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James M. Sharpe  

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Jim Sharpe is a Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management unit. He teaches second year electives on turnarounds(EMTE) and on running small businesses(RSME) and has taught The Entrepreneurial Manager(TEM), a first year required course. His interests are in the areas of business acquisitions, manufacturing, B2B niche marketing, turnarounds, pricing, leadership, family balance, large/small company differences, ethics, exit strategies and employee empowerment.

Prior to joining the faculty, Jim was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence during the 2009-2010 academic year counseling students and alumni and contributing to the Harbus.

Jim sold Extrusion Technology, an aluminum extrusion fabricator, in December 2008 to a private equity firm. The company, purchased in 1987, after an 11 month search, grew from $4MM to $32MM developing a value added products niche in the Datacomm/Telecom electronics markets and a supplemental factory in Xiamen, China to support their 50% export sales. The process and early years are the subject of a HBS First Year case in TEM.

After taking on substantial debt, Jim transformed the second generation, family owned business. A focus on quality led to early qualification for ISO-9000 in 1992 and emphasis on lead time reduction and lean manufacturing techniques resulted in a Bronze Shingo award in 2008. After a first failed attempt to sell the business in 2000, Jim recruited a CEO and developed a management team that allowed for a successful exit strategy 8 years later.

Family focus was a high priority for Jim who hired his wife, Debby Stein Sharpe MBA81, as CFO in 1988, contrary to advice from his Advisory Board. After their two sons were born, he made time to walk the kids to school, make lunches and be available for school activities, soccer and juggling. Debby and Jim adopted their daughter at age 5 while the boys were in elementary school.

Jim has a BSBA degree from Babson College and after graduating from HBS in 1976, joined General Electric and moved on to Product General Manager positions within the GE materials businesses where he met Debby. After 5 years, he left GE to run 3 turn-around situations which prepared him to strike off on his own in 1987.

He is engaged in biking, juggling, public speaking, mentoring, various board positions, website development, philanthropic activities, investments and involvement the YPO/WPO organizations.

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