Likes, hobbies and preferences of Jim Pinto, Founder (formerly President & CEO) of Action Instruments Technology Futurist, Angel Investor, Speaker, Writer Industrial Automation Commentator, Analyst & Consultant
Since its inception in 1972, Jim Pinto was President and CEO of Action Instruments based in San Diego, CA. USA. In March of '98, Action was acquired by Eurotherm (UK), which in turn was acquired by Invensys in June '98.
Jim retired from Action Instruments after Eurotherm was acquired by Invensys, and since then he has been an angel investor, speaker, writer, technology futurist, author (two popular books, published by ISA in 2003 and 2005) industry commentator and M&A consultant. His popular JimPinto.com eNews is widely read (direct circulation about 7,000, web-readership 2-3 times that number).
Jim Pinto is an Electronics Engineer by background. He was born in Bangalore, India, lived in England for about 8 years, where he founded KPE Controls. He moved to the U.S. in 1968 and worked for Burroughs Corporation, in Pasadena, California. He then moved to San Diego, where he founded Action in 1972.
Jim Pinto was named California Small Business Person of the Year for the State of California in 1980. Jim has been featured in many books and national journals : INC - A Call to Action - November '83; INDUSTRY WEEK - A Manager for All Seasons - June '92; ESQUIRE - Re-defining the Role of the Employee - May '83. He is featured prominently in Joel Kotkin's California Inc. and is mentioned in Naisbitt's Re-inventing the Corporation as a pioneer in participative management. In July '93, Action was named by INC magazine as one of the Employers of the Year - Workplaces Employees Love!.
Jim has travelled widely throughout the world, and has significant experience in the comparative study of American, European and Japanese Business cultures. He serves as an international consultant in strategic business planning, marketing, sales channel development, technology planning and acquisition strategy. He is a Member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Future Society.
Jim currently resides in San Diego, California. His interests include technology futures (he is a popular speaker on the subject); technology investments (Managing Partner at AngelMoney.com); writing (he writes for several webzines and journals and magazines); poetry (he has been called : "The poet laureate of the Instrumentation Industry" and his poetry has been published internationally); Music (piano, MIDI); Chess (not a master, but he likes it); the Internet (an avid web-surfer, and he does his own web-site).
1. If you are not in Industrial Automation/Industrial Electronics Industry, where you would be?
I would be in some form of High-Tech Electronics. From my boyhood, I was fascinated with how things worked, and played with radios, electronic gadgets and early forms of robots. I owned one of the very first "Hero" Heathkit robots, and still play with robotics toys.
2. Your mentor and how has he/she made a difference in your life?
Since I was a young boy, we used to visit my grandmother, Serephine Pinto, in Puttur, near Mangalore. She taught me to always speak my mind boldly, and showed us by example in many different situations. After graduating with an M.Sc. From Central College in Bangalore, I worked for a year at the Army Electronics Research & Development Establishment (L.R.D.E) and my first boss was Brigadier Chakravathy, the head of the facility. Within a week of joining, we had a talk by chance and he asked me to speak my mind about my new job, which I did (as my grandmother had taught me). He too became a mentor and promoted me right away to be his Technical Assistant. Within a year I left for England, with his goodwill & blessings. He confirmed what my grandmother had taught me - that success comes through being bold, by speaking your mind without fear or favor.
3. The ideal business person and why?
In the technical world, a successful manager needs to be technical. It is easier for a technical person to learn business management that for a financial or sales person to become technical. I was always led my company technically and any technical director I hired had to be a better technologist than I was.
4. Which book are you presently reading? The book that inspired you and why?
I've always been fascinated with futuristic books and topics, starting with H.G.Wells' "Time Machine" and then futurist authors like Ray Bradbury (who I met in California) and Isaac Asimov. In 1970, I read Alvin Toffler's "Future Shock", which made an impact. When I sold my company, Action Instruments, in 1998, I knew that I would be a Futurist. Today, more than a decade later, I still write and speak on future technology. Because of my background in industrial automation, many of my speaking engagements worldwide are related to Automation Futures.
5. What was your the turning point in your life?
When I decided to give up my job in LRDE Bangalore and move to England. My mother always wanted me to go abroad and get a Ph.D. - but I didn't, because I started working right away in England, and quickly started my own company, Kent Precision Electronics, with other partners. That gave me the taste of being an owner and entrepreneur. When my partners decided to sell the business, I decided to move to the USA, to start a company there. I worked for Burroughs (main-frame computers) for about 2 years, and then started my own business again, Action Instruments in 1972, based in San Diego, California. We had a significant level of employee-ownership and were nominated by INC magazine on the list of "Companies Employees Love". Action Instruments was featured in John Naisbitt's book, "Megatrends" and Joel Kotkin's "California, Inc." and I was appointed California Small Business Person of the Year in 1982.
6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My primary weakness is that I am too impatient. I try to do things too quickly. My strength is my impatience - I do not tolerate delays and stupidity, and always try to find ways to do something better, quickly and effectively.
7. When do you get angry?
When someone is being dishonest, or is deliberately lying.
8. After business hours, what's your Ideal past time?
I don't have a hobby - it's too much like working. And when I work, it's mostly related to business interests. My ideal pastime is walking on the beach. Today, in my semi-retirement, I live right on the beach, and wake up to the sounds of the ocean.
9. What car do you drive? Your dream car and why.
I had always wanted a Jaguar XJ and owned one for a decade. After that, I bought a Lexus SC-400 sports coupe, and had that for 10 years. I've never wanted anything other than a Lexus ever since. Today, I have a Lexus GS series. I'll probably buy a Lexus hybrid next.
10. Where did you go for your last holiday? Your favorite destination in the world and why?
Some 5 years ago, I saw the movie "Bucket List" - two old guys who had cancer and decided to go to various dream places before they "kicked the bucket". Well, I am not dying of cancer, so I have been going on several "bucket-list" trips since. With all my trips to India, I had never seen the Taj Mahal and the tip of India, Kanya Kumari - so I visited those places. After that, I have been to Greece, China, Baltic Cruise, Peru (Machu Picchu), Panama Canal cruise, Brazil, Australia (Ayer's Rock and Great Barrier Reef). Next we will be going to Chile, and then Egypt (pyramids). And then more bucket-lists, I hope.
11. About your family.
I have a son David, who was born in England and now lives in Florida. He has married a girl from Bangalore, and they have 2 children - Siddhartha (age 9) and Anya (age 6). And I have a daughter, Rosalie (my mother's name) who lives in Chicago, and will deliver my next grandson within the next 3 months.