Head clean shaven, Blue Tooth device protruding from his ear, Jim Black likes to joke that he resembles a cyborg. He certainly exudes an inhuman level of energy. With a Ph.D. in systems science and a successful computer consulting career under his belt, Jim has shifted his focus over the past few years to management, explaining that with all the outsourcing of programming jobs overseas, his calling these days is to “help my students find a way to stay here in Vermont and succeed. That’s going to be with a certain amount of technology but it’s also going to take creativity and imagination.”
Jim has plenty of both. From the time his six children were young, he assigned each a mythical character and continues to tell them fantasy stories continuing the saga of their mythical lives. He also likes to publish riddles for his partner, the concert pianist Paula Ennis, in local newspapers.
His leadership, knowledge and skills are recognized both in and outside of Johnson State. In fall 2012, Jim was elected to serve as president of the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), a private, not-for-profit corporation sponsored by Lamoille County businesses and municipalities as well as the state of Vermont.
As chair of the Lamoille County Republican Committee, he is working to build a base of Republican faculty members, as well as a coalition of conservative students, around the state. By conservative he means “fiscally conservative,” Jim says. “I tell people a Republican in Vermont is a Democrat everywhere else.”