Have You Met?

Jim grew up in a very idyllic atmosphere in Fort Smith, Arkansas. As he tells it, “Growing up in a small town was great. You have no awareness of crime, no potential for harm and everyone knows you. The downside is that you can’t get into any trouble…because everyone knows you.”

Jim is the firstborn with one younger brother in the family. He spent a lot of time swimming in creeks, playing in the woods and backpacking through the area. “I have more memories than stories about my childhood. We lived in a neighborhood and it was safe with neighborhood kids gathering together in the evening to play Kick the Can. I remember one instance when we tipped over the neighbors’ bird -bath and had to do chores to pay for it. There were so many kids around. We’d be playing at one of the kid’s houses and his mom would make lunch for all of us. Next day we were at someone else’s house for lunch. Parents didn’t worry because they knew we were together and not far away.” Jim talks about getting his first car in high school. “I got a jeep in high school, not a Cherokee, but a real jeep! I’d ride to school with the doors and canvas top off and crank John Denver. He was very cool then.”

Jim attended CU in Boulder. After college he went back to Arkansas and took a job with a furniture manufacturing business as a management trainee. He decided to return to Denver and start his sales career at Sprint where he worked for several years. He continued in sales at a small division of US West, then, went to Page Net as a sales Manager, where he created his own team of salespeople. “I hired people who reminded me of all the best sales people I had ever worked with. I was the top office in the country.” When cellular phones were making their mark, he joined AT&T as their sales manager.

He decided he wasn’t cut out for the large corporate structure and, in 1995, started The Sales Lab, a company whose mission was to help companies increase sales. Working another angle, Jim teamed with Brooks International to hire entertainers, speakers and celebrities for corporate events and fundraisers. Recently, he created a new company, World Wide Speakers and Training, which will encompass both sales training and a speakers’ bureau. “I’ve always been in sales. Born into it…my dad…his dad…my brother. When we’re bored we sell each other. Not many takers in that game.”

What’s important in your life? My family. I have two incredible boys. My thirteen year-old is already 6’1”. He’s going to be a giant. My youngest is a soccer player. He dreams of being the next David Beckham. I just married an incredible woman last year. She says we’re in need of some estrogen in our family.

What’s in your future? I want to grow the business to a 10-20 person company and I never want to sell it. I’d love to pass it down and keep it in the family. I also want to have more community involvement. I spent the fist stage of my adult life building my career and family. But, I want more of a legacy and I can see that in Denver.

What are your volunteer activities? Men for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House, and a few private activities

Which social event is your favorite? The Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Annual Fund-raiser

Favorite restaurant? That’s a hard one. I’ve moved offices three times in the last 18 months and I’ve been doing a lot of traveling for work. Right now, it’s probably the Cherry Creek Grill. They have a pork medallion dish that is out of this world.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? I wonder…what defines “interesting.” I’d have to say Sammy Sosa or Sinbad. I loved Sammy. He’s the nicest guy and Sinbad is one big kid. Neither one of them acted like a “star.”

If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Robert Redford! What man wouldn’t want him playing his life? I can just see my epitaph. “He was an okay guy, but Robert Redford played him in a movie!”

Do you have any pets? We’re a no pet family because of my son’s allergies. But, my company logo is a black lab…does that count?

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? “They weren’t fix-it people, were they?” I avoid home projects.

What word describes you best? Opinionated. I need to work on that, though. I get in trouble when I ask for people’s opinions and then, do it my way.

How would you like others to describe you? That he reached a point in his life where he found his pace and lived consciously. I think we go through life in a semi-conscious state. Not unconscious, but not acute, either. We tend to be reactive and live life like an amateur golfer plays golf. Take a swing and adjust. Take another swing and adjust again. It’s good to be adaptive, but it’s better to live consciously.

What was your first job? Baskin-Robbins. I thought I could eat all the banana splits I wanted.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Going too fast and forgetting to do the small things I wanted to do like sending cards for people’s birthdays.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Rigidness. Not being forgiving.

What is your greatest indulgence? I still eat banana splits

What is the best gift you have ever given? My wife’s wedding ring. Someone said you should feel that one for a lot of months!

What is the best gift you’ve received? Another chance

What or who is the greatest love in your life? It sounds trite, but it would be my wife. I’m a better man because of her.

What is your current state of mind? A little wiser… slower… somewhat reflective and very excited about the future

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’d have to go with a business one. I started my company eight years ago. I’ve “wandered through the desert” for a number of years, but I’ve found my groove and I can see a future now.

What is your most treasured possession? I don’t really have one. I’m not big on possessions. I’m really into my Palm Pilot right now. It’s an integrated phone and PDA. Now, I can do business from anywhere.

What is the quality you most like in a man? That his family comes first. That he loves his wife and that he’s a man’s man.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? That she’s still in love with her husband. I love a woman’s perspective on things and I’ve learned to believe in a woman’s intuition.

Favorite books/writers? I just read The Jester, by James Patterson and I read Harlan Coben’s book, No Second Chance after I saw him interviewed on the Today Show. He’s very funny. Who ever heard of a funny author? But, I like my mystery/action kind of books. They’re a great escape.

What is the best advice you have ever received? “When the boat rocks and the waves crash all around you, tie yourself to the mast.” The boat rarely sinks.

Do you have a motto? “If you believe your cause just, your course true and your destination clear, never give up. You must believe in yourself in order to weather the inevitable storms in life. Hang in there – and hang on.” Tom Wie

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you? Fifth grade, prettiest girl in town, spin the bottle. I was so nervous, I threw up.

If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why? Like a do-over? No, I like this one too much. Just think, I’m only 43, I will be alive that many more years. I’m just at the half-time stage of life. There’s a lot left to be excited about.

What are your hobbies? Other interests? I like just about any outdoor sport, especially water activities. I love to run.

Who is your mentor? A variety of people, but I’m in the market for one right now that can help me with my next growth stage.

What would you most like to be remembered for? That my wife was loved. That my boys wanted to be like me.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be? I really don’t think I’d change anything. My family loves the beach. It would be nice to have a second home there. Right now, I live on a lake. There’s woods all around us and we have access to a swimming pool. I couldn’t ask for much more, well, maybe a ranch, with a creek running through it and some horses. I still want to be a cowboy when I grow up.

What do you like about the town you live in? I LOVE DENVER! It’s the best city in the US. Really, we have mountains, we have seasons, we kind of have water, or at least access to lakes and reservoirs. We have anything cultural that you would expect from a big city. It’s still small enough that you can get anywhere in half an hour to an hour. Our crime rate is low and we’re a great city for small businesses.