Jim Jacobs was born and raised on the South Shore and matriculated at Clark University with a BA in Government, followed by an MBA in Finance from Boston University. He first worked in financial analysis and strategic planning for such corporations as Ford Motor Co., Dart and Kraft, Max Factor, Matsushita and GE.
At Dart & Kraft Jim invented two consumer products while still a Manager of Financial Analysis. He left the corporate world to become a consultant and pursue his inventions, leading to the successful launch of Jacobs & Associates. Jim has over 30 years experience in turnarounds, and managing small and medium-sized businesses as a consultant, C-level executive and owner. He has also been involved in product development as an inventor and manager during that time, primarily in consumer products, creating many new business concepts and patentable products, on his own behalf and for clients and employers.
Following the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, Jim spent 5 years at the non-profit consulting firm VEDC in L.A. as director of consulting services, personally assisting over 600 business owners and managing client engagements for more than 3,000 other business victims of the disaster through six assistance centers throughout Los Angeles. He has assisted hundreds of businesses throughout his consulting and CEO, COO and CFO career.
Jim relocated to the South Shore in 2012. He pursued the financing, development and successful patenting of a new form of walker. The VersaWalker is a safer, more secure transportable walker, which converts to other uses, including a wheelchair. The resulting alpha model, while a step forward, required further development.
The beta prototype was designed and produced by a team of Northeastern University’s School of Mechanical Engineering through the Capstone Program. The team consulted with NU’s Physical Therapy Department and tested the device with seniors at a local senior center. In concert with the inventor, they also engaged in market research and estimated projected manufacturing costs.
In December 2017, the VersaWalker was awarded first place in its track in the Capstone competition, over projects sponsored by, among others, Tesla. While praising the originality and utility of the invention itself, the judges also noted the team’s practical and business-oriented approach in the product’s development.