From Army Veteran to Veteran Entrepreneur Louis James Parlays a Tour of Duty into Business Success
Updated: Mar 17
On this Veteran’s Day we should celebrate veterans, not only for their honorable military service, but also for their contributions in civilian life. Time in the armed services allows for the fostering of discipline and skill that translates into many different areas of the work force and public life.
One such veteran, Mr. Louis E. James has been a hard worker from childhood. As one of nine children growing up in Mississippi, James was an entrepreneur from a young age. He performed landscaping work, cleaning services, painting, deliveries and more. This childhood work ethic would lead him through college where he managed the bookstore and served in the student union. After graduation, James entered military service in the United States Army.
While on a tour of duty in Vietnam, James was a Specialist 5 Administrative Officer. His specialty was personnel administration. Anything in the area of human resources was handled by him, including the onboarding and offboarding of staff. He received an honorable discharge and returned to the United States.
Still a hardworking entrepreneur, James relocated to Chicago where he made professional partnerships and opened a successful chain of mini-marts on the city’s South Side. This early success in civilian life would lead Mr. James to the city of Detroit. In the 1990’s, he founded supply chain management company, MCL JASCO. This venture began in the booming auto industry and has since expanded into four other companies – MCI, QIC, Jasco International and SEEL – that serve government contracting and energy efficiency.
In 2009, Mr. James expanded the MCL JASCO family of companies to include SEEL (Solutions for Energy Efficient Logistics). Today SEEL is one of the largest minority owned, disabled-veteran owned energy efficiency program management companies in the United States. SEEL implements energy efficiency contracts in 5 states around the Midwest and Southeast.
Over the years, MCL JASCO has won many awards including Supplier of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. With 15 offices in 9 states, the company has been listed as one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s BE Top 100 Companies for nine years running.
James is a consummate example of the hard-working veteran whose military service translated well in civilian life. As an entrepreneur, James has been a job creator and business leader for decades. The characteristics of discipline and service to the common good lead James into military service and later into business. His service mentality extends to philanthropy, leading James to volunteer and donate to causes in the local communities where he conducts business.
On this Veteran’s Day, we salute Louis E. James and so many more like him, for their hard work and dedication to the community. Their service to our country deserves recognition as they continue to serve as role models for so many.
For more information about MCL JASCO, or any of its sister companies -- MCI, QIC, Jasco International and SEEL -- call 313-841-5000.