James E. MacDougald, was born in Providence, R.I. and grew up as an “Army Brat” as his father spent a 25-year career in the US Army. Jim attended schools in Germany, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Utah, Maryland, Louisiana and Mexico.
After college at the University of Maryland, Jim spent 17 years in the employee benefits division of Home Life Insurance Company of New York, specializing in group health insurance and corporate pension plans, serving in management positions in New Orleans, Jackson, Miss., Washington, DC and New York. He served as Vice President before leaving in 1982 to establish his own company in New Jersey, specializing in assisting employers with administration and compliance of employee benefits regulations including COBRA, HIPAA, and 401K and pension plans. The company, ABR Information Services, Inc., moved to Florida in 1987. In 1994, ABR went public (NASDAQ:ABRX) with Jim serving as Chairman and CEO. In 1995, 1996 and 1997 Forbes Magazine named ABR as one of “The Best 200 Small Companies in America”. In 1998, Fortune Magazine named ABR as one of the “100 Fastest Growing Public Companies in America”. ABR grew internally to 1,000 employees in Palm Harbor, Florida, and added another 500 employees in six other states via acquisitions.
In 1998, four years after going public with a $40 million market capitalization and $6 million in total assets, ABR had more than $100 million in cash, 50,000+ corporate clients, no debt, and a market capitalization of $1 billion. Every employee at ABR received stock options each year and many employees received significant financial benefit as a result of the company’s outstanding performance.
The company moved to St. Petersburg in 1998 and was acquired by Ceridian Corporation (NYSE:CEN) in 1999, by which time ABR stock had increased by 1000% since its IPO. MacDougald stayed for one transitional year and then retired in 2000. He subsequently invested in and became chairman of the board of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., the world leader in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration. Odyssey subsequently moved to the NYSE (OMR) and later to NASDAQ (OMEX). The company discovered the shipwreck, “SS Republic”, containing more than 4,000 gold and 48,000 silver coins, and was featured in several television documentaries. Odyssey stock increased 1000% during his tenure as Chairman.
Jim is the author of the best-selling book, “UNSUSTAINABLE: How Big Government, Taxes and Debt Are Wrecking America”, published in June 2010. He has been a frequent guest on FOX, CNBC, MSNBC, and numerous other television and radio talk programs, and was featured in the highly-acclaimed 1-hour special, “The Battle for the Future” hosted by John Stossel.
Jim is a partner with the Tampa Bay Rays, and has served on the Board of Trustees of numerous organizations including Academy Prep, the USF Foundation, Eckerd College, The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, The Salvador Dali Museum, the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, The Rays of Hope Foundation, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, World Partnerships, and the University of Tampa. He has been awarded an honorary Doctorate by Eckerd College. He is currently a trustee of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation in Pensacola, FL and is also a trustee of the Brian Bill Foundation, named in honor of SEAL Team 6 member Brian Bill who lost his life in Afghanistan.