James M. Smith, S.E.C.

James M. Smith, S.E.C.

James M. Smith, S.E.C.

James M. Smith was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. He is of direct German descent and his grandparents came to the United States during World War I and located in Leavenworth, Kansas. His mother, Ann, was a homemaker, and his father, Nick, was a business owner during the depression and later worked as an electrician in the local public utility.

Jim has two siblings: a brother Robert, and sister, Carol. As a boy, Jim played baseball in little league and pitched in high school. However, his true loves always have been hunting, fly fishing, and shooting.

After high school, Jim attended Donnelly College prior to serving in the U.S. Air Force. As a military pay and finance specialist, Jim saw many duty stations, including the U.S. Air Force Accounting & Finance Center.

Jim has known his wife, Georgia, since the third grade, when their families lived adjacent to each other. Georgia is a retired elementary school science teacher. In fact, Georgia received a Presidential National Award as a science teacher.

As an adult, Jim has continued his passion for hunting, fishing, and shooting. He is a member of the Single Action Shooting Society, also known as Cowboy Action Shooting. Jim also shoots in trap, skeet, pistol, and rifle competition. When not at the range, you can find Jim with a fly rod in hand at one of his fishing spots.

Jim has been very active in the following civic organizations over the years: Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce, Optimist Club, and the American Legion. He also has given demonstrations to the Boy Scouts through his involvement with the Single Action Shooting Society.

After his air force service, NCR hired Jim to sell accounting and financial equipment to community banks in the Kansas and Missouri area. He achieved numerous awards, including 8 consecutive sales production awards, which was a rare achievement with NCR at that time. After his career with NCR, James moved on to Zenith Data Systems as a regional vice president, where he also received numerous sales awards. Jim was the first person to sign a multi-college contract statewide, which was one of the largest contracts that Zenith ever had secured.

Jim has pursued several life goals that have enabled him to “help a few people along the way,” and have allowed Jim to “make it through life.”

Since 1980, Jim has been an entrepreneur. He has set many business goals over the years, has started many successful businesses, has managed them and sold them for a profit, and then started the process all over again. One example from the late 1980s and early 1990s was a turf technology company. Golf courses had been under pressure for using fertilizers with toxic chemicals. Jim found a non-toxic product with micro nutrients that worked well in the industry. He purchased the rights to distribute the product, and later added other products to the company, specializing in the golf course industry. The product line grew to include flags, pins, and specialty mowing equipment. This led to distributing commercial lawn maintenance equipment with a sales force of six. This company was later sold for a profit.

Another business interest included establishing a national bank charter as a founding investor and the chairman of the Bank Holding Company. After many successful and profitable years of operation, Jim accepted an offer to sell the bank to a large regional banking group. With the sale, Jim, along with his investors, enjoyed a handsome profit.

Jim’s philosophy on real estate and business is not to worry about the world, since you cannot control it. Focus on the business and things that you can control. His focus was on buying underperforming businesses, turning them into profitable businesses, and reselling them. This led to an interest and later expertise in buying underperforming office/warehouse/flex properties, and adding value and reselling them. Due to his conservative nature, Jim avoids high leverage, and he ensures that he is in absolute control of his investments. Jim will acknowledge that one of his weaknesses is that he is sometimes too conservative and not much of a risk taker. His main strengths are his analytical skills.

When asked about his best moment in the real estate business, Jim responded that hopefully he has not had it yet…As an optimist, he is still looking for the best one.

There is no “most significant event in his life” for Jim. Life itself is the most significant event for him. He did not come from a wealthy family, but he has been able to accomplish many things on his own from hard work, a good education, and I might add, sharp business acumen.

From his perspective, the most significant event within the Society of Exchange Counselors came when Jim was admitted as a member. Jim also feels honored to have served on the Board of Governors, as auditor for many years, and on several committees for the Society.

Comments are closed.