Meet the Chairman: Jim Watson

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Jim Watson
Jim Watson

Member Profiles will be a regular feature of the PCAA newsletter to help us become better acquainted with each other. Because this is the first issue of the newsletter, we thought it appropriate to profile our founding President of the Board of Directors, Jim Watson.

Jim Watson’s involvement as president of the Probation Community Action Association is but one example of his community Service.

As a developer specializing in commercial projects, Jim Watson has made a point of working on behalf of worthwhile community organizations and causes to improve the quality of life in the communities where he lives and works.

Jim, who is 53, opened his own business, Watson and Associates, in
1971 and maintains an office in a commercial plaza he built across from the Seal Beach Pier. If you eat at the
Koi Restaurant or at McDonald’s in the Bay City Center at 5th Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach, you’re eating in a commercial complex that Jim developed in 1981.

Jim lives in Seal Beach with his wife, Judy. There, he has helped to sponsor an annual 10K run on behalf of the American Cancer Association for 13 years and he ran the race for 10 years. He contributes to local graffiti removal and to an educational foundation for troubled youth.

Jim says his company “was in the right place at the right time” when the city fathers in Huntington Park in Los Angeles County began earnestly promoting redevelopment in the early 1980s. As a result, his company undertook 17 projects in the city, mostly commercial ventures, and is working on an 18th.
Jim works with a handful of other Huntington Park businessmen to raise funds for the Southeast Rio Vista Family YMCA, hicks serves Huntington Park and several nearby cities. His “Friends of the Kids” committee has raised about $500,000 for the YMCA over the past decade

Eighteen of his firms’ 20 employees work in Seal Beach; the other two are based in the small town of Post Falls, Idaho, on the Washington state border near Canada.

Jim spends about eight days a month in Post Falls, where his firm is developing a massive, 600 acre commercial center along 2 1/2 miles of freeway for tenants such as Fred Meyer, Wal-mart, Toys R Us, and a major entertainment center. Post Falls is located between Spokane, Washington and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, within shopping and driving distance of one million people.

As you might expect, Jim is a member of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Spokane River Association, and Idaho Drug-Free Youth. His firm also provides financial support to youth sports in the Post Falls area.

Jim has known Michael Schumacher for about 20 years, even before Dr. Schumacher became Orange County’s Chief Probation Officer in 1979.

Jim’s interest in the Probation Community Action Association stems from a feeling of helplessness in dealing with increasing crime and graffiti. Through PCAA, he can be part of the solution to crime, he says. A father of two sons in their twenties, Jim says he is concerned about the legacy that is being left for our children and grandchildren.

Reproduced from the first quarterly PCAA Newsletter, 1994