Where have you been? and what
have you been doing? - - - family, school, career, pastimes, good
EHS 66 Collected Tales
Short summary of my journey
Ahem, I was born at a very early age. We moved to Ohio in 1954 and have
called Columbus my home since then except for my 3.5 years in the
Marine Corps. After working my way thru & graduating from
Ohio State with a degree in mathematics, I volunteered for the
USMC and went on active duty in 1971. I attended boot
camp prior to that and it was just as tough an experience as you can
imagine. I came out of the Marine Corps supremely
self-confident that I could do anything I put my mind to. I got
married to my wonderful wife Celia in 1970 when we both graduated
from OSU. We have been together ever since. I was
stationed in Quantico, VA for a year and then went to Camp Pendleton
for 2.5 years. To this day I try to be the best I can be because
it is true “Once a Marine, Always a Marine”.
We returned to Columbus to be closer to our new daughter’s
grandparents. I used the GI Bill to get my MBA from Ohio State;
and began my next adventure by entering the High Tech Industry.
My leadership skills were pretty good so The General Electric
Company hired me a as Sales Manager for their remote computer
services division. At the time I was the youngest manager ever
hired by GE. I got to meet and talk with Jack Welch a few
times. He is a short beady-eyed intense person; but we somehow
got along well. I stayed there about 6 years and decided to try
the small company world. I tried 3 different small companies
over a 4 year period and they all failed. I then went with a
slightly bigger on in 1989 called Sterling Software. I got in
on the ground floor of “paperless business applications” better known
today as Electronic Commerce. I met several big name business
leaders. My favorite was Sam Walton. The founder of
Walmart took a shine to me and gave me advice about becoming
successful. He said “Jim, keep trying and rember - you win with
people”. Wise words that have helped me a lot. We grew
Sterling Commerce like wildfire from 80 folks to over 2000 worldwide.
We went public and were sold in 2000. By then I was a Sr
VP of Sales & Marketing with over 150 people and over $350M in
revenue. The sale helped me fully understand (and really
appreciate) the word equity. Sterling was good to me.
After the sale I decided to try the small company world again.
This time it worked great. The 5 of us took Internet
Transaction Solutions (ITS) from zero to over $20m in just 5 years.
We sold it for $40m in cash & stock in 2008 Once again I
learned to love an equity event. The company that bought us
asked me to stay on and after they made it worth my while; I did.
After 6 years this company was sold in 2014; and for the 3rd
time I learned about equity. This time the event was smaller;
but still after going 0 for 3, I then went 3 for 3. Go figure!
During all this, we had two wonderful daughters who are now married
to two fine fellows. One daughter & her family live here in
Columbus; while the other lives in Chicago. I keep telling my
children to move to a warmer place; and we will surely follow; but
nope so here we stay.
In 2014 I retired. WHEEEE! Six Saturdays and a Sunday.
My days are filled with grandchildren (3). One
granddaughter in Columbus, and a grandson & granddaughter in
Chicago), golf, staying fit and some volunteering. I am on the
finance committee for our golf club, did 8 years as member of our
condo board, and have beena reading volunteer for Columbus Inner City
Schools. That last one really makes me appreciate just how
blessed I am.
favorite high school memory
Favorite High School Memories –
I enjoyed Mr. Lewis as a teacher. Smart and witty. I got
to know him due to my duties as Senior Treasurer. As I
collected Senior Dues (quite a challenge), I would give the money to
Mr. Lewis during his free period or before/after school. We’d
talk about everything. A good one. I enjoyed my buddies
in high school. Bob Gronek, Glen Mara, and a few more.
Recently I have enjoyed visiting and talking regularly with
Steve Lefebvre and his lovely wife Betsy. For the past several
years I have worked with some fine EHS 66 classmates to plan our
reunions. What a fine group they are. I have gotten to
know them better with the passing of time. I am delighted that
I have done so. The EHS bond is a strong one. I urge you
all to reach out; and give it a chance to do good things for you.
Standout Events – Marriage,
birth of 2 daughters, birth of 3 grandchildren, and saving a young
lady during the riots on the Ohio State campus in 1970.
Protestors were out in great numbers on the Oval in 1970.
I was just walking across campus to my when the Ohio National
Guard sent lots of tear gas into the crowd. I saw a young
pregnant co-ed become overcome by the tear gas and fall to the
groung. Remembering my gas training, I soaked my hanker-chief
in water and put it over my nose & mouth to breathe. I ran
out to get her. As I got closer the gas got thicker &
thicker. I got down on the ground and crawled to her. She
was alert; but hysterical. I gave her my hankie and told her to
use it to breathe. I took a deep breath and dragged her back
out to the outer edges of the crown. I quickly found an aid
station. She told the medics she was 7 months pregnant; so they
immediately whisked her away in an ambulance to OSU Hospital. I
walked to my car and drove home. I never saw or heard from her
again; but I like to think she & her baby are doing well.
Little Known Trip – Between our
freshman & Sophomore years at Ohio State, Glen Mara and I hopped
into his Austin Healy Sprite and took off for California. We
spent 2 weeks on the road visiting all kinds of places. Driving
through the rockies via the Rocky Mountain Park Parkway was
spectacular. We were whizzing along over 10,000 feet high with
no guard rail at the time. We stopped once and went down the
side of a mountain. We found a stream coming out of the
mountain & drank our fill. The water was splendid; and I
can still taste it. We got home fine and were the envy of our
You’ve come a long way in 55
years. Where are you going in the next five years?
Where are you going in 5 years?
- I’m not quite sure yet. I’d like to take a tour of the
great National Parks of the West, go on some kind of European cruise,
and for sure continue to play as much as I can with my grandchildren.