Profile: Admiral James (Jim) M. Walley, Jr.
Pearson Partners Advisory Board Member
As featured in our Q3 2012 Searchlight newsletter
President, CE2 Solutions Inc.
What was your first job, and what was it like?
My first job following college was with the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. I made two eight-month deployments to Vietnam as a junior officer with the Seabees from 1970 to 1972. Seabees are the Navy’s construction force, and they provide support to the Navy and Marine Corps war efforts. Working in a hostile environment and providing our own defense while building was an experience I will never forget. I learned a great deal about people, discipline, logistics, and the ability to overcome adversity—and I apply all that I learned every day.
What drew you to Pearson Partners?
I met Tom Lamson during one of his searches, and we became friends. We had both served our country in the Navy, and that was the initial basis for our relationship. Then we realized we had a number of mutual friends in the construction and development business. We seemed to have a lot in common, and I thought we could help each other. Over a period of time, he introduced me to key people at Pearson Partners, and I was invited to be a part of the advisory board.
What do you think are some of the key issues or challenges in executive search right now?
Executive search in 2012 is difficult for corporations and executive recruiters, and executives as well. With the economy in “no-growth mode,” individuals who have good jobs are focused on execution and keeping their jobs – not on looking for opportunities. Security is center stage, so there are fewer opportunities. When the economy turns and people are more willing to take a risk, the flood gates may open, but for now it is a lean environment.
What are some highlights of your career so far?
I am honored to have served our country as an officer for 35 years, first on active duty for 11 years and then as a reserve for 24 years. I retired as a Rear Admiral and received a Distinguished Service Medal for my service.
In civilian life, I am most proud of some of the projects that I’ve helped build – examples are high-rise buildings from Cairo to Singapore to San Diego to Dallas to New York.
Describe your leadership style.
Focus. Identify the goals. Hire the right people to accomplish the goals. Communicate the objectives clearly. Validate leadership’s understanding of the objectives. Allow the people you chose to execute objectives. Observe their execution and, only when absolutely necessary, make adjustments. Reward successful attainment. Learn from the process. Repeat.
What is your philosophy or approach when it comes to client relationships?
Clients are friends who are dependent upon your execution. Over time, a mutual interdependence develops that enables both parties to grow, develop and succeed.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
Being a friend and counselor to my three grown children, and being a full-time father to my 11-year-old. Playing golf whenever I can.
What motto do you live by?
Work hard and play hard.
If you had to make a career change tomorrow, what job would you choose, and why?
I am currently working to develop a not-for-profit corporation whose goal is to communicate the financial and social benefits derived from capitalism in the United States. In my opinion, neither our education system nor our federal government appear to understand or appreciate the tremendous benefits derived from the taxes generated on profits, which have traditionally enabled the generosity of individual citizens. I would like to bring those thoughts to the forefront of many of our educational and political discussions. Profits have a multiplying effect for everyone. If more Americans understood and appreciated past and present gifts, it could establish an even more profound impact on future generations.
Learn more about Jim in his executive bio.