Jim Freitas - Pepperdine 40 over 40 | Pepperdine University

Jim Freitas

Jim Freitas

Snohomish, Washington

Title: Managing Director, Product Marketing and Analysis

Company: Boeing Commercial Airplanes

  

AT A GLANCE:

Graziadio School of Business and Management Class of 2014

MBA, Business Management 

PKE 132

How has your Pepperdine experience impacted your personal and professional success?

Participating in the Graziadio School of Business and Management Presidents and Key Executives (PKE) MBA program was a life and career changing experience. The relationships formed with my faculty and cohort were both impactful and lasting. Career-wise, the PKE MBA opened new opportunities for me in executive leadership, allowing me to move from design engineering leadership to a key marketing leadership role.

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career:

I have been fortunate to be in leadership roles developing, testing and supporting some of Boeing's most successful airplanes (777, 787, and 737). But my most significant accomplishment is seeing the personal career growth of young people that I have been able to mentor. Seeing people grow in their skills and abilities and then make great contributions is very rewarding. Knowing they will mentor others makes it almost eternal.

Who or what inspires you? Tell us why.

I am awed and inspired every day by my four daughters. My youngest, Kimberly (16) is an amazing artist who wants to travel the world. My next youngest, Katie (18) is an imaginative writer who is constantly evolving a compelling story line. My next youngest, Hannah (25) is a flight attendant with a major US carrier – she IS traveling the world. My oldest, Jessica (27) is a lawyer in Washington, DC – she is ready to change the world!

Are you where you thought you would be in life when you were in college?

I grew up in Bakersfield and went to undergraduate school at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. There I studied aeronautical engineering, dreamed of marrying my college sweetheart, moving to Southern California and designing airplanes. Dreams one and two worked out beautifully - Laurie and I got married and moved to Southern California. Unfortunately, my job at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach was debugging 100,000 line Fortran computer codes, not designing airplanes. So we modified the dream in 1990 and moved to Seattle where Boeing offered me the chance to design commercial airplanes. Then after 25 years in product development, I branched into commercial airplane customer support and then into marketing. The opportunities I have been afforded in this industry are far beyond what I could have imagined growing up or in college. I have traveled the world and worked with people from a myriad of cultures. It turns out the best part are the relationships that you build, both within the company and with the customers. That is something I never would have imagined.

In five words or fewer, what career or life advice would you give a new college graduate?

Find and be a mentor.

What profession other than your own would you have liked to attempt?

My great-great-grandfather immigrated to California from the Azores Islands in the 1860s. He bought land in central California and raised cows, sheep, and chickens. Every now and then I wonder what it would be like to be a rancher.

What three things could you not live without?

The love of my wife and daughters, the respect of my parents, the grace of God.

How do you unplug?

I love to spend time hanging out with my family. In Southern California we like to hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, ride beach cruisers on the strand, and ride boogie boards in the waves at Huntington Beach. In the Northwest, we like to hike in the Cascade Mountains, water ski in the summer, and snow ski in the winter. Whatever we do, even if we are just driving to church on Sunday morning, my favorite thing is having my whole family in the car with me - they energize me!

Is there a particular quote, mantra, or philosophy that motivates you?

When I think of what I want to accomplish in life and compare that to what I am actually doing, any shortcoming is usually a result of fear. "What happens if I fail?"; "What happens if I let someone down?"; "What happens if things don't go according to my plan?" When doubts grow strong, I like to open the Bible and read what God told Joshua: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

What would your autobiography or memoir be called?

Get going and see what happens.

What's one idea you think could change the world?

Hydroponic biofuels – algae grown in salt water that consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen while growing – providing a nearly carbon-neutral energy source for cars, trucks, and airplanes. 

What's next for you professionally?

Today I have the best job in the Boeing company. Going forward, I plan to work hard and improve my "serve." If I am fortunate to get another opportunity in the company, I will work hard to make that, "the best job in the Boeing Company"! Success is mostly attitude.