Who's Who of Professional Women


Joan Hutchins

Joan Morthland Hutchins celebrates more than six decades of distinction in business leadership, manufacturing and agriculture. A trailblazer for women in the construction industry and large-scale commercial agriculture, Ms. Hutchins considers her greatest accomplishments to be the diversity of her knowledge and ability to succeed across industries. She began her career in 1961 as a junior mathematician for the Shell Development Company after graduating from Radcliffe College at Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts. She remained with Shell Development Company until 1963 and spent the next year as a mathematician for British Petroleum. During her time in the energy industry, Ms. Hutchins worked on the development of several key mathematical models for use in the oil industry, work she considers to be among the most important of her career.

Between 1965 and 1967, she served as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, making the transition from her earlier theoretical work into hands-on leadership. During this period, Ms. Hutchins published a number of well-received papers showcasing her work for Shell, including “Solution of Differential Equations with Random Input” in 1962, “Partition Programming: Primal Form for Linear Problems,” in 1963, and edited the “Operations Research-Management Science Bulletin” for McKinsey & Company throughout her entire tenure with the company. She continued her education in the early 1980s, enrolling at the State University of New York at Farmingdale, where she would earn an Associate of Applied Science in 1985.

The same year, Ms. Hutchins was named vice president of development at Compotite Corporation, her family business and a leader in American-made waterproofing and construction materials. A natural leader with a history of management success, she succeeded her father as president and chief executive officer of the company in 1987, and in 1989, she became chair of Compotite Corporation as well. Ms. Hutchins stepped down as president and chief executive officer in 2016. She remains chair of the corporation in addition to holding a major role in shaping the direction of the industry as a whole as a longtime member of the National Waterproofing Standards Committee.

During the mid-1980s, Ms. Hutchins also launched her career in agriculture, establishing an Elizaville, New York-based Angus cattle ranch, MBH Farms, Inc., in 1986 and taking control as the company’s president and chief executive officer until 2001. Since 2001, Ms. Hutchins has been chair of MBH Farms, Inc., and sits on the advisory committee of the American Farmland Trust Columbia Land Conservancy.

Ms. Hutchins is an active alumna of Harvard University and a passionate supporter of arts and culture, particularly music. She was a trustee of the Bowdoin International Music Festival for 10 years, is a former vice president of the Royal Music Foundation, and was conferred an honorary degree by the Royal College of Music in London, England, in 1979. Her involvement in leadership at Harvard University spans decades, including service on the board of directors and nominating committee of overseers and directors of the Harvard Alumni Association and administrative positions in the overseers visiting committees of the athletic and music departments, the Graduate School of Education, and the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University, among many other committees. Notably, she was elected to serve on the Harvard board of overseers from 1994 to 2000 and as president of the board from 1999 to 2000. She was recognized for her service to the school with a Harvard Medal in 2004.

Ms. Hutchins credits her success to her parents, citing them as an inspiration for their accomplishments and a reason for her to broaden her focus and world view. Her mother came to the United States from her native Britain to study at Stanford, and her father served in the U.S. Navy, commanding six ships. When not focused on her diverse career, Ms. Hutchins is passionate about travel and sports, and owns a vacation home in the mountains of Norway. An avid cross-country skier, Ms. Hutchins cites the perspective and sense of well-being that the sport provides her, and enjoys time spent in nature.


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