Ford Media Center

Tim Wallington

When Tim Wallington, senior technical leader for environmental sciences at Ford is asked about the biggest achievements of the company’s environmental sciences group, he points to the future, not the past.

The reason? Wallington believes the future is when the work done by the team will be most evident.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to work with the team at Ford over the past 25 years,” says Wallington. “It has been a very exciting time because we have contributed in ways that will be felt over the coming decades.”

Wallington says the group has been involved in many projects, but he points to three major achievements of which he is most proud to be associated:

  • Air conditioning system improvements: Wallington’s team, along with colleagues from other organizations, worked to identify and implement eco-conscious chlorofluorocarbon replacements for new vehicles around the world – helping protect the stratospheric ozone layer
  • Vehicle emissions: With significant input from Wallington’s team, huge strides have been made during the past few decades in reducing vehicle emissions of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from new vehicles – including an overall 99 percent reduction in per vehicle per mile emissions of air pollutants – all contributing to an improvement in local air quality
  • CO2 modeling: The Ford group used sophisticated computer models to determine global CO2 emission targets for new vehicles that are consistent with stabilization of the concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, at 450 parts per million

“Our CO2 modeling provides a scientific basis for long-term product planning decisions, and is the technical foundation for Ford’s sustainability strategy,” says Wallington. “Climate change is a hugely important issue for the future, and with our scientific approach, we are playing a leading role in protecting the climate.”

Like the growing number of Ford experts working with analytics – now numbering in the hundreds – Wallington’s team uses a quantitative approach aimed at taking the subjectivity out of decision making, allowing for systematic scenario analysis under specific conditions to test the Ford strategy and arrive at robust conclusions.

The job of Ford’s senior environmental scientist is a natural fit for Wallington, who grew up near London, England, and has had a lifelong fascination with physics, chemistry and science in general. These interests led him to earn doctor of philosophy and doctor of science degrees from Oxford University, an MBA from University of Michigan and an honorary doctor of science from Copenhagen University.

Wallington came to the United States to conduct postgraduate research at Statewide Air Pollution Research Center at University of California-Riverside. It was during this time that Wallington, part of a team researching how smog is formed, focused his attention on the impact vehicles have on the environment.

Just before he joined Ford 25 years ago, he worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Washington, D.C. Wallington says these early experiences with environmental sciences opened his eyes to the opportunities in the field.

Since joining Ford – and in addition to his day-to-day work – Wallington has authored 20 book chapters and four books on environmental science. Upon walking into his office – located in the Ford Research and Innovation Center on the automaker’s Dearborn campus – a set of 16 hardbound journals containing 400 peer-reviewed scientific articles he has co-authored instantly jump out.

“Environmental science is a fascinating area because it is such a young discipline,” says Wallington. “There are always new things popping up, lots of surprises, and twists and turns. As someone who is very curious, detail-oriented, and always looking for the next big challenge, it’s a field I find very appealing. We have a chance to truly impact the world we live in.”

His life and passion

  • A native of Northampton, England, Wallington, 54, holds bachelor of arts, master of arts, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of science degrees from Oxford University; an MBA from University of Michigan; and an honorary doctor of science degree from Copenhagen University
  • Wallington lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Ali, and has two sons, John, 24 and David, 22
  • Wallington enjoys science, running and spending time with his family