Jim Heard, President, Windham Brannon Financial Group
The first Tournament of Champions. The first tournament at Innisbrook. The first Future Legends tournament. Who was there for all of them? Jim Heard.
As a student in college, Heard volunteered at a number of the AJGA’s earliest events in a time when the organization ran less than 10 tournaments a year. The AJGA was still in its infancy and Heard was there to witness it.
Following graduation from college in 1979, Heard took a job as a Tournament Director with the AJGA, working alongside founder Mike Bentley. While much has changed since those early years, the core of what makes the AJGA such a unique place to work has stayed the same.
Now as President of Windham Brannon Financial Group, a wealth management firm in Atlanta, Heard recalls the AJGA as a special place. It was home to future leaders of the golf industry and business world, allowing them to get a strong start.
“The AJGA has always been an opportunity for young, bright kids who love the game to be involved and learn about personal responsibility, business, and getting the job done and getting it done right,” Heard said. “Whether it is a full time career or a stopping point, it’s a great opportunity to learn what it’s like to have a job and be responsible.”
Heard credits the AJGA for its abundance of solid leadership, which he said makes the organization and its staff what it is today.
“I think any reputation is based on doing things well and doing things right,” Heard said. “There aren’t always easy choices to make, but that’s what the AJGA does.”
The AJGA has grown from hosting eight tournaments in 1980, Heard’s first full year with the organization, to more than 102 in 2013. Heard attributes that success to the qualities of the AJGA staff and what sets them apart. This includes the willingness to be creative and to not just do a job, but do it well.
“When I started, there weren’t a lot of standard procedures on how to do things and run a golf tournament,” Heard said. “We had to learn it ourselves, and learn by trial and error. We thought outside the box, we were creative and we pushed ourselves to be better than other organizations.”
As the AJGA embarks on a schedule of more than 100 tournaments for the first time in its history, it will be because the staff members who continuously push themselves to be the best, just as Heard did.
- Alexis (@AJGAWitman)