Each year, we ask locals to nominate Hunterdon County’s most influential people – men and women who are shaping the community, influencing their industries, and making a difference. Dozens of amazing stories were submitted about passionate and committed locals. At Hunterdon Happening, we salute all those who wake up every morning with the intention of leaving the world just a little bit better.
10 outstanding individuals have been named the Top 10 Movers & Shakers of the year, and we have the honor of sharing their stories on Hunterdon Happening. Meet James McDevitt, a constant positive contributor to the community, including hosting charitable polo benefits at his farm in Franklin Township for 17 years and one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the Hunterdon Art Museum. This past year, Jim created a new non-profit organization, The Hunterdon Foundation, to redirect the proceeds of the polo matches to benefit other Hunterdon County non-profits. For 2016, the Hunterdon Polo Classic benefitted the Hunterdon Art Museum and Hunterdon Prevention Resources. This year’s polo classic was put together in record time with the support of a very dedicated team including the Polo Committee, volunteers and many local organizations and businesses.
Hunterdon Happening: Where did you attend school?
Jim: I attended Purdue for a graduate degree in Computer Science and Rutgers for an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
Hunterdon Happening: What motivates you every morning?
Jim: I really enjoy the opportunity to live on a beautiful farm in picturesque Hunterdon County with my family. Waking up in this environment really makes for a great day. It is also great to look forward to returning home, when I’ve been at work or traveling.
Hunterdon Happening: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
Jim: My idea of a perfect day is time spent with my family at home. A typical Saturday routine includes me preparing a home cooked breakfast for the family, something we all enjoy. After breakfast, being out on the farm with the animals or other farm chores makes for a perfect day.
Hunterdon Happening: Who inspires you?
Jim: There’s not one person who inspires me – there are many people. I see lots of great things in many of the people I’m fortunate enough to meet. Part of the fun of volunteering is getting to meet like minded individuals. I’m always amazed at the generosity of the people around me and their willingness to jump in and help.
Hunterdon Happening: How did you decide to go into your business/profession/service?
Jim: I started the Hunterdon Foundation this year after hosting about twenty polo benefits at my farm. Polo has a great tradition of giving back, and I want to see that continue. With the Hunterdon Foundation, we have found a way to involve more of the worthy nonprofit organizations of Hunterdon and provide exposure to the community in a very fun and family friendly way.
Hunterdon Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?
Jim: On a personal level, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife and three wonderful children. On a social level, I’ve been involved with many nonprofits in various capacities and I enjoy the sense of giving back and helping others. Professionally, I’m a partner in a software consulting and staffing company. I get a lot of satisfaction out of building new things.
Hunterdon Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Jim: I have been very lucky, and my personal challenge is to help others.
Hunterdon Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
Jim: I’d like to see growing awareness and support of all the wonderful nonprofit organizations in Hunterdon County. I’d like to see the Hunterdon Foundation and the Hunterdon Polo Classic reach their fullest potential.
Hunterdon Happening: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
Jim: This is a tough question to answer. There are so many people I have been blessed with as friends and co-workers. To answer for them isn’t my place. I have also been blessed over many years of volunteering with nonprofit organizations and on nonprofit boards, hosting and organizing Polo Classics, and getting to work with many charitable minded people who have become friends. I would describe them as dedicated, hard working and loyal people who want to give back to the community. I hope they would describe me the same way.
Hunterdon Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Hunterdon County?
Jim: I love all of Hunterdon County. Driving through the county and seeing all the scenic vistas. Seeing beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It’s a great place to live.
Hunterdon Happening: You can take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?
Jim: Appreciate every day.
Hunterdon Happening: Same question 10 years in the future.
Jim: I have no idea. Hopefully I can tell myself “Good job!”.