After graduating with an electrical engineering degree, Jim Taverna realized he wanted to work in sales and management, not engineering. Given his background, that evolved into engineering related sales – business to business type activity. After some other employment in this area, he joined Mobil and proceeded to sell petroleum products to a wide range of industries in New England. It became apparent that he needed to some additional background to maximize his potential so he obtained an MBA from the University of Connecticut.
Subsequently, Taverna held management positions in a broad array of assignments in planning, supply, product development, and sales. Given an opportunity to move overseas, he became the General Manager of Marketing Ventures in Saudi Arabia. This great job had him managing five disparate businesses there, as well as activities in North and South Yemen.
With this background, Taverna was able to proceed on to manage businesses in English speaking Africa, plus Zaire and Ethiopia.
He developed expertise in counter trading and started an offshore trading company to assist in getting supplies for these countries. He came back to the US Division as the Manager of the Automotive Lubricant business. This assignment enabled him to be at the forefront of a culture change within that group and to learn a great deal about consumer marketing of package goods. Taverna and his team were written up by the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal for creating a new brand image that moved the company to be the fastest growing lubricant brand in the US.
Subsequent to that, Taverna moved back to International to become the manager of lubricant marketing support for Latin American companies, covering from Mexico to Argentina and Chile.
After Taverna retired at the time of the Exxon merger, he was invited to join the board of a metal working fluids company in Ohio. Acting as an agent of change, Taverna and his colleagues turned the company from a money-losing $45MM company to a successful international marketer of products with forecasted sales of $100MM this year. This success led him to be invited to join the board of a $650MM petroleum distribution company here in Virginia. He currently has several initiatives underway to reinvigorate that company.
Taverna has also served on a large non-profit board and just retired from his Home Owners Board here in Williamsburg.