J. Ira Harris
Horatio Alger Association Member Information
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J. Ira Harris
J.I. Harris & Associates
"If you put in a total effort, the rewards will come."
J. Ira Harris was born in 1938 in the Bronx, New York.
began working when he
was only eight, selling newspapers door to door.
was so successful in this enterprise that he
first sales contest.
During high school, Harris's mother became ill.
had always wanted to see her
son go to college, but she
was not expected to live long enough for that to happen.
worked hard and graduated in 3-1/2 years.
At the age of 16, he began his higher education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
It was one of the few quality schools that accepted freshmen in the spring semester.
In this way, he
had granted his
mother's last wish.
She passed away at the end of his first semester in college.
way through school in a variety of jobs.
He delivered laundry, served as a waiter in a sorority house, and refereed intramural sporting games.
In 1959, at the age of 20, he
graduated and began his
financial career selling mutual funds door to door in New York City.
In 1961, he joined Granbery Marache and Company, the predecessor of Blair and Company, as a securities salesman.
research reports soon developed a strong following among leading institutional investors.
In 1964, Blair
sent him to Chicago to revive their faltering Midwest operation.
The 26-year-old Harris
soon turned the Chicago and Midwest office into a leading moneymaker.
In 1969, Salomon Brothers offered him a partnership, making him the first outsider brought in from another firm in that capacity.
expertise in corporate mergers and acquisitions, Harris
brought major new clients to the firm.
Recognized as one of the nation's most creative investment bankers, Harris
is acknowledged to have advised on some of the most creative and important corporate deals.
In 1988, he joined Lazard Freres & Company as a senior partner and member of its management committee.
In 1998, at the age of 60, he established J. I. Harris & Associates, a financial consulting firm.
said, "Hard work, ambition, and self-confidence all play a role in success.