Jim was born in Chicago in 1953. His father was an engineer who built facilities for Swift & Co., his mother was a school teacher. He has a brother and a sister, and grew up in Barrington, Illinois. He went to the University of Chicago for undergrad and for his MBA. He worked for twenty years in Texas, ten years in Dallas and ten years in Austin. His time in Austin was spent working for Dell Computer. He was cost accounting manager for the Americas and later put in two major computer systems implementations -- one to improve and coordinate cost accounting data, and one to process computers returning from lease.
His parents retired to the family property, always called "the farm", near Douglas, Michigan in 1980. The farm originally belonged to Jim's great-grandparents who came there in 1919. Jim left Dell in 2003 to take care of his elderly mother in her home on the farm, and those were great years. His sister, Dee Dee, built her own home there in 2004 and sells real estate in Saugatuck-Douglas, the best place on the planet. Jim helps her with her business these days. He writes, draws, translates, conducts genealogical researches, and designs websites, among other things..