a lot of time going over to Trinity and hanging out on campus during tennis matches, so when I graduated from Alamo Heights High School in 1972, there was no question that's where I would attend school."

"My most cherished set of memories is the blood, sweat, and tears put into making our team the best. It was high profile and imagine a school Trinity's size competing on a national level."

When he wasn't driving aces down the line, Jim enjoyed the small class sizes, which encouraged discussion.

"My Trinity professors set me on the right path. Richard Burr, department of business administration, was one of the most impressive professors ever in a college setting and could relate to students very well, even in a difficult class such as statistics."

"Bates Hoffer, department of English, had taught linguistics in Japan and shared many stories about his travels abroad, lending us a different perspective than impersonal information straight out of a textbook."

"Now it is a pleasure to look at my two sons and see them making their way in the world with the right tools, just like I had."

"When I left Trinity, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do nor where my life would lead; however, I am doing exactly what I want to do and feel very blessed to do just that. I would tell young people today not to be afraid to set out on a course knowing it might not lead to where you want to go. Every curve in the road opens another door."

You may contact Jim at Jim.timmins [at]