David James is the owner and manager at Create and Construct Scottsdale. After falling in love with Scottsdale, David made the move from Switzerland to Arizona to open Create and Construct Scottsdale. Learn more about David James…
Hometown: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
First job: With a background in technical and mechanical installations, in the late 80’s I worked for four years as a race engineer designing and building racing karts and bikes, and spending my weekends travelling all over the UK to race venues. I quickly learned that one’s actions had a direct result on performance and safety. In 1991 I travelled to the US for the first time to work on a summer camp as a Camp Counsellor in New York State. After camp I spent six weeks travelling the US coast to coast and back again by Amtrak, all on a budget of $1600! After studying at College I was one of 24 successful candidates out of 4000 applicants for the job of Firefighter, a job I enjoyed for ten years. I decided to re-pursue my original career which took me to Geneva, Switzerland, at The Centre for European Nuclear Research as a Project Manager for the installation of the ATLAS detector for the LHC experiment. Managing a team of 15 technicians, we transported and assembled with micrometer precision 8000 tons of highly delicate bespoke experimental equipment in an underground cavern 400 feet below ground. Whilst doing this I studied at the Open University and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in ‘Manufacturing, Management and Technology’
I left CERN in 2006 and set up ‘Create and Construct’ in Geneva, Switzerland, offering bespoke kitchens, bathrooms and professional renovation and remodeling services. Following the success of the company, I decided to apply for an E-2 investor visa, and set up Create and Construct here, after my 12 year love affair with Arizona, the Scottsdale area and the kind, fantastic people here that we meet on a daily basis.
Favorite AZ restaurant: I think it must be ‘Olive and Ivy’ down in Old Town. It was a place that I came across by chance when I was first here on business back in 2006, and I keep going back there. When I vacationed in Scottsdale in August 2010, It was the first place that I took my girlfriend, who then became my wife in 2013. We love the feel of the place, the food, and are reminded of the excitement of what it means to now be in AZ each time we go there.
Person who has impacted your life the most: My wife Victoria. She inspires me every day to be better at what I do. She listens, she laughs, she advises, and has endless patience. Her talent, intelligence, beauty, humility and humor make me the luckiest man alive, and that is more than I could have ever wished for in a person, let alone my wife. My life has turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined. And that’s because of the love she shows me every single day.
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: I think that managing to maintain a work life balance despite all the sports and activities that I have participated in over the last 25 years. As a young man in an active and sometimes dangerous job I was driven to extreme sports, and still keep a career. I climbed and mountaineered hard in the French and Swiss Alps, stood on top of Mont Blanc, ski mountaineered up many miles of mountains, climbed frozen waterfalls, lived in snow holes, flew hang gliders, participated in Motor Sports, SCUBA dived, fought fires, dealt with car accidents, ran marathons and navigated over miles and miles of mountains and countryside, without any major injuries. I lost a few friends along the way which is always tough, but which keeps life in perspective.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Trusting my training and ability. Back in 1992 the first time I stepped into a house fire was at 3 o’clock in the morning. I was a probationer firefighter, I had been on an active fire station for two weeks, and we got a call to a structure fire with ‘persons reported’ meaning that occupants were unaccounted for and possibly still inside. Running towards the front door of the property, wearing breathing apparatus and holding a hose line, to believe in what I was capable of seemed impossible, but I went in anyway. I’m still here to tell the tale, so I guess I managed ok. That set the scene for me. Don’t doubt, just do. Improvise, adapt, overcome.
Someone who inspires you: The adventurer Jean-Marc Boivin. As a teenager I Watched videos and read books about his exploits, all of which inspired me to leave the UK and go to the French Alps to climb, ski and mountaineer, in the vain hope of someday becoming as good as him. He was a true adventurer in every sense of the word, and the challenges he set himself were outstanding. Fatally injured in a BASE jump in Venezuela, he instructed rescue crews to help another person before treating him. For me he embodied adventure, self-belief, humility and selflessness.
Favorite quote: ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’ Winston Churchill.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Aim high. Don’t start with mediocre goals and think that you can work your way up. Don’t just stand out, shine. Don’t settle for just good enough, and understand that quality is not simply a level to be attained, but more like an approach to life and work. It has to encompass all of your actions and thoughts. There are many people that do good work, so you have to be one of the few that does exceptional work. Only work with similar minded people as yourself, that way you are never disappointed. Never, ever stop improving who you are and what you do. Embrace change and realize that we have two ears and one mouth which means you can learn a lot from listening and not so much from talking.
What makes someone fabulous: Being true to oneself, realizing that your time is finite, and not wasting it. Don’t get caught up pursuing other people’s dreams. Seek to excel, remain humble, but don’t forget to laugh and have fun along the way.