James E. Russell
James (Jim) Russell was born in Sandpoint Idaho in 1933 and grew up in North Idaho as one of six children of Alex and Mae Russell. He played multiple sports at Sandpoint High School and graduated in third in his class in 1951.
In 1952, he enrolled in engineering at the University of Idaho assisted by an academic and citizenship scholarship. He served on the Social Activities Committee, was a member of the Intercollegiate Knights, was an All Star in two intramural sports, completed ROT C and was president of his Living Group, Independent Students and the Senior Class of 1956. Upon graduation in 1956, he received an Army commission and accepted an engineering job at RCA in Lancaster, Penn., where he worked for one year and obtained a patent for the company in power tube design and manufacturing.
From 1957-1960, Russell served as an Army officer at the Redstone Arsenal Guided Missile School in Huntsville, Ala., where he directed 75 instructors teaching missile guidance and propulsion courses for U.S. and foreign military personnel. He established the first military course in transistors and Werner Von Braun’s missile experts participated in the course, not long thereafter the United States launched the nation’s first satellite.
Russell worked for the Operations Research Office, John Hopkins University, a Federal Contract Research Center in 1960 and then from 1961-1972, for the Research Analysis Corporation (RAC) in McLean, Va., when Congress directed that the work be transitioned to the private non-profit. While at RAC he completed 46 hours of graduate study in mathematical statistics at American University and learned how to apply operations research methods from RAC’s OR pioneers. He became a leading expert in communications security associated with radio frequency and call sign assignments for tactical radio networks and lead a team applying operations research techniques to automate radio frequency assignments for Army units in Europe. This led to Russell becoming the featured speaker at the military executive course in Operations Research and Systems Analysis (ORSA) several dozen times.
In 1969, at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he spent six weeks with land, sea and air military units in eight countries in the Pacific including Vietnam and on the Laos border evaluating serious military communication security issues and recommending improvements.
In 1972 when Congress directed that RAC be sold, Russell led a team of 20 analysts to join Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) which then was a small employee-owned science and engineering company of 90 people. Initially he led divisions in quantitative analysis and computer systems integration for governmental and commercial organizations in areas such as advanced defense technology, health care, statistical surveys, information management systems and others.
For over 30 years as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development he provided leadership in growth of the company to $6 billion in annual revenue in markets such as defense, health care systems, transportation, law enforcement, energy and environment. In 2004, he transitioned to a consulting employee and has continued to help SAIC grow to $11 billion in annual revenue by 2012.
From 2004 to the present as an independent consultant, senior advisor and private investor, Russell has assisted over 100 innovative technology companies in their development and growth. This includes consulting work with the Foundation for Enterprise Development assisting companies funded under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Small Business Innovative Research program transition a wide variety of advanced technology into use.
During his career, Russell has served as a director on corporate boards, senior corporate advisor, information technology consultant for universities, private investor and a member of several professional and military technology committees. His private foundation provides charitable support to U of I and non-profit organizations fostering science and technology initiatives in the United States. He has enjoyed a lifetime in sports as a player, coach and commissioner and his ongoing favorites are tennis, golf and fishing (especially in Idaho).
He married Virginia (Ginny) Kelley in Sandpoint before moving east in 1956 and they raised two children, James and Debra. The Russell’s currently live in Rockville, Maryland and have a vacation home on the Pend Oreille River near Sandpoint where they enjoy family and friends.