There’s been a change in ownership of one of the world’s most successful design and project management companies. Keith James, President and longtime co-owner of Cincinnati-based Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), has consolidated his position by acquiring 100% ownership of the company from his JRA partners, Jack Rouse and Amy Merrell. Rouse and Merrell, who co-founded JRA in 1987, will remain with the company in their current capacities as Chairman/CEO and COO, respectively. James’s title will remain as JRA President.
“It will be business as usual at JRA, ” James said. “This is purely a financial arrangement, not a reorganization. The team remains intact. There will be no change in our lines of business, our operating style or, above all, our core philosophy. JRA will continue to provide our clients around the world with the very best thinking and customer service we can muster whether they are seeking master planning, exhibit design and development, creative development, executive media production, graphic design, art direction, project management or any other work product. JRA has been a huge part of my life, so when the opportunity arose for me to extend my ownership of this wonderful company by acquiring Jack and Amy’s shares, I took advantage of it.”
Over the past 20 years, JRA has become one of the most globally recognized names in the various industries that it serves. Those industries include museums, zoos, sports facilities, theme parks, entertainment complexes, cultural venues, community developments, visitor centers and corporate environments. Graduating from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 1974, James first teamed with Jack Rouse to found and develop Kings Productions, the entertainment production and facility design division of the Taft Broadcasting Company’s amusement park group.
Beginning in 1979, he served in various executive positions with some of the most successful entertainment venues in the world, including, Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, the World’s Fair in Vancouver, Australia’s Wonderland in Sydney and Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. James rejoined Rouse at Jack Rouse Associates in January, 1992.
Since that time, James has managed JRA’s design and production work for such clients as The LEGO Group; The Coca-Cola Company; Warner Bros.; The Field Museum; Universal Studios Florida; Chevron; DAYTONA USA; the Green Bay Packers; Six Flags Theme Parks; Volkswagen’s Autostadt; Ocean Park; the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; the Fort Worth Zoo; the Cincinnati Reds; HarborLand; Restless Planet in Dubai; ALDAR’s Ferrari Theme Park in Abu Dhabi; and Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. He has also been instrumental in opening new markets in China, India, the Pacific Rim and Eastern Europe. James also is a past president of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
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