It’s with an unparalleled level of involvement, enthusiasm, and expertise that Linda Ellis Sims serves the University of Kansas and the School of Engineering. Time and again since earning her chemical engineering degree from KU in 1979, she has cheerfully answered the call of duty from her alma mater, while playing a key role for one of the world’s largest companies.
Sims spent her entire career at Exxon (later ExxonMobil). She was known for her keen business judgment, market knowledge and tenacious focus. She started as a sales representative and ended as a global account executive, where she was responsible for mentoring account managers all over the world to help them to be successful with many different businesses and cultures.
While a bit unusual for an engineer to work on the sales and marketing side, Sims, who also earned an MBA from Memphis State University in 1985, achieved great success thanks to her professional drive, sunny disposition, positive attitude and outstanding leadership skills. Sims also garnered much respect for her analytical and problem solving skills. She understood customer needs and translated them into a language that researchers, project developers and plant operators could understand.
Her ability to work effectively across geographical and cultural boundaries, the combination of her interpersonal skills and her engineering problem solving skills allowed her to accomplish great things. This includes innovative work to optimize Exxon’s supply chain, which created great value for the company and its customers, and earned her the nickname, “Linda Logistics.”
Throughout her career – and in retirement – Sims has remained loyal to her Jayhawk roots. She is a tireless advocate for everything KU – devoting countless hours to the betterment of the School of Engineering and the university – while serving as a great role model for young engineering students. She is frequently called upon by the chancellor and other KU leaders seeking her advice and counsel.
She’s been active on the KU Endowment Board of Trustees, serving as chair of the development committee, and on the KU Alumni Association National Board of Directors, including a high level of participation in the Houston Chapter of the Alumni Association. She currently serves on the Alumni Association’s Greater Kansas City alumni chapter board. Sims has been on the School of Engineering Advisory Board since 1995, and has also served on the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering Advisory Board as well as the school’s Diversity & Women’s Programs Advisory Board.
She was on the KU women’s swim team as an undergraduate student, which earned her membership in the K Club, for individuals who participated and lettered in varsity sports at KU.
Her extensive level of involvement at KU, her broad skills and depth of knowledge landed her on three critical and diverse search committees. She’s helped select a new dean of engineering, an athletics director, and a chancellor.
In recognition of her contributions to the university, Sims received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 2011 – the highest honor bestowed by the KU Alumni Association. It is said that no graduate over the past 30-plus years has provided key leadership in so many different areas of KU while maintaining a high-level position during their career.
Sims retired from ExxonMobil in 2012. She and her husband, Russ, live in Independence, Mo.