Joe T. Atkins (BS '49)
Academy of Alumni Fellows 1993
Joe T. Atkins is president of North American Automotive, the largest operating unit of Arvin Industries, Inc. Arvin, an international manufacturing company, supplies automotive parts and related products and services in more than 100 countries.
Arvin's North American Automotive division is the leading original equipment supplier of automotive exhaust systems in this hemisphere. The division operates one of the world's most extensive technical centers dedicated solely to the research and development of vehicle exhaust systems, including catalytic converters-pioneered by Arvin in 1959-and an electronic muffler, now in development. Arvin also manufactures exhaust and tail pipes, stainless steel tubular manifolds, fuel filler tubes, and small-diameter automotive tubing.
Mr. Atkins is a native of Columbus, Indiana, where Arvin's headquarters are located. He joined the company in 1949 after receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Indiana University. In 1952, Mr. Atkins left Columbus for Arvin's automotive sales office in Detroit. He remained there for the next 34 years except for the summers of 1978 and 1979, when he attended the IU Executive Program in Bloomington.
While in Detroit, Mr. Atkins became divisional sales manager, directing Arvin's marketing and sales activity for the General Motors account. In 1980, he was named vice president of original equipment sales for North American Automotive. He returned to Columbus six years later as president of the division. In that position, he was involved in forming Arvin Sango, Inc., a joint venture with Japan's leading automotive exhaust system manufacturer. Arvin Sango is based in Madison, Indiana, and Mr. Atkins serves on its board of directors.
Mr. Atkins is also a member of the board of directors for Arvin Automotive of Canada, Arvin-Tubemakers in Australia, COFAP-Arvin in Brazil, and AP de Mexico. He serves on the President's Council of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.
Mr. Atkins lives in Columbus with his wife, the former Jean Maddox, who also attended IU. Two of their four sons are IU graduates.