After a stint in the US Army Jim finished his undergraduate degree at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, before attending three years of graduate school at the Museum of Natural History, The University of Kansas, Lawrence. From there he went to the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, where he worked for two years, and then on to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, where he worked for four years on snake and alligator ecology. He joined the staff of the South Carolina State Museum in 1987 and remained at that institution until his retirement in 2010, serving as Director of Collections and Chief Curator of Natural History. During his time at the SC State Museum his main research emphasis was in Vertebrate Paleontology, but after his retirement he “rediscovered his roots” and went back to the study of Herpetology. He has made six trips to Panama, five centered on the herpetofauna of Cocle Province, which has resulted in several coauthored short publications and one book. His last trip focused his attention on the herpetofauna of the Azuero Peninsula.