James Carter

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James Carter

Title: Director and Head of the Central Region Public Finance Group
Firm: Academy Securities
Age: 38

As a teen, James Carter had wanted to be an engineer. “I had always been a tinkerer,” the Chicago-area native said.

Then a field trip to New York tinkered with his career and steered it toward public finance.

On the final stop of a sightseeing day, James visited Goldman Sachs at its former 85 Broad Street headquarters in Lower Manhattan. “We got a talking-to from three investment bankers about finance and investment banking. I was sitting in the front row and my mouth was wide open.”

James, 38, is now a director and head of the central region public finance group at Academy Securities, a veteran and disabled veteran owned and operated investment bank.

“He is very rangy and has capabilities that run across business lines,” Academy managing director Richard Kolman said. James’ territory stretches from Michigan to Texas.

James started his career in the asset-backed securities group at JPMorgan, then landed with Cabrera Capital Markets after his best friend’s mother ran into founder Martin Cabrera Jr. on a Chicago street, which opened up an interview.

He opened Cabrera’s Houston office as an and was the primary contact for Houston-related issuers and independent school districts across Texas.

James took public finance to heart: His mother taught in Chicago’s school system and he was immediately drawn to the de-facto “community service” element of the job.

“With the public sector, you have to do well and you have to do good,” he said.

James is an avid video-game player and reader. His book interests range from African-American history to banking best practices. He volunteers for the Chicago Business Institute and also a board member, mentoring low-income high school students.

He is also a board member and president of the Windy City Gator Club, and an affiliate of the University of Florida Alumni Association.

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