While growing up on a farm in Arkansas, Jim O'Neal started towards a career in aircraft and rocket flight with the designing and building of working models. He won the regional science and engineering fair with a model rocket the day after sputnik was launched on October 5, 1956. The father of a classmate at Castle Heights Military Academy was Oswald Lange, the project manager for the Saturn moon rocket who reported directly to Wernher von Braun.
Jim earned an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA at the University of Arkansas. He paid for part of his schooling as a DJ at a local radio station. In 1965 he was selected as one of the top ten young DJ's in the nation.
After serving as a combat pilot for the Air Force in Viet Nam, Jim went to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and served as a systems engineer and flight controller. He was a member of the flight control team that successfully returned the damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft in April of 1970.
He left NASA and was employed by Warren Petroleum for a career spanning over 23 years. Warren was a Division of Gulf Oil until 1986 when it was merged into Chevron Corporation. Jim managed gas production, refining and distribution systems until his retirement as a Group I Executive in 1998. He served on Chevron's Vital Sources Speaker Program and presented lectures on the future of the energy industry to both private and public audiences. He served as a Board Member of the American Waterways Operators and as an advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard on matters pertaining to waterways operations and emergency response. In addition he was a key member of Chevron's World Wide Emergency Response Team.
Since 1998, he has been a management consultant and loaned executive in operations for Fortune 500 companies. He specializes in logistics, supply chain management and leadership responsibility. Frequently, he provides programs to business executives based upon real problems and business situations. One frequently requested program is on the teamwork involved in the safe return of the Apollo 13 astronauts. Jim is a noted author and public speaker on leadership, logistics and supply chain management. One of his most requested topics is "Smoke, Mirrors and Alligator Shoes -The Corruption of Corporate America" which centers on his consulting in the energy industry and, in particular, the downfall of Enron.
Jim flies helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and has over 4500 hours of pilot in command time. He serves as a formation check pilot for FAST, the organization that certifies pilots to fly formation. He also served as President of the Jet Racing Class for the National Championship Air Races. He is the air show pilot for the American Spirit, an L-39C Albatross jet trainer. His love of flight pulled him into restoring his family's wrecked Navy N2S-3 Stearman and in the process he earned his A&P. During the restoration his research of the aircraft's history, the Naval Logs were located and President George H.W. Bush had trained in this aircraft. He currently has a patent on Forced Entry and Ballistic resistant structures
Jim currently resides in the Houston area and is a Vice President of Bravo Zulu Services, which provides armor and ballistic protection for both the public and private sectors of industry. Bravo Zulu means "Well Done" in the military vernacular. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.