Director, Information Systems, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Champaign
Class Year: 1999
James had a strong desire to become an executive in information systems.
Leaving the Marine Corps after 12 years of service (where he had started working in information technology), he chose Parkland College to begin his higher learning experience.
“I hadn’t been in school for 12 years! I knew I had to start over; I had the technical experience, but wanted to be an executive, so I knew I needed a degree.”
James found guidance, patience and a listening ear in Mwansa Mandela of the Counseling and Advising Center. A Parkland counselor since 1991 who specialized in student health and wellness, Mwansa has helped hundreds of students like James “identify their skills and then point them in the appropriate academic concentration.”
“I knew I had to have a plan and work that plan. I spent a lot of time in the Counseling department going over and over my dream, with Mwansa and other counselors.”
After Parkland, James earned the B.S. in Business and Organizational Leadership from Illinois State University. “I didn’t have to take extra general education classes at ISU because of my Parkland degree.”
As director of information systems at Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Champaign, where he’s worked for more than six years, James manages a staff of six technicians and handles the company’s web development.
James also gives back to future generations of Parkland students, as a member of Parkland’s Career Program Advisory Board (Computer Network Administrator/Support Specialist area).