Timpanelli ’69 Named 2014 Barnum Festival Ringmaster
When Sacred Heart University alumnus Paul Timpanelli ’69 dons the red coat and silk top hat of the Barnum Festival 2014 ringmaster next summer, he will have already have served as president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC) for 25 years. So the honor of leading what is arguably the region’s signature annual event comes as a fitting tribute to the man’s lifelong dedication to his community.
Born in Bridgeport, Timpanelli’s family moved to Trumbull when he was 8 years old. He earned a degree in sociology from Sacred Heart University in 1969. He went on to teach at St. Catherine’s and then St. Theresa’s schools in Trumbull while earning his masters in urban sociology from St. John’s University in Queens.
He served the Town of Trumbull as town clerk, then first selectman, until 1987. After spending some time working for himself in real estate, Timpanelli was offered the chance to lead the BRBC in 1989, a post he has held ever since.
“It started, really, back at Sacred Heart,” says Timpanelli. “I think that’s where I started to get a taste for politics. I was president of the Student Government a couple of years and vice president of my fraternity. It was a way to serve the community I was so proud of.”
That pride is as strong now as it ever was. “My wife and I took a tour of the University not long ago. It’s just fabulous. The vision, the commitment to growth and moving forward; it’s very exciting. Very inspiring.”
That commitment to growth, to embracing change for the better, also seems to guide Timpanelli’s sense of mission. Straddling his roles with the Festival and Council and working with the City of Bridgeport, the future ringmaster is looking to redefine and reinvigorate the annual celebration. “At the moment, it’s a very successful party,” he says. “It’s a terrific party, but we want to see it become something more. We want to see it raise money and provide greater opportunities for the businesses in Bridgeport to succeed.”
The changes may take time, a few years perhaps, but Timpanelli is confident this is the beginning of something great, not only for the Festival, but for the City of Bridgeport itself.