Occupation: Senior designer and technical advisor for Chroma; member of Maryville Kiwanis and F A & M 169.
Family: Two daughters, Jennifer and Kendall, and one grandson, Austin Burger.
Jim Ford has a passion for motorcycles and music. “I’ve been riding for 15 years,” says the senior designer and technical advisor for Chroma. “I took my first ride on an 883 Sportster, and, once I did my first ride, I loved it and wanted to make it part of my life. I felt the call of the wind in my face.”
As a co-chair with Tara Rasher for the 2009 United Way Backroads Motorcycle Ride, Ford had to think beyond just the bike ride.
“We tried to see what we could do this year to bring more money into United Way. What we came up with was barbecue and bands. What we lacked in additional riders, we made up for with bands and barbecue.” By inviting folks who didn’t ride to pay $10 and join the riders at the end of the ride at Courtyard Grille for barbecue and music, additional funds were raised. “We raised $3,800. It was a 120 percent increase over last year.”
From high school, Ford looked for a way to combine his love of music with his love of art and being creative.
“I went a technical path into commercial art. I had two thing going at once - art and music, and I wanted to do something in the ministry. I entered into Liberty Bible College, but, once there, the calling of the road got into me.”
Ford joined the gospel music group the Kingdom Heirs as their drummer, going on the road with them.
“I’m the original drummer and played on 10 albums. Then the music got a hold of me, and I was torn about what to do with graphic design and what to do with music. Graphic design was paying the bills. I made the decision to stick with graph design.”
Music still plays a part in Ford’s life. “I play in band - Steel Kickin’ - and it’s a cool thing, we’re all over 50 except for Debra Whaley. It’s a very unique blend of voices and talents. Beyond that I enjoy little bit of golf, I love Tennessee football, and I enjoy playing little bit of racket ball. I try to stay active for a 52-year-old man.”
Here is Jim Ford:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“My mom, Gloria Anderson. Giving to others made her happy her entire life. I can think of no greater act than giving one’s self to aid in the comfort of others. It is truly a blessing from God above.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
‘“It took me sixteen years to get here. You play me, and I’ll give you the best I got,’ Robert Redford, The Natural.
How do you like your steak cooked?
“Medium well with a little garlic salt. Courtyard Grille, here I come.”
What are you guilty of?
“I should really stop and smell the coffee more -- roses make me sneeze. I need to stop and enjoy life more than I do.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“I tried to embarrass my daughter Jennifer with a face dive into a plate of spaghetti only to embarrass myself.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“A 2001 Harley-Davidson Softail Deuce. I love the feel of the wind in my face and the sun on my back.”
What are you reading currently?
‘“You Gotta Laugh To Keep From Cryin’ by Sam Venable. I like it.”
Who has been the most influential person in the 20th Century?
“Franklin Roosevelt. I know he took the ‘bull’ - the Great Depression - by the horns. He combined optimism and economic activism to keep our country from sinking into political crisis.”
If you only had a week to live, what would you do and why?
“Take my family and close friends to Oahu, kick back on a beach resort, tell stories and laugh our butts off.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Talented. God blessed me with creative gifts in design and music.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Embracing my down time. I have a hard time with just relaxing.”
What is your passion?
“Creative design and music. I love the challenge of creating. In business I meet those challenges everyday and love doing it. I must, I’ve been doing it professionally for 35 years. My music goes back to third grade. I knew I wanted to be a percussionist with a road band. I became the original drummer for The Kingdom Heirs playing for 15 years on 10 albums with several title songs to my credit.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Albert Einstein, the man was a creative imagineer. He lived in a realm I work in everyday. I find lot of his quotes inspiring to me.
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“Bruce Willis. The man’s got talent and we have the same hair cut. Wait, there is no hair!”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I’d go back to 1928 to see my Grandmother Hazel Miller do the Charleston with the beads and headband. Funny stuff. She was a strong inspiration in my life - a very strong woman.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“After my dad died, his wife gave me his folded flag. That was the best present I ever was given in a box.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Never lose that smile, son, never.”
Who is your hero?
“Men and women who put their life on back burners to be caregivers for those in need.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“Facebook. It’s a good way to touch bases with friends and classmates.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I’m a dog person. I never really knew that until Jasmine and Skeeter came into my life. What a hoot.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Digging my own septic line. No one wanted to help me. I had a pump in the septic tank, and it shorted out, and I had to dig that whole thing up.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
“ ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Life’s hard so be honest, fair and never forget the man up above.”