Acuity Brands is proud to celebrate Black History Month throughout February. Each week, we’re highlighting the leaders participating in our upcoming speaker series presented by our MAGIC (Minorities Amplifying Growth Inclusion and Community) Employee Resource Group. This week, we sat down with James Young, Director, Application Delivery, to learn more about his career with Acuity Brands and his interests outside of the workplace.
Read on for the full interview!
James Young joined Acuity Brands in 2001 as a part of the Leadership Trainee Program after attending the University of Georgia. Today, James serves as a Director of Application Delivery on the Acuity Brands Lighting (ABL) Tech team. James has a long track record of success with our company in various roles, including Network Engineering, Agency Field Integration Trainer, Business Systems Analyst, and ABL Tech Project Manager. With James’ leadership, his team built and delivered an enterprise platform called Project Data Management (PDM), a single-source system for storing and maintaining all of ABL’s product data. In addition, his teams have delivered & managed customer-facing products such as the Product Configurator, Submittal Generator, Holophane 3D Assembly Modeling, and Acuity Distributor Center.
Are there special skills or hidden talents you’d like to share with us?
I’m very competitive when it comes to sports, and I’m always trying to learn and compete in different types of activities. That competitiveness has led me to try a wide range of different types of sports. From tennis, to baseball, to skiing, to basketball and golf, just name a sport and I’ve probably competed in it. Recently, running has even become a new passion of mine, although it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. I’m always looking to try to master and teach myself a new activity.
If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I would love to go to the future to see how the world has evolved. What’s the latest technology, did we finally get our flying cars? Have we found a cure for illnesses like diabetes or cancer? Do I have grandkids? I’d be interested to see the overall climate of the world and how we have improved as a civilization.
That said, if I could only go backward, I would love to visit the 1920/30s and spend time with my grandparents. I’d like to get a real sense and appreciation of what they went through and what the struggle was like for them during that time.
Who are the three greatest living musicians and why?
This is a tough one, but I would start with the man himself, Stevie Wonder.
Stevie's music is timeless, and the man has countless hits that everyone sings off the top of their head. However, he isn’t just a sweet voice, he writes, produces, and plays the bulk of the instruments heard on each song. From little Stevie to the legend we see today, he has influenced multiple generations. He’s one of the greatest songwriters ever and has been doing it for over 60 years. He’s a true giant of the music industry and a national wonder (pardon the pun).
Being southern-born, I have to include Outkast on this list. If you think about it, Outkast was really the first southern hip-hop group that became mainstream in US. In addition, they put Atlanta on the map and ushered in an era of southern hip-hop which led the city to become the capital of music and culture for the country. On top of that, not only were they able to create hit after hit, but Outkast was also able to evolve collectively and individually while staying at the forefront of music. Outkast's sound has inspired a generation of new artists and they have kept everyone dancing for decades.
As for my third pick? That’s a tough one.. so I’ll let the two speak for themselves!
Across Acuity Brands, we honor diversity of thought, heritage, and orientation — respecting and celebrating what makes us each unique. Learn more about our #BlackHistoryMonth events and initiatives by following us on social media @AcuityBrands