Jim McGarrah is a senior executive with leadership and technical experience in the military, commercial, government and educational sectors. He has had successful careers in the Navy, telecommunications industry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and served Shallowford Presbyterian Church as its first Director of Operations.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy, Jim served 33 years in the active and reserve components of the Navy. During his service, he commanded at all levels, ending his career as a Rear Admiral, Deputy Chief of Civil Engineers for the Navy, and Director of a special project for the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Jim also spent over 24 years in the telecommunications industry working for Southern Bell, BellSouth and Cingular Wireless, primarily in operational and planning assignments with the network department. He led the evaluation and deployment of new technologies such as fiber optics and wireless communications. He retired from Cingular Wireless as Executive Director of National Network Planning and Operations.
Jim worked for Georgia Institute of Technology for 10 years. He joined the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) as the Director of the Information and Communications Laboratory and was later selected as Chief of Staff for GTRI. After nine years at GTRI and following his service as the first Director of Operations for Shallowford Presbyterian Church, Jim returned to Georgia Tech in 2019 at the personal request of the Georgia Tech President, and served as the interim Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO). During his 15-month tenure he completed a major organizational realignment, created an integrated Operating Model for Georgia Tech’s IT enterprise, developed a technology governance process, and initiated an IT professional development program. He was a member of Georgia Tech’s COVID Task Force and led the IT enterprise to quickly support virtual operations during the Corona Virus pandemic.
Jim holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Resource Management from Pepperdine University, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Georgia. He is active in a number of civic and volunteer organizations and serves as Board member or officer in several of them.