Jim Sharpe

Individual Investor


Jim Sharpe is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Arthur Rock Center in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at the Harvard Business School. Jim has been engaged with Harvard Business School for over 8 years as both a Senior Lecturer in the MBA and Executive Education programs and now as an Entrepreneur in Residence. He has taught the first year MBA(RC) course on entrepreneurship(TEM), a second year(EC) elective on turnarounds(EMTE) and designed an elective course on running small enterprises(RSME).

His mentoring interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship through acquisition(EtA), profitable growth, pricing strategy, layoffs, Lean & 6 Sigma, firing customers, implementing IT systems, managing BoD, working with your spouse, achieving life balance, acquiring and selling a business, organizational structure, turnaround tactics, hiring your replacement, equity splits for partners, compensation, leadership, dual-career couples, large/small company differences, ethics and employee empowerment. As an investor, he has ownership positions in more than two dozen entrepreneurial companies. He writes a blog on acquisition search and running SME's.

Extrusion Technology, an aluminum extrusion fabricator owned by Jim, was sold to a private equity firm in December 2008. The company was purchased in 1987 after an 11 month self-funded search. Taking on substantial debt while securing 100% of the equity, Jim transformed the second generation, family owned business by growing it from $4MM to $32MM. He developed value added products in theTelecom electronics market and established a second factory in Xiamen, China. A focus on quality led to qualification for ISO-9000 in 1992 and emphasis on lead time reduction and lean manufacturing techniques resulted in a Bronze Shingo award in 2008.

Family focus has been a high priority for Jim who hired his wife, Debby Stein Sharpe, HBS’81 and MIT’76, as CFO in 1988, contrary to advice from his Advisory Board. He made time to walk his children to school, make their lunches and be available for school activities. Debby and Jim adopted their daughter at age 5 while their two boys were in elementary school.