James Conlan

James Conlan

Class of 2008

A native of Chicago, Jim was born September 30, 1940. Upon graduating from Thornton Township High School, Jim went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University.

He married Lee in 1987. Jim also has four daughters, Kimberly, Krissa, Michelle and Lori.

He served with the 16th Infantry, United States Army, including an overseas posting in Baumholder, Germany.

Jim started sales his career in 1966 with General Foods in its Jello Division eventually becoming an account supervisor. In 1969, he began a 30-year career with Mars, Inc., initially as a sales representative and later as a sales marketing supervisor. He was promoted to wholesale division sales manager in 1977 and was named senior brands marketing manager in 1979.

In 1992, Jim was assigned the responsibility for directing all Mars’ strategic planning and implementation for the 1992 Winter and Summer Olympics. A year later, he was named external affairs director responsible for corporate affairs in North and South America. Jim retired in 1999 but has since been retained by Mars as a consultant in areas such as sales, corporate communication and scientific affairs.

Jim was inducted into the Mars, Inc. Tie Club for recognition of outstanding performance in 1980. The National Confectioners Association presented him the 2008 Distinguished Service Award, and he says he is proud of his involvement with the strategic planning processes within the NAMA, the NCA and the IFIC, resulting in continued success and growth. He served as NCA chairman from 2004 to 2006, and is currently a member of the association’s executive board as ex-officio chairman.

Jim was also involved in the development and management of the Panama Conference on Cocoa Sustainability in 1996, which was attended by representatives from all major global confectionery manufacturers and government agencies from across the world.

In his free time, Jim is an avid skier and a motorcycle and sports car enthusiast. He also does work with CARE, an anti-drug law enforcement program and HANDY, which gives support to needy children at Christmas.