Family, cycling, running & reading for this father of four CFO

Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Almost a year into US-based ACL Airshop as its Chief Financial Officer, James W. Harris is already at home, despite having spent most of his working life in the energy services sector, simply because the skills he has developed are transferrable to any business. That’s called agility, flexibility and adaptability. There is another aviation angle to it too, his father was a career US Navy pilot.

As a career-minded professional, Harris is a quick learner, with significant experience with leasing businesses that are embedded in a broader service offering. “I have found my skill set to be useful for ACL Airshop’s business, helping the commercial team structure attractive long-term contracts that are beneficial for our customers and for ACL.”

In a career spanning over three decades, many in the energy sector, Harris who played key role in several acquisitions in his earlier avatar, believes “any successful and thriving organization should achieve admirable growth trajectories by exploiting organic opportunities available to it, like ACL Airshop has been doing throughout its 30-year history.

Any inorganic growth through acquisitions should complement the base business and serve to make the combined enterprise stronger and more defensible, not just bigger. It does feel good to be part of a business that is increasing its span of operations, providing meaningful growth opportunities for its employees, and constantly enhancing the service offering to its customers. I feel at home in that regard at ACL Airshop. The team at ACL Airshop has welcomed me and enabled me to get involved in the business in meaningful ways, and that is important to me. The entire organizational culture is built around being highly responsive to customer requirements with creative solutions.”

Life is not all about work, right? Harris has a nice work-life balance, spending time with his family – wife and four children with the youngest graduating from school this year – especially hiking and being on the beautiful lakes in South Carolina.

And he is extremely proud of his children, describing them as “nice human beings and highly successful in their respective fields.”

Harris also enjoys reading and one book ‘Younger Next Year’ keeps guiding him on how to enhance life experiences through relationships and fitness.

“I enjoy running and cycling, and I have participated in several fundraising events over the years around those activities,” he shared. He participated in Pursuit to help awareness of Americans with intellectual and development disabilities and to provide critical funds for the Center in Houston, Texas.

“For this specific event, a friend was riding his bicycle from the west coast to the east coast of the United States with sponsors to raise awareness and money for this important group, and I joined him and a small group for the leg from Minneapolis to Chicago, about 500 miles of challenging terrain. I find it fulfilling to help any worthy cause while doing something fun with people that I respect.”

Harris knows Japanese having lived in and around the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido. He admires the Japanese for their discipline, organisational skills and the pride they take in their long history.