John A. James

John A. James, a native of Starkville, Mississippi is Chairman, CEO and founder of James Group International, a group of companies in Detroit, Michigan which offers international supply chain services such as consolidation, deconsolidation, sub-assembly, inventory management, warehousing, distribution, and transportation services. Mr. James received a BS degree in Sociology from Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, MS in 1964. He studied Guidance at the University of Toledo in 1965 and Business Administration at Wayne State University from 1969-1972.

In 1966, Mr. James enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served until 1969. He was a Commissioned Officer in the Corps of Engineers and received a Bronze Star, an Army Commendation Medal, and the equivalents of these awards were issued to him by the Vietnamese Government.

Prior to establishing his own companies Mr. James was employed full time with Chrysler Corporation in Personnel and Labor Relations from 1969 until 1978 when he began to devote all of his time and attention to his companies.

The O-J Transport Company was founded by Mr. James and his uncle, Calvin Outlaw. in July 1971. In 1991, Motor City Intermodal Distribution, a marine terminal and Foreign Trade Zone, was established. Motor City Logistics, which is a warehousing and parts sequencing operation opened in 1993. Renaissance Global Logistics (RGL) was launched in 1998 as a global consolidation operation, packing and exporting automotive component to South Africa, South America, Australia, Asia and Europe. JASCO International, a strategic alliance with Sumitomo Corporation of America and Sumitrans was added to the JGI group in 2000. JASCO International currently has 3 operations – 2 deconsolidation centers for inventory arriving from Japan, Malaysia, Spain, the UK and Korea and a sub-assembly operation in Park City, KY. Motor City Express (MCX) was established in July 2001 to provide truckload transportation services.

Mr. James was the first African American whose company was issued broad operating authority to transport automotive parts and other commodities in the State of Michigan. He is also the first African American nationally to be granted such authority by the interstate Commerce Commission to operate in Interstate and foreign commerce since the ICC began regulating trucking in 1935. Due to his own business experiences, which include taking his case for transportation authority to the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. James makes every effort to share his knowledge and expertise with other minority business entrepreneurs attempting to enter the highly competitive business world. He also gave back by his involvement in community boards and activities such as:

  • Detroit Regional Chamber
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Wayne County Economic Development Board
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of SE Michigan (past chairman)
  • Museum of African American History
  • Coleman A. Young Foundation
  • National Association of Black Automotive Suppliers (NABAS)
  • Michigan District Export Council
  • World Trade Club
  • Transportation Club of Detroit (past chairman)
  • Southwest Detroit Business Association
  • Crimestoppers
  • Citizenship Education Fund
  • APACC
  • African Relief Fund

Some of the awards that have been awarded to John James and his various companies over the years are as follows:

  • 2011 The YES Foundation Distinguished American Award
  • 2011 Crain’s Salute To Entrepreneurs
  • 2011 Mississippi Valley State University Salutes John A. James Keynote Speaker for 2011 Founder’s Day Convocation
  • 2010 Real Times Media – Living Legends Award
  • 2009 Michigan Chronicle – Men of Excellence Award
  • 2008 U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute – Certificate of Appreciation
  • 2008 The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recognizes John A. James as Patriotic Employer for contribution to National Security and protecting Liberty and Freedom by supporting employee Participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.
  • 2007 Ford Motor Company World Excellence Award – Renaissance Global Logistics
  • 2007 Urban Wheels Award Supplier of the Year
  • 2006 and 2007 GM Supplier of the Year – Motor City Express
  • 2006 Ford Manufacturing Excellence Award (Lean Mfg)- Renaissance Global Logistics
  • 2005 Smart Way Transport Partnership – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes John A. James
  • 2003 & 2004 GM Supplier of the Year – Electrical Systems – JASCO
  • 2003 Visteon Facility PPM VQA Award- Motor City Logistics
  • 2002 SCLC-Southern Christian Leadership Council – Legacy of The Dreamer Award
  • 2002 Detroit Branch NAACP’s 1st Annual
  • 2001 Ford Q1 Award- Renaissance Global Logistics
  • 2001 ICIC-INC. Magazine Inner City 100 Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Inc. Magazine on April 26, 2001
  • 2000  Outstanding Member Award in Recognition of Extraordinary Dedication and Service to Transportation Club of Detroit
  • 1998 Ford Motor Company Entrepreneurial Role Model Award on November 17, 1998
  • 1998 The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority 1998 Pacesetter Award
  • 1998 MMBDC- Hank Aguirre Humanitarian Award
  • 1998 Ford Entrepreneurial Role Model
  • 1998 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist- Michigan- (Kauffman Center, USA Today & NASDAQ)
  • 1996 Business Hall of Fame Laureate for Junior Achievement of SE Michigan
  • 1993 Chrysler Corporation Gold Pentastar Award
  • 1988 Minority Women’s Network Man of the Year Award