James S. Cownie

Co-Founder and past President, Heritage Comm., 2009 Cable Hall of Fame




Born Des Moines, Iowa, 1944

Dowling High School, 1962

University of Notre Dame, 1966 (B.B.A.)

Married Patty Hines in 1967; five children, ages 28-40

Hobbies: Bird hunting, fishing, golf, handball




• 1971-1990: Co-Founder/President, Heritage Communications, Inc.

• 9th largest cable TV operator serving 1,000,000+ subscribers in 22 states.

• Largest systems: San Jose, Wilmington, Dallas, Central Iowa

• 1,600 employees and $350 million in revenue.

• 1991-1996: Chairman, New Heritage Associates

• 1996-Present: self-employed investor

• 2006-Present: Chairman/Owner, WestWind Logistics LLC/WWL Holding, Inc.

• Board Director: Da-Lite Screen Company; MARKETLINK, Inc.; The Macerich Company




• National Cable Television Association-- Board member and chairman.

• C-SPAN--Board member

• NFL Football Consortium--Co-Chairman

• Customer Service Standards, Ad hoc committee chairman


• Dowling-St. Joseph Foundation, (Chairman, 1990)

• Des Moines Diocesan Development Committee; Chairman of $20 million fund raising effort, 2001

• Mercy Hospital (1997-present; Vice Chair 2005-2006)

• Des Moines Development Corporation, (Chairman, 1991 & 1992)

• Greater Des Moines Committee (Chairman, 1993)

• Metro YMCA, Chairman, 1993-94

• Des Moines Vision Plan, Co-Chairman

• Greater Des Moines United Way (Campaign Chairman, 1992)

• Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, Chairman (2000-2003)

• Convention & Visitors Bureau

• Downtown Partnership, Inc.

• Youth Homes of Mid-America

• Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (Advisor)

• J.N. "Ding" Darling Foundation

• Greater Des Moines Partnership (Chairman, 2007)




• Challenger Award for Young Leadership, National Cable Television Association, 1985

• President's Award, National Cable Television Association, 1990

• Catholic Honoree, National Conference of Christian & Jews, 1991

• Distinguishing Alumnus Award-Dowling High School-1991; St. Augustin Grade School, 1994

• Entrepreneur of the Year "Sociably Responsible" Award, 1992

• Community Involvement Award, Des Moines "Business Record," 1992

• Honorary Chair Variety Club of Iowa Telethon, 1996

• National Society of Fund Raising Executives "Outstanding Volunteer Fund Raiser," 1997

• Commencement speaker, Grand View College, 2001

• Inducted into Iowa Business Hall of Fame, Greater Des Moines Committee, 2001

• Service to Mankind Award, Sertoma Club of Des Moines, 2001

• First Civitas Award, Dowling High School, 2004

• Iowa Parks & Recreation's "Ahrens Community Service" Award, 2004

• YMCA Service To Youth Award, 2004

• Association of Fundraising Professionals' "Spirit of Philanthropy" Award, 2004

• The Des Moines Register's Iowa Star Award, 2005

• Iowa Soccer Association's Hall of Fame, 2005

• United Way Alexis Tocqueville Society Honoree, 2006

• Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau Civic Friend of Hospitality, 2006

• Greater Des Moines Partnership "Quarterback Extraordinaire" Award, 2007

• Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute "A. Arthur Davis Leadership" Award, 2008


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