Jim began his career as a planner with the Marin County (CA) Planning Department and has 30 years of experience in single and multi-family residential development in California and Washington. Jim was Vice President of Fredricks Development Inc. (large residential California developer) from 1972 to 1975, President of Acacia Construction Inc. from 1975 until 1980 (medium size California residential developer) which developed the 33 home Portola Place affordable project in La Habra, CA featured on the cover of Professional Builder Magazine in 1981 with the headline “Smaller is Smarter”. After moving to the Seattle area in 1981 continued small-scale development and from 1986 to 1980 was Country Director for Save the Children’s Afghan Refugee Program in Pakistan. Jim was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan 1966-1968.
Between 1997 to 2007 The Cottage Company completed seven communities, most of which received national and regional awards. They are considered models for the shift to “better rather than bigger”, for green building, and for restoring community to suburban neighborhoods as well. The Third Street Cottages in Langley, WA was the first “cottage housing development” in the country and led to innovative single-family land use codes nationwide. As a result of the Danielson Grove demonstration project, in December 2007 the City of Kirkland, WA adopted the first single-family zoning code provision in the nation based on floor area per acre as an option to dwelling units per acre.
Jim is deeply committed to sustainability. In 2009 and 2010 he was a consultant to an Australian based company that manufactured certified small volume equipment to treat graywater to AU/EU recycled water standards for toilet flushing, laundry, surface irrigation and car washing. With Jim’s consultancy the company decided not to enter the US market because of regulatory barriers. Jim continues to be an advocate for a paradigm shift in the US to support onsite wastewater treatment systems that are common in Australia and the European Union, as they can reduce water consumption by more than 30% in California.
Jim was born and raised in Napa, California. He has a BA in Economics from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Jim has been on several national award juries and a speaker or panelist at many housing forums. Jim is actively involved in conversations with municipalities and public groups who seek to create new, more sustainable housing choices in their communities. Jim has been a Harvard GSD instructor, and an Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel member.