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Attention to detail is a characteristic that helps ensure quality work, whatever the business. Meet Jim Modica, Jeff Winton Associates (JWA) co-founder and chief operating officer, whose executional excellence always keeps the agency ahead of the curve.

When Jim was a young boy in Kansas City, Missouri, he remembers watching with interest ad executive Darrin Stephens on TV’s “Bewitched” and thinking … that could be an interesting job. After completing a double major in management and marketing from Rockhurst University, Jim quickly found work in his hometown, beginning his career in print sales for a business-to-business publication and  then broadcast sales for a radio station. Before too long, he landed his childhood dream position in account services working in the  advertising agency field with clients that included McDonald’s, Wendy’s, the Missouri Lottery and BASF.

The Big Apple came calling with an offer at one of the nation’s leading agencies, Grey Advertising. After working on the agency side in New York for a few years, Jim was recruited to be product information manager with American Cyanamid Company (which became Wyeth and later part of Pfizer). His next role was as communications director at Johnson & Johnson, where he worked with global marketing teams as new medical devices and therapeutic techniques were approved and made available to patients and healthcare professionals. 

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Jim with Bobby, his first horse and a continued horse show competitor.

“I had the opportunity at J&J to become very involved with qualitative market research projects and subsequently conduct 1:1 interviews and moderate focus groups with physicians, surgeons and patients,” Jim says. 

In 2001, Jim decided to explore new horizons by creating his own company, West Mill Consulting. Its remote operating model was revolutionary for its time.

Jim says, “I was ready to do something different that also allowed me to work from my home office when I was not traveling for business. I was able to bring both my 20+ years of communications experience and leverage my marketing research skills with clients, a combination that was in high demand.”

When Jim’s partner, Jeff Winton, evaluated the idea of starting his own agency, Jim offered to help with the nuts and bolts of starting a new business, since he had experience establishing West Mill Consulting. Jim registered for an LLC, set up bank and email accounts, recommended naming the agency after Jeff who is widely known and respected in the industry, and suggested that the agency be virtual. The timing of that last decision turned out to be fortuitous when COVID hit one month after JWA’s February 2, 2020 launch. 

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Jim and Java Joe at the World’s Championship Horse Show.

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Jeff Winton (left) and Jim often compete in equestrian events. This photo was taken at the American Saddlebred Association of Wisconsin (ASAW) Summerfest Horse Show

“Beyond the early preparations, I projected I might need to contribute a couple of hours a week. However, potential client interest was immediate, and it was soon evident that the agency would require my services full time,” Jim chuckles. “I am always busy, whether handling financials, agency-related policies, people management and the mechanics of day-to-day business or reviewing client contracts and preparing documents such as statements of work, which can range from the straightforward to the complex. I love variety and can be very detail-oriented, so it’s all right up my alley.”

Jim is not just well-rounded at work. He also has several outside interests that give him a sense of accomplishment.


“I am passionate about home renovation … which is a good thing because I have never bought a new house,” Jim notes. “I consider the era and style of the home when creating a vision for what needs to be done. I am very hands-on with contractors regarding what materials and color schemes to use and how to integrate modern amenities while still maintaining the spirit of the original home design.”

Animals play a major role in Jim’s life as well. He lives with four dogs and two cats and co-owns several show dogs with breeders and handlers around the world. In addition, Jim competes in equestrian events. When in high school, Jim took horseback riding lessons. However, it was not until 13 years ago that he acquired his own first horse, a two-year-old American Saddlebred colt named Bobby. Jim and Bobby continue to compete together in the show ring. Jim currently co-owns several other horses, along with a Hackney Pony, who will also be competing in equestrian competitions this year.

Right: Jim cuddles up with his greyhound, Jake, after the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Jake won best of breed that year.

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Jim taking a break from cooking while hosting a gathering of friends.

When it’s the end of a long day, rather than collapse on the sofa, Jim often heads to the kitchen to cook, with Italian dishes being his favorite to make. Reflecting on why cooking appeals to him, Jim says, “I find that especially when there are projects at work that may have numerous steps and take days or weeks to finish, the simple act of cooking a meal lets me achieve something from start to finish. As someone who likes to meet goals, that is very satisfying.”

Whether improving on an agency process, fixing up an old house, competing in dog and horse shows, or making a delicious meal, Jim never loses sight of the desired result. That laser focus makes Jim invaluable to JWA.

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