Jim was born in Oakland, California, the first of two boys in his family. He was raised in Vallejo, where both of his parents worked at Mare Island Naval Shipyard during its heyday. His mother turned 99 years old this year and still lives in her Vallejo home overlooking Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
As an adult, Jim has lived in Kentucky, West Germany, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. In 1988, he and his wife Sandy moved to their current home on West Boyd Road in Pleasant Hill. He has been a resident of Pleasant Hill for 24 years.
Jim has been married for 42 years to his wife Sandy, who practices law in Walnut Creek and serves as a Director of the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District. Jim and Sandy raised their three children in Pleasant Hill and are very proud of daughter Emily (also a resident of Pleasant Hill), son Dan and his wife Alexandrea, and daughter Julie.
Jim attended elementary school in Vallejo, then became a boarding student at and graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose in 1966. His college years were spent at the University of San Francisco, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1970 and was acknowledged as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He is also a 1995 graduate of the select United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Jim’s professional career has been in manufacturing in the Bay Area. His experience includes being an industrial engineer, factory manager, and the Manager of Quality Assurance for worldwide ladies’ clothing designer and manufacturer Koret of California, from 1974 to 1988. In 1988, he joined California Optical Corp, the largest eye glass case and optical accessory company in the nation. Jim was Vice President of Operations for Cal Optical, responsible for manufacturing, purchasing, warehousing, and distribution on two coasts. He retired in 2002.
Jim’s professional career path helped him develop business leadership and visioning skills, along with talents in quality and cost controls. Most importantly, he learned how to engender employee esprit and inspire an inclusive environment where people are encouraged to do their best and to make a difference.
Jim was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army upon his graduation from USF in 1970. He went on four years of active duty in October, 1970 as an Armor Officer. From 1971 through 1974, he was stationed in West Germany, serving as Armored Cavalry Platoon Leader and Armored Cavalry Troop Executive Officer with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment with duty along the East German border.
Several months after leaving the Army, Jim was encouraged to join the United States Army Reserve, which led to a further 24-year military career concurrent with his civilian professional career. During this time, he commanded Army reserve units at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade levels throughout northern California. Jim retired in 1998 from the Army Reserve as a Colonel. Among his many military recognitions, Jim was awarded the Legion of Merit.
Jim’s service was voluntary, but beyond the important goal of giving back to his country, his time in the Army Reserve gave him tremendous satisfaction in missions accomplished. Military service demands teamwork and leadership, both qualities that make Jim a trusted leader, motivator, and contributor.
Contra Costa County Civil Grand Jury Member
When Jim retired from Cal Optical in 2002, he knew he wanted to get involved in his community. He began by serving on the Contra Costa County Civil Grand Jury, looking into issues as disparate as food service practices at Byron Boys Ranch and potential levee failures in the Delta. That year was the second straight year that the Grand Jury spoke with considerable alarm about the County’s unfunded pension liability. Jim participated as a Grand Jury member in devising a specific slate of reforms for the Grand Jury’s final published report.
Pleasant Hill Redevelopment Advisory Commission Member
Closer to home, the Pleasant Hill City Council appointed Jim to the City’s Redevelopment Advisory Commission at a particularly eventful time, when plans for the Kohl’s shopping center were underway, the southern end of the center was in serious negotiation, when two blighted residential areas in the City were considered for redevelopment, and when attention turned to the DVC shopping center.
Planning Commission Member/Past Chairman
The experience Jim gained on the Redevelopment Advisory Commission led him to next being appointed to the Pleasant Hill Planning Commission, where he has served for the last five years. He was chairman of the Commission during its close examination of the City’s building ordinances and standards, giving him a unique opportunity to contribute to preserving what is best about Pleasant Hill’s neighborhoods and enabling local businesses to thrive.
Mayor’s Economic Development Committee
For the past 18 months Jim has been an active member of the Mayor’s Economic Development Committee, a group of elected officials, City staff and civic members dedicated to developing business opportunities for existing and new enterprises in Pleasant Hill. Recognizing the fiscal constraints under which the City operates, the Committee’s goal is to devise strategies that help businesses succeed, to attract quality businesses to Pleasant Hill, and to grow and sustain a healthy sales tax base that in turn enables the City to deliver services.
Police Volunteer/Pleasant Hill CERT Founder
Jim is particularly proud that as a Police Volunteer he founded Pleasant Hill’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), working closely with the City, its Police Department, and the Contra Costa Consolidated Fire District to offer neighborhood disaster response training to Pleasant Hill residents. To date, more than 400 City residents have successfully completed the applied courses, many of whom have also faithfully attended refresher courses to keep skills honed and participated in disaster drills in local parks and at local churches. Every resident in Pleasant Hill is safer thanks to these hundreds of trained volunteers.
Contra Costa County Cities Citizen Corps/CERT Council (CERT C8)
Contra Costa County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Committee
Jim serves on the County-wide CERT steering committee, which plans and coordinates CERT events in all participating cities. He also has served on the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Committee, by which the County and participating cities and special districts evaluate the potential for disasters within their jurisdictions and make plans now to mitigate hazards. By participating, public agencies have a way to ensure they will be eligible for FEMA disaster relief funds to rebuild and to restore public services in the event of a disaster that damages infrastructure.
Pleasant Hill Fourth of July Commission President
Jim joined the all-volunteer Fourth of July Commission shortly after his retirement because the Fourth of July is a day that is truly grand in the old-fashioned sense. He became president of the Commission in 2005. Today, the Commission’s all-day traditions of parade, party in the park and fireworks over College Park High School are booming, and with the added feature of the Firecracker 5K Fun Run before the parade begins, the Commission under Jim’s leadership has contributed more than $70,000 to local schools. The Commission looks for sponsorships from public agencies, local businesses and individuals and, with that valued support, puts on day-long events that are free to everyone. The Commission’s volunteers are tremendous assets to Pleasant Hill.
Pleasant Hill Rotary Club Member/Past President
Jim is committed to the goals of Rotary, which require “service above self.” As an active service organization in Pleasant Hill, the Rotary Club stresses communication, education, fundraising and service on both a global and local level. Jim has traveled with a medical team to Vietnam and helped fit villagers who have been maimed by post-war buried explosives with prosthetic hands (developed in part by another Pleasant Hill Rotarian and now part of a worldwide Rotary program). Locally, he has fundraised for the Rotary’s annual Night of Merriment and helped support such organizations as the Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Concord, the Salvation Army, Rotary’s back-to-school shopping sprees for disadvantaged children, and local schools and parks.
Pleasant Hill 2007 Citizen of the YearPleasant Hill 2010 Mayor’s AwardPleasant Hill City Channel “Hometown Hero” 2012
BocceHiking & kayakingRemodelingExercising at the YRotary ClubPleasant Hill Patch Bio