After a 15 year career in corporate training and development, James returned to academia to pursue his PhD. He earned his MA from Wright State University in 2004 and was named as the History Department’s annual Outstanding Graduate Student in that year. His thesis, Flying to Fight, examined the American pilot training programs in WWI in light of the rapidly changing attitudes about the legitimacy of management prerogatives that were a prominent feature of the Progressive Era. He has published a pair of articles based on that research, one of which won the 2005-2006 Mike Carr Award from The League of World War I Aviation Historians.
During his business career, James earned his certificate in Human Performance Improvement from the American Society for Training & Development. In 2000, he became an FAA-certified airplane pilot (Single Engine – Land). After graduating with his MA, James continued his academic teaching career at Northwest Vista College where he taught survey courses in World History (I & II) and U.S. History (I & II). In 2008, he began his PhD work at The Ohio State University. His dissertation builds on several perspectives including adaptations to technological innovation, organizational responses to change, and the movement of innovations and organizational attitudes between Britain and the U.S. in the early years of the 20th century. The topic of pilot training programs in the Great War represents a unique contribution to the historiography of the conflict.