Joseph (Joe) M. Shuster of New Prague, Minnesota, has passed away at the age of 83. Readers of gasworld will remember Shuster as one of the founders Minnesota Valley Engineering (MVE)/Chart Industries.

Joe was a chemical engineer and proud alumnus of the University of Minnesota. He was a savvy entrepreneur and businessman who spent his career in engineering and management roles in diverse technically oriented companies. Joe founded/co-founded 10 companies, most notably MVE)/Chart Industries, an international leader in cryogenics, and Teltech Resource Network (now Sopheon), a technical knowledge consulting company. It is conservatively estimated that these 10 companies provide over 10,000 jobs today.


Joe was intensely interested in energy issues and wrote an energy alert paper for the US Congress in 1971, accurately predicting the oil embargo of 1973. He gave testimony before the House and Senate Committees on a Technology Transfer Program that led to positive legislation. Later, disgusted with government inaction to create effective energy policies, Joe wrote Beyond Fossil Fools (2008), a tutorial on energy sources and issues.

He subsequently published a quantified energy plan for the US to become independent of fossil fuels by 2040. Joe gave many lectures on energy across the country and worked diligently on promising alternative energy sources seeking to ensure prosperity for all inhabitants of the earth, notably from nuclear power supplied by Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) which recycle spent nuclear fuel, Hot Dry Rock (HDR) geothermal, and plasma remediation of municipal garbage.

Much honored

Joe served on over 20 Boards of Directors of businesses, organizations, and international firms, including Winnebago Industries and served as chairman of Minnesota High Technology Association. Honors included Evans Scholar (1952), Evans Scholar of the Year (2011), Who’s Who in Engineering, Beatrice Foods Company Hall of Fame for Management, Export Award in France (presented by the President of France), University of Minnesota Institute of Technology Founder’s Award and Minnesota High Technology Association President’s Award.

Joe spent his life being a mentor, giving freely of his time, love, and encouragement to others with tremendous enthusiasm. He was generous financially backing people’s dreams and causes. He provided inspired leadership to colleagues, friends, and family. Joe was intelligent, witty, kind, committed, and curious. While his career focused on technical matters, he enjoyed and supported the arts throughout his life.

Joe was a champion as well as a wonderful companion to his family and friends. He is survived by his loving family, wife Patricia (Patsy), with whom he enjoyed many great adventures; children Susan and Lael King, Pete Shuster and Peg Witt, Siri and Tom Lehmann, Pauline and Steve Jennings, Sam and Sara Shuster; and many grandchildren.

He will be greatly missed by in the industrial gas and cryogenics community.