Jim Sharpe is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Arthur Rock Center in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at the Harvard Business School. Jim has been involved with Harvard Business School for over 6 years as both a Senior Lecturer in the Executive Education and MBA program and as an Entrepreneur in Residence. He has taught the first year course on entrepreneurship(TEM), a second year elective on turnarounds(EMTE) and designed an elective course on running small enterprises(RSME).
His teaching and mentoring interests are in the areas of search acquisitions, manufacturing, operations, B2B niche marketing, pricing, leadership, family balance, dual-career couples, large/small company differences, ethics, exit strategies and employee empowerment. As an investor, he has ownership positions in more than two dozen entrepreneurial companies. He writes a blog on search and running SME's. www.jimsteinsharpe.com
Extrusion Technology, an aluminum extrusion fabricator owned by Jim, was sold to a private equity firm in December 2008. The company was purchased in 1987 after an 11 month self-funded search. Taking on substantial debt and securing 100% of the equity, Jim transformed the second generation, family owned business by growing it from $4MM to $32MM. He developed value added products in the Datacomm/Telecom electronics market and established a second factory in Xiamen, China. A focus on quality led to qualification for ISO-9000 in 1992 and emphasis on lead time reduction and lean manufacturing techniques resulted in a Bronze Shingo award in 2008.
Family focus has been a high priority for Jim who hired his wife, Debby Stein Sharpe, HBS’81 and MIT’76, as CFO in 1988, contrary to advice from his Advisory Board. He made time to walk the kids to school, make their lunches and be available for school activities. Debby and Jim adopted their daughter at age 5 while their two boys were in elementary school.
Jim has a BS degree from Babson College and after graduating from Harvard Business School in 1976, joined General Electric where he occupied a series of Product General Manager positions. After 5 years, he left GE to run 3 turn-around situations which prepared him to strike off on his own in 1987.
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