Jim Ballard’s book opens new chapter

When some retiring executives make that difficult decision to ride off into the sunset, it is usually behind the wheel of a golf cart. This is not to say that these accomplished individuals completely detach from business pursuits, but more time to improve on a 6 handicap doesn't hurt.

photo-jim_ballard.jpgThe standard retirement book, however, may not apply to Jim Ballard, president of Perot Systems Government Services, who begins a new chapter of his life after retiring from the company on Monday.

During an interview with ExecutiveBiz in April of last year, Ballard confessed that his golf game could use some work, leading one to believe that the coming days and weeks will be filled with a broad range of new experiences. Transitioning to new opportunities is old hat for Ballard, a distinguished 24-year Navy veteran who often found himself adjusting to disparate environments and challenges.

““¦no matter whether you're doing a good job or a bad job, every couple of years, the military moves you to another job. During my Navy career I had the chance to work in a lot of different agencies that had different environments and different characteristics to them,“ Ballard reflected in that ExecutiveBiz interview. “It forced me to find ways to lead different organizations. It gave me the chance to test my leadership skills in a “baptism by fire“ environment and as well as have the opportunity for on the job training for my leadership skills.“

After Ballard concluded his Navy career in 1997, he genuinely wondered if his skills and experience would be marketable in the real world. This concern evaporated quickly, as Ballard found a way to leverage his background and passion within the contractor community. And the results have followed: Perot Systems Government Services has grown exponentially from $4 million to $600 million in annual revenues.

In the company release announcing his retirement and the naming of Lee Carrick to replace him, Ballard says, “My decision to move on was a very difficult one, but under Lee’s direction, I am confident that Perot Systems will continue to advance its mission in the federal industry.”

Ballard has always been a book that could in fact be judged by its cover, building a reputation for honesty and straight shooting. “I’m pretty much an open book. What you see is what you get,“ Ballard remarked during his ExecutiveBiz interview. “I always tell folks that I’m not smart enough to be devious.“

While Ballard's time at Perot Systems is ending, this is one book that won't be closing anytime soon.

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