Mercer, James L(ee) 1936-
MERCER, James L(ee) 1936-
PERSONAL: Born November 7, 1936, in Sayre, OK; son of Fred Elmo (an oil field worker) and Ora Lee (Davidson) Mercer; married Karolyn Lois Prince (an attorney), November 16, 1962, in Carson City, NV; children: Tara Lee Mercer Wales, James Lee Mercer, Jr. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Attended Sayre Junior College, 1959-60; University of Nevada, B.S., 1964, M.B.A., 1966; University of North Carolina, certificate in municipal administration, 1971; attended Syracuse University, 1973; Cornell University, diploma from Executive Development Program, 1979.
CAREER: University of Nevada, Reno, NV, audiovisual technician, 1960-64; Pacific Telephone Co., Sacramento, CA, management trainee, 1965-66; General Dynamics Corp., Pomona, CA, production control supervisor, 1966-67; Litton Systems, Inc., Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Pascagoula, MS, assistant to the vice president and general manager, and nuclear submarine project manager, 1967-70; City of Raleigh, NC, assistant city manager, 1970-73; Public Technology, Inc., Washington, DC, national program director, 1973-76; Battelle Memorial Institute, Atlanta, GA, general manager of southern operations, 1976-79; Korn/Ferry International (executive search firm), Atlanta, GA, vice president and partner, 1979-81; James Mercer and Associates, Inc. (management consultants), Atlanta, GA, chair, president, and chief executive officer, 1981-86; Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, senior research associate and director of Industrial Extension Division and Georgia Productivity Center, 1981-83; Coopers & Lybrand (certified public accountants), Atlanta, GA, director of governmental consulting, 1983-84; Wolfe and Associates, Inc. (management consultants), Atlanta, GA, regional vice president, 1984-86; Mercer, Slavin & Nevins, Inc. (management consultants), Atlanta, GA, president, chair, and chief executive officer, 1986-90; Mercer Group, Inc. (management consultants), Santa Fe, NM, president, chair, and chief executive officer, 1990—. Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College, Gautier, MS, instructor in management, economics, and business communications, 1967-70; North Carolina State University, Raleigh, instructor, 1972-73; visiting lecturer at numerous universities; lecturer and seminar leader on subjects related to management and public administration; guest on numerous television programs. University of Nevada Foundation, founding member of board of directors, 1983-90; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, member of advisory council of School of Business, 1980-90; member of advisory board for master of public administration program at University of South Carolina and College of Charleston, 1987-90. Taratec Corp., member of board of directors, 1985-96. Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, past member of executive steering committee; Raleigh Civic Center Study Commission, chair; Mordecai Square Historic Society, member of executive committee; consultant and industry expert advisor to numerous companies and organizations, including National Science Foundation, Southern Bell, Johnson Controls, and Charterhouse Group International. Military service: U.S. Navy, Submarine Service, 1955-59.
MEMBER: International City/County Management Association, International Personnel Management Association, Institute of Management Consultants (certified management consultant; member of board of directors; chapter vice president), Institute of Industrial Engineers (member of board of directors; past chapter president), American Society for Public Administration, Technology Transfer Society (past member of board of directors), Contract Services Association of America (member of board of directors, 1995—), National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, Georgia Municipal Association, University of Nevada Alumni Association (member of executive committee), Beta Gamma Sigma.
AWARDS, HONORS: Past President's Award, Mobile chapter, Institute of Industrial Engineers, 1970; George C. Franklin Memorial Award from North Carolina League of Municipalities, 1971, for contributions in public administration; two service awards and key to city of Raleigh, N.C., 1973; named Kentucky Colonel, 1982; honored alumnus, College of Business Administration, University of Nevada, 1988.
(With Edwin H. Koester) Public Management Systems, American Management Association (Saranac Lake, NY), 1978.
(Editor, with Ronald J. Philips) Public Technology: Key to Improved Government Productivity, American Management Association (Saranac Lake, NY), 1981.
(Editor, with Jules J. Duga) Technology and Productivity in Urban Government: The 1980s, Battelle Press (Columbus, OH), 1981.
(With Susan W. Woolston and William V. Donaldson) Managing Urban Government Services: Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for the Eighties, American Management Association (Saranac Lake, NY), 1981.
Strategic Planning for Public Managers, Quorum Books (Westport, CT), 1990.
Public Management in Lean Years, Quorum Books (Westport, CT), 1992.
Public Employee Involvement Processes, Quorum Books (Westport, CT), 1997.
Contributor to books, including Technological Innovation: The ExperimentalR&D Incentives Program, edited by Donald E. Cunningham, John R. Craig, and Theodore W. Schlie, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1977; Not Well Advised, edited by Peter Szanton, Russell Sage Foundation (New York, NY), 1981; Management Policy: Readings and Cases, edited by Milton Leontiades, Random House (New York, NY), 1983; and Local Government Innovation: Issues and Trends in Privatization and Managed Competition, edited by Robin A. Johnson and Norman Walzer, Quorum Books (Westport, CT), 2000. Contributor of nearly 300 articles and reviews to government, business, and management journals, including Harvard Business Review. Author of The Mercer Group Privatization Survey, a periodic report on privatization and outsourcing practices in 120 local governments.
SIDELIGHTS: James L. Mercer once told CA: "My work has been primarily aimed at the field of public administration and at the private company executives who provide goods and services to that field. I have always tried to keep a vision of emerging trends and best practices in the private sector which can be of great value to the public sector. This has significantly influenced my writing and has been the general underpinning of most of it.
"My writing process has been to attempt to capture a subject in total that I wish to write about (such as strategic planning for public managers), and to increase my knowledge about that subject through reading and practice. Where possible, I have also developed and taught seminars and workshops on the subject so as to prove out my own concepts and thinking on it and to practice theories and concepts in more of a real world setting. Following that, I then separate the overall subject matter into component parts, write, edit and assemble those in a logical fashion and craft a book that gets across the points that I wish to express. I try to write in a style that is easily read and is interesting to the reader.
"The subjects that I have chosen to write about are those where I believe a need exists for a more effective approach to deal with change and to the way an enterprise is being managed. I have always received inspiration from the act of expressing my ideas and thoughts with the hope and realization that my work would be published and reviewed by a large number of people, some of whom might be positively influenced by it. It has been one of the ways that I have tried to make a difference in the way things happen, which I think is part of my responsibility as a human being. I have tried to establish high standards for this work and to make valuable contributions to the effort.
"In an era of downsizing, organizational flattening and transformation, merging, governmental devolution, world competition and concern for the environment, the need has continued to exist for the development and application of modern management practices to meet numerous demands.
"My primary motivation for writing has been to logically develop my own ideas about management, to share those ideas with others and to try to influence their thinking and actions to improve policy, strategy, organizations, processes and performance. I have always believed that the true mark of a professional is to share their ideas with others and, in so doing, give something back to the profession that they pursue. There is no more effective way to do this than to write about it, publish it and have it available for the utilization and critique of colleagues.
"I have devoted my career and my writings to bringing the practical benefits of science, technology, and business systems to bear on the high-priority needs of business, industry, state, and local governments. My future writings will continue to reflect this theme in an attempt to assist businesses and governments to develop strategy, to effectively deal with change, to become more efficient and to enable their functions and programs to be more cost-effective in the new millennium and beyond."
Mercer more recently added: "I also have a strong interest in writing a novel and have begun to develop one, but I find the writing style needed is much different from that of writing management books."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Mercer Group, Inc.,http://www.mercergroupinc.com/ (September 11, 2003).