January 2015

Urban Wheel Awards

The Supplier of the Year award went to John James of James Group International

MVSU Foundation Support

On Saturday, January 31, the Mississippi Valley State University Foundation partnered with Magnolia Automotive Services, Inc. to award $15,000 to four MVSU students in the Engineering Technology Program. Magnolia Automotive Services President, Lorron James and Plant Manager, Andrew Burks presented the scholarship award during the MVSU National Alumni Association general body meeting on campus. The MVSU Foundation-Magnolia Automotive Services Scholarship was awarded to Kendrick Woods, Datreion Eatmon, Tommie Moore, and Geoffrey Dugger-Briggs. Each recipient received $3,750.

Dr. Constance G. Bland, Vice President of Academic Affairs, affirmed, “We are elated that such an opportunity is being facilitated by our Foundation and salute the leaders of Magnolia Automotive Services.  I echo the sentiments of our Engineering Technology students, faculty, and staff in acknowledging how grateful we are for your support.”

Meet the Boss: James Group Exec Relishes Key Role in Family Business – Detroit Free Press

Lorron James and his older brother John, both of James Group International, are in line to take the reins ofthe auto supply company when their father, also John, retires as chairman and CEO.

The 30-year-old vice president of business affairs said despite his earlier notions to the contrary, working in a family business is a dream job that will let him continue his father’s legacy — and create his own.

He also said one of the lessons he learned is “to do a little more listening than talking.”

James, who played football at Arizona State University, said that for years he was certain he didn’t want to work at the company his dad founded.

Instead, the younger James said, he wanted to make his own way in another field.

“I’m a big sports nut,” said James. “I wanted to be a part of a sports management program.”

But, even after he took a job working for the Arizona Diamondbacks as the community affairs coordinator, nearly two thousand miles from his hometown of Detroit, folks who knew and worked with his dad in Detroit kept asking him when he was going to come back to the Motor City and follow in his father’s footsteps.

“After the 20th person asked me that question I thought: ‘Maybe this is what I need to do,’ ” he recalled.

James — who said his mother, Sharon, took the ‘ron’ out of her name to come up with the unusual spelling of his name — now lives in Royal Oak and is looking for a home in Detroit. He said that in addition to helping to run a company, he also wants to be a part of shaping the city — and supporting other black business owners.

His father, he said, struggled in the 1960s and ’70s to create what is now a $110-million company. He started by hauling beer, and later auto parts. Gradually, the company grew. It now has ties to Ford, General Motors and Toyota, and ships products to countries all over the world.

James added that in the nearly seven years he has worked at the company, he has learned a lot from his father and other mentors.

One of the most significant lessons, he said, has been to listen.

Early on, he said, he had “all these grand ideas of how to change things.” But, he found when he sat down with others — such as his dad — took time to ask questions, understand their thinking and consider what they told him, he said he got more support for his own way of thinking.

“As long as you can show some humility, more people are willing to help you,” he said.


Michigan Gov. Approves Bridge Permit to Canada

Excerpt from The Detroit News article:

The Obama administration has approved a presidential permit clearing the way for a new $2 billion six-lane bridge crossing between Detroit and Windsor — hailed by Michigan and Canada as a way to boost trade and create thousands of jobs.

The State Department, which informed Michigan and Canadian officials of the planned decision late Thursday, formally announced approval on Friday. The lengthy review was in part to ensure that the decision can survive multiple legal challenges of the New International Trade Crossing.

“This is huge,” Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday afternoon in announcing the permit. “It’s more than a bridge to me. It’s about jobs and our future in this state.”

U.S. and Canadian officials hailed the presidential permit as a step toward strengthening trading relations between the two countries.

“It’s a real significant step forward for everybody,” Canada Labor Minister Lisa Raitt said at the announcement.

“We have taken today what is undoubtedly the greatest relationship between two neighbors anywhere in the world and we’ve made it a little better,” said David Jacobson, U.S. ambassador to Canada. “And that’s something to be proud of.”

Click here to read the full article here.

View the Press Conference hosted by Renaissance Global Logistics:

Vetpreneurs – A Black Enterprise Article

In Baghdad, Capt. John E. James led two U.S. Army aviation platoons in combat operations. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, James’ primary duties were those of platoon leader and battle captain/assistant operations officer. Working with another assistant and under a commander, James planned, managed and synchronized the deployment of 24 Apache and 10 Black Hawk helicopters. A graduate of West Point, James has flown nearly 1,200 hours and been awarded several combat medals, but he says his greatest achievement is bringing all his soldiers home alive and physically unharmed in 2009.

When James, 31, was honorably discharged in February, he went to work for his family’s Detroit-based 150-employee business, James Group International (No. 81 on the Be Industrial / Service Companies list with $30.1 million in revenues). The company, which does logistics work for Ford, General Motors, and Toyota, was started by James’ father in 1971. About a year away from completing his master’s in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University, James has already increased JGI’s efficiency. For instance, he implemented JGI’s enterprise resource planning for information technology, or ERP / IT. system in conjunction with Ford, giving the automaker greater visibility of product in the supply chain.



30 In Their Thirties

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, John E. James was responsible for planning, managing, and synchronizing the deployment of 24 Apache and 10 Blackhawk helicopters during his second tour of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He says his greatest achievement was bringing back all of the soldiers alive and the aircraft intact. “If you show people the right path and show that you care about them, you’re going to have a much better team and get better results,” says James, who earned a master’s degree in supply chain management at Penn State University. In January, following 12 years in the military, he joined James Group International, a global logistics and supply management firm in Detroit that works primarily in the automotive industry. In addition to upgrading the company’s supply management operations, James has worked to improve internal communications between six separate facilities. “Progress can only be deployed rapidly when a team aggregates its successes and minimizes its mistakes,” he says. —R.J. King

Read the Whole Article

40 Years and Forward, Celebration of 40 Years in Business


Mr. John A. James, Founder and owner of James Group International, is proud to announce and celebrate his 40th year of being in business in the city of Detroit. The company is located on Detroit’s Riverfront at the corner of Clark and Fort Streets in an empowerment zone. To commemorate this event, the company hosted a private gala at their site on the anniversary date, July 21, 2011.

James Group International was founded in 1971 with one truck that operated only in the Midwest. Over the years, the company has grown and is one of Ford Motor Company’s largest U. S. based international exporters of automotive parts. James Group has also formed alliances with General Motors, Toyota and McKesson Pharmaceutical Corporation.

A crowd of over three hundred guests gathered as Mr. James was honored not only as a successful businessman, but also as a visionary, trailblazer and respected mentor to many who come after him in this industry both locally and nationally. His efforts and accomplishments in the community were applauded by distinguished guests such as Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, State of Michigan Lt. Governor, Brian Calley, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Mr. Edsel Ford II and his son, Henry Ford III, Ford Motor Company, Mr. Bob Socia Vice Pesident, Worldwide Purchasing for General Motors Corporation. Other close business acquaintances, friends and relatives were in attendance.

Ms Rhonda Walker of WDIV served as mistress of ceremony.