Meet the team
Jim is a lawyer by trade, having received both his undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Texas. After serving as law clerk to a federal judge and as an Assistant Attorney General of Texas, Jim joined the San Antonio law firm of Oppenheimer, Rosenberg, Kelleher, and Wheatley. As luck would have it, one of the co-founders of that law firm, Herb Kelleher, also co-founded a small Texas airline called Southwest, and Jim soon stumbled into the airline industry. After serving as outside counsel for Southwest for seven years, Jim became General Counsel for 15 years, and ultimately served as Southwest’s CEO for three years.
During Jim’s tenure as CEO, Southwest was named as the most admired airline, and one of the three most admired companies in America by Fortune magazine; Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine; and one of the World’s Most Socially Responsible Companies by Global Finance magazine. Jim was also named co-CEO of the Year in 2001 by Morningstar.com, and was named to Institutional Investor’s list of Best CEO’s in America in 2004. Jim’s proudest accomplishment, however, comes from the fact that Southwest Airlines was able to protect the jobs of all of its employees, with no furloughs or pay cuts in the aftermath of 9/11, while also remaining profitable every year and, in fact, every quarter during his tenure as CEO. Jim is presently retired from the airline industry, and serves on the Board of Directors of the successful Texas Roadhouse restaurant company, and also serves on the Advisory Council for the MIT Sloan Business School Leadership Center.
Jim is also the author of the recently released book, published by Wharton School Publishing, entitled Do the Right Thing – How Dedicated Employees Produce Loyal Customers and Large Profits.
Jim has over 4 decades of executive leadership experience in the aviation industry. After graduating from the University of Texas-Permian Basin in 1975 with a BBA in Aviation Management, Jim worked as a supervisor at Madison-Cooper Airport in Waco, Texas. In 1977, he joined the City of Houston’s Aviation Department and rose to the position of Airport Manager at William P. Hobby Airport in 1980. When Houston acquired Ellington Air Force Base as a general aviation reliever airport in 1982, Jim’s responsibilities were expanded to include management of both airports.
In 1985, Jim was named Vice President of Ground Operations for Southwest Airlines in Dallas, Texas. Given his previous experience, he was also named Emergency Director. In 1991, the Board of Directors for Southwest appointed Jim to the Executive Planning Committee, thereby elevating his position to Executive Officer, and in 1998, he was promoted to Executive Vice President. In 1999, Jim was named Chief Operating Officer and for the next 6 years he directed among many other duties, airport security, charters, environmental affairs, flight operations, fuel administration, ground operations, maintenance and engineering, properties and facilities, and safety. Jim served on the Air Transport Association’s Senior Advisory Committee and was a member of the FAA Air Traffic Management Steering Group.
Stephen began his professional career with the Westlake Fire Department in Austin, Texas in 1990, eventually promoting to the rank of Captain/ Shift Commander. After serving fourteen years in the fire service, Stephen founded Muldoon Interests, a successful property and project management firm. Muldoon Interests manages a large marina in Austin, as well as rental property, and commercial office space. Muldoon Interests is involved in several development projects in Austin, and provides oversight and development assistance to the equity partners. Stephen also owns Muldoon Marine, a marine services company. Muldoon Marine has provided general marine contracting services to many large-scale marina projects including Randolph Air Force Base’s marina on Canyon Lake, and The Moorings located in Port Aransas. Stephen is the president of GCSA, Inc., which owns and operates a convenience store located on Lake Austin.