5 minutes with Tim Meigs ’89

Position: Assistant general counsel–intellectual property, Becton Dickinson & Co.

Degree: Bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry

Hometown: Cullowhee

Tim Meigs came to ECU wanting to become a band director, but he changed direction and majored in biology. Now an attorney, he manages patents and other intellectual property for Becton Dickinson’s corporate research unit in Research Triangle Park and several of the company’s business units elsewhere in the U.S. He stays involved with ECU as president of the Biology Department Advancement Council. In April, he finished first in his age group at the Boston Marathon.

My biology and chemistry courses and labs… gave me the solid foundation in the sciences that have enabled me to figure out the ever-advancing new technologies that have come along in my patent law career. So in addition to the actual facts and theories we learned in class, ECU taught me how to carry that forward and build upon that knowledge.

One person in particular that set me on the course to where I am today was Beryl Waters. She was an advisor in the biology department. She said I should look into patent law, as the field of biotechnology patent law was just then (in the late 1980s) emerging, and it would require lawyers who knew something about biology. Her advice ended up being some of the best I ever received, as that’s what I ended up pursuing through law school and thereafter.

I ran track in high school, but was never very good at it, but also because I didn’t take it seriously. However, I got back into running in 2006 — the year I turned 40. At first, it was just a way to lose weight and get in shape. Then it became a big part of my social life. The competitive piece came along later.

I think one of the most important lessons I learned at ECU was to balance multiple facets of my life – social/family, academic/professional, talents/hobbies, health/fitness – without getting too focused on one thing to the detriment of others. Maybe that’s why it took me five years (including summer school) to graduate, but I have no regrets!