Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

American finance exec likes to ride on the dark side

Riders fight villains on Six Flags Over Texas’ new 4D dark ride, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.
Riders fight villains on Six Flags Over Texas’ new 4D dark ride, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. Star-Telegram

During the week, you can find Jim Hall at American Airlines headquarters, where he is poring over spreadsheets and aircraft financing agreements.

But if you’re looking for him after hours, he’s likely to be at an amusement park on a coaster or “dark ride.”

Last week, Hall was one of the VIP guests at the unveiling of Six Flags Over Texas’ new 4D dark ride, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. He gave several media interviews about the new ride, saying he enjoyed being part of the storyline of fighting Lex Luthor and Joker to retake Metropolis.

Hall, director of corporate finance and treasury at American, said he has been fascinated with dark rides since he was a kid growing up in Tulsa.

“There was an amusement park there that is now closed for the most part and they had an old classic Bill Tracy dark ride,” Hall said. “It has a special place in my heart of that classic … the smell of the old ride you go through and those things popping out at you.”

The travel benefits he gets as an American employee help Hall get to ride more rides around the U.S. as part of the Darkrides and Funhouse Enthusiasts association.

“We do annual events at different parks all across the nation, and it’s always helpful to be able to hop on a flight and go someplace to go ride a new ride or do a new park,” Hall said.

Chase pledges $2 millionfor Tarrant training

JPMorganChase has pledged $2 million to fund workforce training in Tarrant County as part of the bank’s $250 million, five-year global workforce readiness initiative.

Called New Skills at Work, the initiative is the largest-ever private-sector effort aimed at addressing the skills gap, the bank said. Last year, Chase gave Dallas County $5 million for workforce training.

The bank announced the Tarrant County money last week in Dallas when it released its Skills Gap Report for Dallas-Fort Worth.

“This report by JPMorgan Chase pinpoints the greatest areas of opportunity for workers seeking local middle-skill jobs,” Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said in a statement. “It gives us a road map to help our region achieve greater collaboration among our business community, public sector, educational institutions and social service organizations.

“This commitment from JPMorganChase means more of our residents will get better jobs, helping them provide a better life for their families,” Price said. “It means our businesses will have the supply of skilled workers they need to grow.”

According to the 29-page report, DFW’s economy has 960,000 middle-skill jobs, which represents 29 percent of the region’s workforce. Middle-skill workers are those people with more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree.

According to the report, nearly 1 million DFW residents lack a high school diploma.

The local economy is projected to generate 42,000 middle-skill job openings annually through 2018, the report said. Most of those will come in the healthcare and information technology sectors, as well as finance, aerospace manufacturing, and electronics and components manufacturing, the report said.

Marketing firm selectedfor Goldman program

Fort Worth-based J.O., a full-service marketing agency, is participating in Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, a $500 million nationwide initiative to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and create jobs.

“The opportunity to be selected into the prestigious program and have a customized growth plan built specifically for my company is invaluable,” said Jennifer Henderson, president and founder of J.O.

Henderson said the program will give her access to business education, support services and capital, as well as one-on-one consulting, expert advising and technical assistance. She is participating in business education classes until Aug. 21.

Henderson founded her firm in 1998. It specializes in strategic planning, marketing, public relations, social media, branding and web design.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko