Tim Thornton (’94, MSE, ’86 BSE) Recipient: 2019 UAH Alumni of Achievement Award

Tim Thornton

Tim Thornton (’94, MSE, ’86 BSE), 2019 UAH Alumni of Achievement Award honoree.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Tim Thornton’s decision to start nLogic 10 years ago was quick but indecisive. Career-wise, Thornton had two choices: stay with his employer in a key leadership role; or start a new company because of conflict of interest rules and regulations changes in the government.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) alumnus "pondered" the business scenario for several days, until finally one day the CEO of the company, demanded an answer: "are you staying or going?"

"Feeling bold, I agreed to start a new company…I didn’t even have a name," said Thornton. "The rest of the story is history. nLogic is on track to earn more than $55 million in revenue this year."

For Thornton who came to Huntsville in 1981 with $1,000 and paid 100 percent of his university expenses, the alumni award is the pinnacle of success. The 2019 UAH Alumni of Achievement (AOA) recipient said he is "truly honored and humbled" to be selected for the award, the highest honor bestowed by the alumni association.

"It is the hallmark of my career to be recognized for this award among my peers who have graduated from the university’s College of Engineering," said Thornton. "It is especially rewarding given the entrepreneurial environment associated with Huntsville, a great place to start an aerospace and defense business. I pledge to always exemplify the high standards associated with this award."

Committed to the university, Thornton serves on the UAH Foundation Board, Research and Technology Corporation Board, College of Business Dean’s External Advisory Board, and College of Engineering Dean’s Engineering Advisory Board. "UAH was key to both influencing and advancing my career path in the aerospace and defense industry."

Thornton vividly remembers attending a science fair at UAH and visiting the U.S. Space & Rocket Center as a boy. He fulfilled his dream of being a "rocket scientist" by obtaining Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering.

"My UAH academic training helped establish my technical credentials in Guidance, Navigation and Control, Modeling and Simulation, and Test and Evaluation," said Thornton. "In addition, my academic experience has prepared me to take part in solving some of the nation’s most technologically challenging problems associated with many rocket and missile programs. I cannot overstate the value of my engineering degrees from UAH and the impact of the university on my career."

Under Thornton’s leadership as CEO of nLogic, the company has received many awards including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Blue Ribbon Award; Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of Year; Better Business Bureau Marketplace Ethics Award; Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces Award; Inc. Fastest Growing Companies in America (10+ years); Principal "10 Best" Companies; and Boeing Supplier of the Year.

He is a member of several organizations including Huntsville Aerospace Marketing Association (HAMA); Huntsville Association of Small Businesses in Advanced Technology (HASBAT); North Alabama International Trade Association (NAITA); Association of the United States Army (AUSA); Army Air Defense Artillery Association (ADAA); Army Space and Missile Defense Association (ASMDA); National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA); Space and Missile Defense Working Group (SMDWG); Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA); American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA); National Space Club (NSC); Cyber Huntsville; GEO Huntsville; Energy Huntsville; and University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Alumni Association.

Thornton met his wife Cindy (’86, BS, Business, ’90 Master’s MGT ’90) at a UAH fraternity (Delta Chi) and sorority (Chi Omega) mixer 36 years ago. Two years later, he proposed to Cindy in her UAH dorm room. He surprised her on Valentine’s Day by wrapping the engagement ring in several boxes. Throughout their college days, the couple enjoyed sitting together at the UAH duck pond dreaming about a future together. "Little did we know, that one day, I would start an aerospace and defense business across the street from UAH in Cummings Research Park.

The Thornton’s have a son, Taylor, and daughter, Brooke.


Karen Brennan