Jim grew up in Oak Forest, Illinois. He graduated with a BA from the University of Chicago. In college he was on the National Honor Society, was an Illinois State Scholar and was on the all conference football and baseball teams earning six varsity letters.
In 1983 Jim moved to Arizona where he became a stock broker for four years. During that time he was pursuing an interest in ballroom dancing as a hobby. With his highly competitive spirit he won the U.S National Pro/Am Championships. In 1987 he became a professional Ballroom Dancer and together with his dance partner opened the Academy of Ballroom Dance in Phoenix.
Jim competed professionally in the International Standard and American Smooth for 15 years and was a finalist for 10 years. Together with his partner Jenell he trained with the top coaches in the world. They won every major Smooth and R.S. International Standard Competition in the United States. The highlight of their career was winning two U.S. American Smooth Championships in 1993 and 1994. They have represented the United States in two World Showdance events and many competitions throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
Over the past 20 years Jim has trained many Pro/Am Champions. He has won numerous top teacher awards and his students consistently finish in the top three in the U.S. As a teacher Jim is one of the best communicators of technique and theory in the business. He has an intense love of his work and displays a natural enthusiasm that is contagious. Jim is a licentiate of the Imperial Society Ballroom Branch. He is the co-author of the DVIDA American Smooth Syllabus and an examiner for DVIDA. He currently travels extensively to compete with his students, to coach, lecture and judge competitions.