Jim McCormick (author)

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Jim McCormick
Jim McCormick
James Maxwell McCormick

Other namesJim
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
University of California, Irvine
Occupation(s)Author, Speaker, Coach, Consultant, and Professional Skydiver
Known forWorld Record and North Pole Skydiver. Expertise in intelligent risk-taking and innovation.

James Maxwell McCormick is an American speaker, author, and professional skydiver who is known for his expertise in intelligent risk-taking and innovation. He is founder of The Research Institute for Risk Intelligence, holds ten skydiving world records,[1] and was a member of an international expedition that skydived to the North Pole. He served three years in the Reagan Administration in Washington, DC before returning to the private sector where, among other engagements, he served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at design firm Anshen+Allen Architects.


McCormick attended elementary, intermediate and high schools in Tustin, California. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in construction management from the Viterbi School at the University of Southern California.[citation needed]

McCormick earned an MBA in finance and marketing from the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. He was keynote speaker at the school's commencement activities.[2]


After founding a small, Los Angeles-based trucking company, McCormick moved into real estate finance in Newport Beach, California. He served three years in the Reagan Administration in Washington, DC and then returned to the private sector in southern California. He served as vice president, Construction and Development for the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic and the University of California, Irvine and was responsible for funding and building the facility. He then returned to real estate finance with Westmont Investment Company as vice president and project partner. He was then recruited to serve as Chief Operating Officer by Anshen+Allen Architects, the fifth largest architectural firm in the United States. This was the last position he held before becoming a full-time speaker, author, coach, and consultant.[2]

Government Service[edit]

McCormick served in the U.S. Department of Energy during Ronald Reagan's first term. From 1981 to 1984, the positions he held included:

  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Congressional, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs, Robert Odle
  • Aide to Secretary James B. Edwards
  • Staff Assistant to Secretary Donald P. Hodel
  • Special Assistant to the General Counsel (the first non-attorney in the department's history to hold this position)


McCormick landing at AT&T Park during the opening ceremonies in April, 2000

McCormick is a Professional Exhibition Skydiver and has jumped into numerous public events, including the inaugural Opening Day at AT&T Park (then named Pacific Bell Park)[3] in San Francisco when he delivered soil gathered from every major league baseball field to the new stadium.

McCormick at the North Pole on April 18, 1995

On April 18, 1995, McCormick landed a parachute at the North Pole, after exiting an Ilyushin Il-76 jet aircraft flown from Khatanga, Siiberia.[citation needed]

On July 26, 1998, McCormick was a member of a team that set a world skydiving record above Skydive Chicago, in Ottawa, Illinois. The team built a formation of 246 skydivers that we held for 7.25 seconds.[4][5] His second skydiving world record was earned on December 12, 2002, as a member of the Arizona Airspeed Skydive Arizona World Record team that build a formation of 300 skydivers.[6]

On April 18, 2004, McCormick was a member of the Z-Team when it set a world record above Zephyrhills, Florida for the largest skydive consisting of two different formations. That record was 121. He was also a member of the American delegation to World Team 2006,[7] the largest multi-national sports team ever assembled to pursue a common goal. On February 8, 2006, World Team skydivers representing thirty-five countries successfully established the current world record by creating the largest skydiving formation ever built in the skies above Udon Thani, Thailand. The record[8][9] was set when 400 World Team skydiving, exiting five C-130 Hercules military transports flying at 25,000 feet, linked together into a precisely designed formation in the colors and patterns of the Thai flag that existed for only 4.25 seconds.

In March 2007, Z-Team reconvened in Zephyrhills, Florida in an attempt to break their own world record established three years before. On March 31, they succeeded when 139 skydivers built two different formations on one jump.[10]

In 2008 McCormick was on a skydiving team that was featured in a television commercial for Honda Motors UK, titled "difficult is worth doing",[11] in which the team formed three difficult and intricate formations.

On August 28, 2011, McCormick led a team of 69 skydivers that set a Colorado state record over Longmont for the largest formation.[12][13][14][15] In the culmination of a three-year effort, the team created a snowflake formation.

On July 22 and 24, 2015 McCormick was one of the leaders of the Skydiving Hall of Fame Eagles that did the first large formation skydivesover the Experimental Aviation Association's AirVenture 2015 airshow. The team consisted of 108 skydivers plus four freefall videographers from 15 countries.[16][17][18][19] AirVenure is considered "the world's largest and most significant annual aviation events."[20]

McCormick earned his ninth world record September 29, 2015 as a member of an international team jumping in Perris, California.[21][22][23] The team of 202 skydivers completed a jump consisting of two formations. The jump met the criteria of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for an aviation world record.

On January 30, McCormick participated in a formation of a Chinese character meaning "blessings from the sky" that included 48 skydivers at Skydive DeLand in Florida. It was commissioned by the Air Sports Federation of China and televised to an estimated billion people around the world as part of Chinese New Year celebrations.</ref>[24]


After returning from the skydiving expedition to the North Pole in 1995, McCormick became a professional speaker. His activities have expanded to include organizational consulting, executive and performance coaching, and writing books and articles. His book, The Power of Risk - How Intelligent Choices Will Make You More Successful was a 2009 finalist in the career category of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.[25] The First Time Manager was a finalist for the Management Book of the Year awards [26] from the Chartered Management Institute.[27]

Published works[edit]

  • McCormick, Jim; Loren B. Belker; Gary S. Topchik (January 3, 2012). The First-Time Manager (6th ed.). AMACOM ISBN 978-0814417836.
  • McCormick, Jim; Loren B. Belker; Gary S. Topchik (August 14, 2018) . The First-Time Manager (7th ed.). HarperCollins Publishing ISBN 9780814439692.[28]
  • McCormick, Jim; Maryann Karinch (July 9, 2009). Business Lessons from the Edge - Learn How Extreme Athletes Use Intelligent Risk Taking to Succeed in Business (1st ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-162698-9.[29]
  • McCormick, Jim (September 19, 2008). The Power of Risk - How Intelligent Choices Will Make You More Successful (1st ed.). Maxwell Press. ISBN 978-0-9728520-0-5.
  • Borschel, Don; Gary Copeland; Doug Hanson; Mike Hourigan; Jim Jacobus; Jack Jobe; Jim McCormick; Colleen Stanley; Vilis Ozols; Vickie Sullivan; Jeff Staads; Ed Tate (January 2004). Motivational Selling - Advice on Selling Effectively, Staying Motivated and Being a Peak Sales Producer (1st ed.). Ozoles Business Group. ISBN 0-9679329-1-2.
  • McCormick, Jim (July 20, 2009). 365 Daily Doses of Courage: Inspiration to Help You Take Leaps in Your Life (2nd ed.). Maxwell Press. ISBN 978-0-9728520-8-1.


  1. ^ "Skydive Mag: Team Ripcord POPS Sequential Record". www.skydivemag.com. Archived from the original on 2016-04-23.
  2. ^ a b "Presentations, Motivational Speakers, Seminars, Coaching". Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2010-01-23. www.takerisks.com About Jim McCormick Accessed January 15, 2010
  3. ^ A Whole New Ballgame / Lore of New Park Yet to Be Recorded San Francisco Chronicle," April 12, 2000. Accessed January 23, 2010
  4. ^ [1] Video of the 1998 formation accessed on January 11, 2010
  5. ^ [2] Article entitled "The Evolution of Sport Skydiving" by Martin Myrtle. Accessed January 11, 2010
  6. ^ [3]|"TakeRisks.com: World Record 300-way Skydive Holds Lessons for Corporate Executive" Business Wire, December 20, 2002 Accessed January 22, 2009
  7. ^ [4] Archived 2010-01-05 at the Wayback Machine World Team home page accessed January 12, 2010
  8. ^ http://records.fai.org/parachuting/current.asp?id0=1&id1=202&id2=1&id3=15. Retrieved 2010-01-18. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help) Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Parachuting World Record "G-2-c1 : Largest freefall formation : 400 parachutists." This is the official body for world parachuting records. Accessed January 18, 2010
  9. ^ "World Team News". Archived from the original on 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 2006 world record photographs, accessed January 12, 2010
  10. ^ [5] "Z-Team Sequential World Record - March 31, 2007" Accessed January 12, 2010
  11. ^ [6] Honda skydiving advertisement and documentary footage - Accessed January 15, 2010
  12. ^ "New record for Colorado skydiving formation | 9news.com". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 9News.com video, August 28, 2011. Accessed September 6, 2012
  13. ^ [7] Denverpost.com story and photo, August 29, 2011. Accessed September 5, 2012
  14. ^ [8] Timescall.com story and photo, August 28, 2011. Accessed September 5, 2012
  15. ^ Video of August 28, 2011 Snowflake formation on YouTube. Accessed September 5, 2012.
  16. ^ [9]"Skydivers attempt to break record at AirVenture" USA Today story by Katy Macek. July 22, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  17. ^ [10] "Skydivers to Make World-Record Attempts" theNorthwestern.com story by Michelle Dickmann, July 16, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  18. ^ [11] "Eagles Over Oshkosh Set a New Wisconsin Sky-Dive Record" EAA website story by Ric Reynolds, July 25, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  19. ^ [12] "Jim McCormick and Skydiving Hall of Fame Skydivers Go for World Record over EAA Oshkosh" EstesParkNews story. July 24, 2015. Story is on page 15 of the webfile. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  20. ^ [13] Top 15 Air Show Events and Festivals in the USA, updated February 2014. Accessed November 2, 2015.
  21. ^ [14] ABC7 News video and report by Rob McMillan. Accessed November 2, 2015.
  22. ^ [15] "202 Skydivers Set Record for Largest Sequential Formation in Leap over Southern California" Associated Press story posted to Torontosun.com October 1, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  23. ^ [16] "Video Shows 202 Skydivers Shatter World Record by Linking in Mid-Air Lattice Formation" Associated Press story posted to nationalpost.com October 1, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  24. ^ [17] "Blessings from the Sky" Parachutist website, April 2018. Accessed May 16, 2018.
  25. ^ "Indie Book Awards". Archived from the original on 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2012-06-12. Winners and Finalists of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Accessed January 25, 2010.
  26. ^ [18] Website for the Management Book of the Year awards. Accessed November 9, 2015.
  27. ^ [19] "CMI Announces Management Book of the Year Finalists," CMI Press Release, October 21, 2012. Accessed November 9, 2015.
  28. ^ "The First-Time Manager: Seventh Edition". HarperCollins Australia. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  29. ^ [20] http://www.businesslessonsfromtheedge.com Accessed January 15, 2010