James Kuester may be the Vice President of Pearl Engineering, but his responsibilities run much, much deeper than that.
A self-proclaimed “man of many hats,” James spends much of his time occupying and taking on the responsibilities of a variety of other roles such as CFO, human resources, marketing, and even IT, when the need arises.
While he admits the duties of a CFO take up a good amount of his time, James enjoys the flexibility of his typical day… or lack thereof.
“I never really have a set schedule,” he said. “With the size of Pearl Engineering, none of my responsibilities are really full-time or take precedence over each other. I can switch my focus as needed. It keeps each day fresh, which is nice.”
The only constants in his schedule are the ones James sets for himself. He joked that if he isn’t at his desk by 7 am he panics, and if he leaves before 4 pm he feels like his day wasn’t full enough.
Building the Pearl Foundation
James knew he wanted to run a business from a very young age, having grown up working within a family-run business in Indianapolis. After getting a Master of Science in Industrial Administration and a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, James had a brief stop in St. Louis before returning to Indiana to take on the family business, Allied Metal Products & Engineering Corp (AMPECO).
In 2001, James sold AMPECO to pursue a new venture in small-business design consulting before joining Pearl Engineering in 2006 alongside his brother-in-law, Jeff Pearl.
Since then, the two have helped take Pearl Engineering to new heights, thanks in part to a “symbiotic relationship” between James and Jeff.
“Although I got a degree in Industrial Engineering, I have always had more of a focus and passion for the business side of engineering,” James said. “While Jeff focuses on meeting and developing relationships with clients, my focus is on the in-house nuts-and-bolts of keeping the business operating.”
Together, James and Jeff have created a strong team at Pearl Engineering, thanks in large part to the extraordinary engineering and design talent that they have been able to bring aboard.
“In the early days, Jeff reached out to engineers and experts he knew and had relationships with. Many of whom had been in the industry for years,” James explained. “This foundation allowed us to then reach out and usher in the next generation of best and brightest engineers, with a strong senior staff behind them to help mentor and pass along wisdom.
“With youthfulness comes the advantages of fresh outlooks, new ways of thinking, understanding and application of the latest technology and methods as well as an infectious youthful energy that spreads throughout the company.”
James was born and reared in Indianapolis, attending Perry Meridian High School.
Not satisfied staying in one place, James said he always wanted to travel. This love has taken James all across the country – 47 out of 50 states – and overseas. Time spent in California and Italy are definite favorites of his.
When he’s not working or traveling, James enjoys spending time outdoors. He spends as much time as he can in Wisconsin’s North Woods hiking and spending time in nature.
James is a former clarinet player and performed in both his high school band and the marching band at Purdue. His father, who still lives in Indianapolis, also marched in Purdue’s band, and James learned to play clarinet on his father’s old one when he was in 4th grade. James’ father has had Purdue football season tickets since 1966, and James grew up attending Purdue football games and watching the Purdue All-American Marching Band.
He dreamed of marching in the Tournament of Roses parade while at Purdue. Unfortunately, Purdue’s football team didn’t hold its part of the bargain. James says, “Getting to travel to Osaka, Japan with the band wasn’t a bad consolation prize.
James is also a member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay and serves on several committees.
If you are in need of creative solutions, let James and the rest of the team at Pearl Engineering be the answer.