The latest entry in the Loop Communications “Meet the Team” series focuses on James McKinney, a former Marine and
French horn player who came up with the idea for our technology company.
Position: Founding Partner/President
Started working at Loop: November 2009
Hometown: Lincolnton, N.C.
Current: Charlotte, N.C.
First job: I was a busboy in a seafood restaurant. It was horrifying.
Education, etc.: I attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for two years on a music scholarship, but I wasn’t mature enough for college. After a year at home, I joined the United States Marine Corps.
There, I learned accountability, to both goals and the people around you. To say what you mean and do what you say. To identify a goal and achieve it, and own up to mistakes when you make them.
Family: James’ wife, Amy, teaches government at Charlotte Latin School. They have daughters Taylor (12) and Brooke (9).
Pets: Dogs Cocoa and Ruthie
How did Loop start?
I was a contractor during the depths of the recession – working for someone and not getting paid. I felt like there was a gap between technology and the resources that businesses would devote to it – a “vacuum of context” Most don’t have the human infrastructure to sort out what’s needed.
I approached Brian (Tolleson) first, and he agreed to do this with me. We started by providing services on hosted e-mails, CRM options, websites and voice.
We quickly noticed that voice was the most frustrating part. There wasn’t much effort on the part of voice providers to provide a quality, stable product.
We approached Amanda (Proffitt) next, and then built our voice platform. We got so much traction with it that we stopped doing everything else.
What do you like best about your job?
When people actually like their technology. When the frustration is removed, they develop an appreciation for it, and get creative about how they can use it. When we deliver, you can see the cynical view of it evaporate.
What’s your best professional attribute?
At heart, I’m a teacher. I explain technical concepts without talking down to people. I want them to understand WHY things work.
Who would play you in the Loop movie?
Amy says Jason Bateman or Paul Rudd. James couldn’t think of a good answer after initially blurting out, “GEORGE CLOONEY!”
Person you’d most like to meet?
What is your favorite place to vacation?
The Outer Banks of North Carolina
Place you most want to visit?
Favorite place you’ve been to?
I enjoy trying different kinds of beer, and smoking meat on my smoker.
(Editor’s note: Ask him about the burnt ends. OMG …)
Superpower that you’d most like to have?
Time control – stopping it, starting it, slowing it down …