Emmy Award® winning HBO® filmmaker, former Wall Street Exec, Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors (PSRAR) Director, and California Real Estate Technology Services (CARETS) Director for Palm Springs, James Ronald Whitney was bi-coastal living in New York City for nearly two decades, until becoming a year-round resident in Palm Springs, California in 2007. Real Estate is a personal passion for James, and one of three industries with which he has been consistently and intimately involved since the 90’s. In addition to Real Estate, James has an impressive background in both the financial services and entertainment industries and has served as a member of numerous prestigious organizations, including Goldman Sachs Funds’ Blue Chip Council and Oppenheimer’s Executive Council, and has been honored by and inducted into institutions ranging from The Museum of Television & Radio and The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to The British Film Institute and The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
“Aside from making movies, deal-making is one of my favorite art forms,” James says. His background includes extensive experience as President of two Real Estate Development Companies, and he was intimately involved in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) during his tenure as Vice President at a number of Wall Street’s major investment firms, including The Royal Bank of Canada’s RBC Wealth Management and John Hancock Financial Services, where he managed the portfolios of both celebrities and high-net-worth clients. In addition to working with Real Estate Investment Trusts while on Wall Street, Whitney’s passion for Real Estate includes development, management and design for which he has been featured in a number of periodicals including The New York Times. As a financial expert, he has been a guest on CNNfn and other industry news programs, and has been featured in and on the cover of Wall Street magazines such as Registered Representative, Research Magazine and On Wall Street, and has received countless financial achievement awards.
James talent for sifting through the plethora of Real Estate inventory to find that remarkable deal stems from his personal experience as a chronic house-flipper, “I can’t drive by an open house without going in to check out the design detail and opportunity for potential. For me, investing in real estate is a highly creative process that ultimately comes down to value. I’ve invested in and sold every type of property imaginable, ranging from traditional, single-family homes and beach houses to penthouse lofts, multi-family residential units and condos. I enjoy the ‘art’ of finding my friends, family and clients the perfect home, condo, or investment property that gets them the biggest bang for their hard-earned buck.”
Born in Las Vegas, that artistic world has always been a part of Whitney’s life. His first career was as a professional dancer, performing in hit shows ranging from “Chippendales” to "Fame." As a competitor, in addition to winning both “Star Search” and “Dance Fever,” James competed on numerous game shows, where, he was as an undefeated game show contestant. Whitney is also an accomplished musician (saxophone, percussion, cello, and piano), who wrote the theme song to his Emmy Award® winning HBO film, "Telling Nicholas." Additionally, he has written dozens of original songs, written and scored two musicals, and has co-scored several of his feature-length films.
In his formative years, at only 17, he was awarded a Congressional appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy, where, as a cadet, he joined the cheerleading squad, gymnastics team, and soccer team. James was later granted a full economic scholarship to Arizona State University, where he joined that cheerleading squad and became president of a fraternity. In addition to collegiate gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, and dance, James was a competitive wrestler, a semi-professional golfer and racquetball player, a black belt in both judo and karate, a judo instructor, and an avid acrobatic skydiver, who eventually purchased both his own high-performance plane, which he learned to pilot, and his personal yacht that he learned to Captain. Always the adventurer, James has raised three monkeys, and with only a toothbrush and an extra pair of boxers, has extensively travelled through six continents, and 20 of the 21 Wonders of the World, and backpacked through 144 countries…and counting! His unique personal accomplishments, talents and interests, coupled with his diverse professional background in real estate, financial services, entertainment, and as an entrepreneur afford James that incredible ability to establish rapport and truly connect with any client on a multitude of levels.
“Will Rogers once said that he never met a man he didn’t like,” Whitney commented, “Similarly, I’ve never met a person with whom I didn’t share something in common.” As an entrepreneur, James was President of two global film companies, and President of a multi-million dollar corporation that owned the world’s largest collection of Hollywood studio props and costumes. He also owned more than a dozen small and varied businesses ranging from a travel agency, ice cream and yogurt shop, and dating service to a hair salon, dance studio, card and gift shop and retail emporium, where as customers shopped for everything from clothing to CDs, Whitney would walk a tightrope or perform a trapeze act high above his patron’s heads. That unparalleled, diverse background in both big and small business, and his pedigree as an esteemed professional allow him to seamlessly guide his Real Estate clients from start to successful close of any transaction. Adds Managing Broker David Cantwell, “James has an impressive list of professional and personal accomplishments, all of which give him a leg up in serving his clients. We are excited to welcome him to our Palm Springs Main office family and see a bright future in our partnership!”