Jim has over 4 decades of executive leadership experience in the aviation industry. After graduating from the University of Texas-Permian Basin in 1975 with a BBA in Aviation Management, Jim worked as a supervisor at Madison-Cooper Airport in Waco, Texas. In 1977, he joined the City of Houston’s Aviation Department and rose to the position of Airport Manager at William P. Hobby Airport in 1980. When Houston acquired Ellington Air Force Base as a general aviation reliever airport in 1982, Jim’s responsibilities were expanded to include management of both airports.

In 1985, Jim was named Vice President of Ground Operations for Southwest Airlines in Dallas, Texas. Given his previous experience, he was also named Emergency Director. In 1991, the Board of Directors for Southwest appointed Jim to the Executive Planning Committee, thereby elevating his position to Executive Officer, and in 1998, he was promoted to Executive Vice President. In 1999, Jim was named Chief Operating Officer and for the next 6 years he directed among many other duties, airport security, charters, environmental affairs, flight operations, fuel administration, ground operations, maintenance and engineering, properties and facilities, and safety. Jim served on the Air Transport Association’s Senior Advisory Committee and was a member of the FAA Air Traffic Management Steering Group.