Articles by Jim Morris

My Eclectic Journey: Habitat for Humanity’s CEO Jim Morris

Monday, November 21st, 2011

(Since Jim Morris has been recently (March) selected as the CEO for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis, Indy Smallbiz thought it would be a good idea for its readers to become familiar with him and his aspirations for the local Habitat for Humanity. Jim Morris will tell his own story of the formative experiences that have led him to his current job as CEO and contributed to his preparation for his current role. In a subsequent article the specific activities of Habitat for Humanity will be discussed and how persons can become involved.)

My roots are in Indiana. I grew up in Michigan City, Indiana in a working class city neighborhood, and we lived in a two-bedroom, 1100sq ft. home built by my grandfather. In high school I played sports, both baseball and football. I also wrote for the school newspaper, eventually becoming the editor my senior year, and was in the honor society, so I was involved in two worlds that usually don’t overlap, sports and writing and scholarship.

With this overlap of interests, it was natural that I might go in the direction of sports journalism. Maybe I would be another Bob Costas. So I attended Ball State University, majoring in Journalism, thinking that I was going to be a sports journalist or working in some field related to media relations or sports writing. I also participated in a social fraternity, Delta Tau Delta and became the president of the Order of Omega Greek Honor and continued my love for sports by playing intramural leagues in basketball, softball and football.

With the internship that I served while at Ball State came some perks (about those later in the paragraph). The internship was given to those who were excelling in the sports information, media relations department at the school. For one semester I worked as an intern for the Indiana Pacers in the media relations department under then Media Relations Director and eventual marketing chief, Dale Ratermann. My main role was to be the liaison for the visiting locker room during the games, interviewing the players and helping to find the players for the media when needed. This was during the Golden Age of the NBA, so I was helping to facilitate interviews for Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. Balancing out my duties on the more pedestrian side, I would also help with the statistics and writing for the program.

I graduated with a journalism degree, but began to pursue the public relations end and did not find much in the way of work in that area in 1990, so I began in sales for Davis Homes, which set off a career in residential building and development. I also worked as a manufacturer’s rep for Velux Skylights. My territory was the state of Indiana. The early training in the residential industry and sales and marketing helped teach me a lot about business and sales in particular. I learned that I was pretty good at sales, but loved teaching first-time home buyers how to buy their first home. I was selling our homes, but I found that the teaching aspect and guiding people through the process was the most fulfilling. I also gravitated toward marketing more than sales as I continued in the residential building industry (note applicability of construction experience for my current position).

Off to Florida
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