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First Year Connections

James D'Addario

'72, B.A. in Music
Chairman and CEO, D'Addario & Company, Inc.

James D'Addario

Jim D'Addario is chairman & CEO of D'Addario & Company, Inc., one of the world's leading designers, manufactures and distributors of innovative musical instrument accessories. In his role as chairman and CEO, Jim overseas production, research and development, marketing and graphic design for all five D'Addario brand name produlthough Jim toyed with the idea of becoming a professional musician and teacher, he chose instead to work with his father John D'Addario, Sr. and brother John, Jr. in the Darco Strings dct lines: D'Addario, Planet Waves, Evans Drumheads, HQ Percussion and Rico.

Jim started in the D'Addario family business soon after graduating from Hofstra University in 1970 with a B.A. in Music. Aivision of C.F. Martin and Company and soon discovered his love for string making. He also discovered he had a talent for engineering and a knack for custom designing machinery. So, in 1973, along with his father and brother, Jim founded J. D'Addario & Company, Inc. which to make and distribute music strings. Today, D'Addario strings hold the #1 global market position, thanks in part to Jim's ability to custom-design machinery unrivaled in the music instrument business.

Fondly referred to as a "Jack of all trades and master of many," Jim is a hands-on manager who enjoys involvement in all aspects of the business from design conception to manufacturing and distribution. For instance, in the early 1980's when J. D'Addario acquired Kaplan Musical Strings and the company expanded from fretted instrument strings to orchestral strings, Jim's first act of business was to take apart, by hand, the Kaplan machinery to see how it was made and how to improve it - which he did. Before long, J. D'Addario's bowed instrument strings became world renowned for their quality.

Fast-forward to D'Addario today (no longer called J. D'Addario) and the hands-on CEO is still fiddling around with machinery, upgrading and retooling and not surprisingly Jim was the driving force behind getting D'Addario's ISO9001 certification, making the company one of a select few in the industry to qualify for the prestigious certification.

Other distinctions include Jim being awarded the Small Business Association's Entrepreneur of the Year award and being nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award 1998.

D'Addario, the company, has been honored with the New York State Environmental Excellence award, the Certificate of Congressional Recognition, and is a proud member of the Long Island Forum for Technology and the Leadership Initiative Action.

Outside of work, Jim is very active in philanthropic, industry and community organizations and is a member and has served on its Board of the National Association of Music Merchants. He is currently President of the Wheatley Hills Golf Club and has been actively involved in the renovation of the golf course and facilities.

On the business side, D'Addario, the Company, funds the D'Addario Foundation that helps support over 100 music-related programs worldwide from Little Kids Rock to the ASTA String Consortium. On the personal front, Jim and his wife of 37 years, Janet, founded the "James D'Addario Family Foundation" that supports charities such as Providence House, St. Francis Hospital, UCLA pediatric kidney research, and WFUV.

An avid musician and golfer, Jim and Janet live on Long Island. Together, they raised three children, Julie, Amy and Robert and are now proud grandparents to Olivia, Louisa, and James. The D'Addario Company is truly a family affair. With nine members of the next generation actively involved in management, the business is alive with the D'Addario spirit for music and excellence that all began in the tiny farming town of Salle, Italy in 1680 when Donato D'Addario was born to a family of 'cordaros' - the Italian word for 'string makers.'

D'Addario & Company, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets complete lines of strings for fretted and bowed musical instruments, drumheads, drum practice pads, and guitar and reeds and woodwind accessories under the proprietary brand names D'Addario, Evans, Planet Waves, Rico, and HQ Percussion. D'Addario products are marketed in approximately 120 countries.