James is an architect and planner with special interests in sustainable design, historic preservation, facility management and land use master planning. Born in Minnesota and raised in the country on farms in northeast Iowa , southeastern Minnesota, and western Wisconsin he graduated from the University of Minnesota and has worked on projects located in Alaska, California, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with USKH Inc. (Anchorage AK), RIM Architects (Anchorage AK), GSA (San Francisco CA), JRB Group Architects (Arlington Heights IL), Borhani Associates (Manhattan KS), Dynamac Corporation (Rockville MD), Yaggy Colby Associates (Rochester MN), and Somerville, Inc. (Green Bay WI). Most recently, James returned to Minnesota from Alaska where he had been design and construction project manager for the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau AK.
James has also served as historical architect at Fort Riley, Kansas, architectural historian and historical architect for the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology (AK SHPO); and, Regional Historic Preservation Officer for GSA Pacific Region 9. He served as an Advisory Group member of the AIA Historic Resources Committee (2002-2006) and was AIA HRC chair in 2006. James co-chaired the Addressing Security Issue Area Expert Panel of the Preserve America Summit sponsored by the White House and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and served on the Sustainable Preservation Coalition led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
James has authored and co-authored numerous college and university campus master plans, including master plans for University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Nebraska Kearney, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Marinette and was senior planner for facilities planning and programming at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
James is on the Communications and Publications and Development subcommittees of the AIA HRC. He is a nationally recognized speaker promoting historic preservation and sustainable design principles by advocating responsible stewardship of cultural and natural resources - especially historically significant buildings and landscapes.