Max F. James

Executive Chairman

Max James was raised on a farm in Humboldt Tennessee. At the age of 17, he left the farm and went to Washington DC as an intern for his local Congressman. Max graduated from the Air Force Academy with honors, as a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, and went on to have a distinguished military career. As a helicopter pilot, he flew over 200 combat rescue missions in Vietnam where he was shot down twice. For his bravery, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross three times. Max also flew with astronauts in the Astronaut Recovery Program at Cape Canaveral. After his military service, he went on to graduate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and received his MBA.

Max James is an entrepreneur. After a distinguished career in commercial real estate, Max started and operated several companies. He is one of the pioneers in specialty retail. Max operated over 80 Metabolife carts in the US and saw an opportunity to build a company around the emerging specialty retail business. He created American Kiosk Management in 1997. Max and the AKM team have operated thousands of carts across North America for numerous well known consumer brands. The relationship with long term partner Guthy-Renker has generated over a billion dollars in Proactiv sales across a nationwide network of mall carts, kiosks, and automated stores. As a result of this unprecedented growth and his entrepreneurial spirit, in 2010 Max and the AKM team were the first ever to be inducted into the Specialty Retail Hall of Fame.

Max is a Philanthropist. After many year of supporting the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and many other charities, in 2006, he founded the Max F. James Family Foundation. Their foundations mission is to “Provide blessings to the innocent and those who protect them”.  In 2008, Max founded the Camp Soaring Eagle Foundation. The camp is a place where critically, chronically, and sometimes terminally ill children can have a normal camp experience. Over the past 9 years, over six thousand children and their families have attended Camp Soaring Eagle at no cost due to the generosity of Max, Linda, the Foundation, AKM employees, our guests who donate, and hundreds of others.

Max is also one of the Founding Directors of the United States Air Force Academy’s Endowment Foundation, and serves as the Chairman of the Center for Character and Leadership Development Committee (CCLD).  In 2010, he was the recipient of the Air Force Academy’s Distinguished Graduate Award recognizing graduates whose singular and distinctive contributions to society and the nation have set them apart from other graduates.

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