Jim Haines, retired CEO of El Paso Electric
Jim Haines’ new place is down the hall, past the elevator, light years from the large offices now occupied by El Paso Electric’s new CEO and CFO. In his modest one-stop-shop office, Haines looks happy, satisfied, and looks a lot like a man about to go on vacation.
He flies to Florida for his father’s 80th birthday. But it takes more to relax those shoulders and lose a smirk. Jim Haines retired from the El Paso institution which he brought back to life and continued with his own.
In six short years, Haines transformed El Paso Electric from a struggling utility barely out of bankruptcy to a company that has gained financial respect and stability. For these accomplishments and a strong personal commitment to his adopted country, El Paso Inc. proudly names Jim Haines El Pasoan of the Year 2001.
Haines, 55, was born in Jackson, Michigan. At the University of Missouri, he earned a BA in English Literature and a JD. In 1975 he went to work as Assistant Attorney General of Missouri. Over the next 10 years, Haines used his legal skills to represent public service boards and utility companies. In 1985, he moved to senior management as vice president at Kansas Gas and Electric, then was named executive vice president and chief operating officer at Western Resources in Topeka.
In 1996. Haines was looking for a new challenge when El Paso Electric was looking for its next CEO. David Wiggs had negotiated the bankruptcy of the company; it was time for someone else to regain confidence. Haines took it on, then others. He empowered employees, reconnected with the community and allayed investor fears.
Along the way, he met and married Cynthia Farah, professor of cinema at UTEP. They’ve moved into a smaller house that Haines has filled with libraries as he prepares for his new career. Appointed Robert and Jacqueline Skov Professor of Business Ethics at UTEP College of Business, Professor Haines will teach his first course in January.
He is always busy with community work, serving on the Boards of Directors of the El Paso branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, the World Trade Center, the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club. Foundation and the Leadership and Research Council.