James grew up in Ashton and graduated from Northwestern High School in Mellette. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business Management from the University of South Dakota.
James worked for Spink Electric prior to its merger with Northern Electric Cooperative of Bath in 1997. When NVC first started its Internet operations, James provided technical support services to Internet customers and performed billing and accounting services. In May of 1999 James became the Manager of Accounting for NVC, later he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, and he now serves as the company's CEO.