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LOUIS E. JAMES
President & Chief Executive Officer Solutions for Energy Efficient Logistics (SEEL) JASCO International, JATDCO, QIC
A Super Entreprenuer
By Donald James
In the ever-changing world of business, there are entrepreneurs...and there are "super entrepreneurs." Louis E. James is the latter. For more than three decades, James has masterfully owned and operated an array of companies that primarily service the automotive industry, and more recently, the energy industry. With vast knowledge in such areas as operations, sales, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, he has become one of the nation's most savvy, innovative, and successful "ultra entrepreneurs" - black or white.
One of James' latest business ventures is Solutions for Energy Efficient Logistics (SEEL). Since its inception in 2009, SEEL, an energy program management company, has raised national eyebrows so much that the company received the coveted "Andromeda Star of Energy Award" for outstanding work in energy conservation. With James at the helm, SEEL is one of the first and largest companies of its type in the nation that's owned and operated by an African American.
In addition to SEEL, James owns and operates JASCO International, a progressive chain management solutions company; JATDCO, a precision stamping, assembly and inventory management company; QIC, a business that provides quality containment, sorting, inspection and engineering service; and JAMCAM, a maintenance repair and operations company. Ever the visionary entrepreneur, James also heads a few non-automotive and energy ventures, such as an 8,000-goat farm in his home state of Mississippi. "When I look for opportunities, there are always experts and subject matter experts out there," he explains. "I run companies, so I go out and find the best people in their areas of expertise and help develop and train them to become great operators for my companies."
In addition to overseeing his various business interests, James also serves as chairman of the powerful Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. In this capacity, he promotes Detroit as a freight transportation and distribution hub for the Midwest sector of the United States, as well as for southwestern Ontario (Canada) businesses. Before his appointment, he served as vice-chair (four years) and on the Port's board of directors (eight years). "Detroit was founded as a port," says James. "We want to take it back to its proper place in the global industry as being a great port that will play a pivotal role in the resurgence of Detroit. We are also looking for ways to develop the entire riverfront."
James' quest to do well in business can be traced to his hometown of Starkville, Mississippi, where growing up, he and his siblings were encouraged to seek education as a passport to success. With business on his mind, he entered Mississippi Valley State University to prepare for the future. After earning a bachelor's degree in business administration, he joined the United States Army and served in Vietnam. Following an honorable discharge, he moved to Chicago before coming to Detroit...and as they say, the rest is history.
While success in business is a huge part of the Louis E. James' story; it's not the entire story. Family helps define who he is. He is married to Pamela James, Ph.D. The couple has two adult daughters and two grandchildren.
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