Jim Rowell

Jim Rowell
District Chair 1
Occupation: Retired. Western Carolina University, Sr. Director of Marketing and Promotion
Counties: Jackson, Macon, Swain, Clay, Cherokee and Graham

Q1: How did you become involved in SEANC? Many years ago, my boss and our administrative assistant took me by the hand and said, “We’re taking you to dinner.” It turned out to be the NCSEA Area 12 annual meeting. Before the night was over, I had joined the association and volunteered to do all kinds of association stuff. After we merged and changed our name, I was elected as the first SEANC District 1 Chair. I remember sitting down with employees to write bylaws that would join us all together. I thought the process would be difficult, but as state employees most always do, we found common ground and it went smoothly.

Q2: What offices have you held in SEANC? I have held just about every district office and believe in encouraging others. For example, one year as District Chair, I encouraged the district secretary to run for chair because I knew she could do the job. She just needed a little confidence to go for it. She agreed to run for district chair if I agreed to be her district secretary. The next year she was District 1 Chair and I was District 1 Secretary. On the state level, I have served on many committees including Scholarship, Finance, Long-range planning, and Executive Director Search.

Q3: What has been the most rewarding part of being active in SEANC? My friendships and relationships with different folks across the state whose jobs were very different from mine. It gave me a whole new perspective. For example, I met Percy Underdue while we were both serving on the Scholarship Foundation Board. We found out we had a lot in common and became good friends. I would never have had the opportunity to meet Percy had it not been for my SEANC involvement.

Q4: What do you wish everyone knew about SEANC? SEANC is an extremely strong advocate for state employees and retirees, often against some long odds. For example, when dollars are short in the state coffers, asking to expand or protect state benefits is a tough task. We ask our lobbyists to work miracles. And often, they do!

Q5: What are your hobbies? I enjoy teaching downhill snow skiing, piloting airplanes, and managing the local airport. In addition, my wife and I volunteer for the North Carolina Guardians ad Litem program. We assist abused and neglected children by advocating for their best interests in court.

Q: Tell us about your family: Next year will be our 50th wedding anniversary. We have three children and five grandchildren ranging in ages from 16 to 5 years old.

Q: What is an interesting fact about you that people should know? I have been a snow ski instructor for 30 years. I worked for many years wearing a tie. So, it surprises folks when they see me in a ski instructor jacket teaching a ski class. I do it because it is cheaper than therapy.