2018 Citizen-of-the-Year: James Demmert

James Demmert, founder and Managing Partner of Main Street Research, is Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Citizen-of-the-Year.

A Tiburon resident since 1990, James is being honored for his longstanding support of, not only the Tiburon chamber and its community events, but many local, county and national organizations.null

James and his company, Main Street Research, have found many ways to give back to our community. Every quarter, Main Street gives a percent of its profits to a charity. These have included the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Marin Food Bank, USO, World Villages for Children, American Lung Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. On the Tiburon peninsula, James is a supporter of many charities and schools, has been a sponsor of the Chamber’s Friday Nights on Main since its inception and donated 40 flat screen monitors to the Belvedere Tiburon Library. It is also one of the first financial services firms to receive the Bay Area Green Business designation for running a truly green business. 

For the past 10 years, Main Street Research has had an internship program for college students, giving them the opportunity to “test the waters” of an investment firm. “Some of them love it and go on to work in the business,” James says, “ and others decide it’s not for them – and that’s o.k., too. This is one way I can pay back.”

Born and raised in Rochester, New York, James’ ambition at age 12 was to become a professional magician. His high school years were spent at Berkshire School in Massachusetts and then at Harvard University where he majored in economics, graduating in 1987.

“I was lucky, as a college sophomore, to be given an internship at LF Rothschild, an investment firm in Boston, and that experience gave me the investment bug,” he says. “The excitement of finding companies with a future to grow fascinated me.”

After college graduation, he moved west, without a job, until Lehman Brothers hired him in its institutional sales. “After a year there, I knew I didn’t want to work in a big firm,” he says.

That was when he met Michael Smith, a Tiburon resident who recently had founded The Belvedere Group, a small investment company with offices in the upper section of The Boardwalk Shopping Center. “After I moved from the city to Tiburon,” James says, “I could walk to work.”

In 1992, James started a new business which he named Main Street Research because its office was at 120 Main Street. Michael Smith became a silent partner.

“The firm got off to a very slow start,” James says, “and I began to ask myself, ‘What have I done?!’ But before long, business started to pick up, and it just grew and grew. In 1998, we tried to find space big enough in Tiburon to hold us and finally had to give up and move to Sausalito. But, we kept the same name! And now, I can sit in the office and see the view of Belvedere and Tiburon.”

After 35 years in the investment business, James wrote a book titled, “Journey to Wealth: Smart Investment Strategies to Stay Ahead of the Curve.” Accolades for this business book include an Indie Excellence Book Award, Beverly Hills Book Award, Best Book Award Finalist and New York Book Festival Honorable Mention. All proceeds from the book signing last year went to Marin Charitable. For more information about james' book, click here.

“I’m passionate about my work,” James says. “We now work with children and grandchildren of our first clients – and many have become friends. I believe it’s always better to turn clients into friends, not friends into clients.”

James Demmert will be honored at the Bank of Marin’s Spirit of Marin luncheon starting at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, September 21, at St. Vincent’s School for Boys in San Rafael. On Friday, November 2, our own chamber will hold a luncheon locally to honor him. For more information, call the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce office at 415-435-5633.

Main Street Research LLC
Third Floor
30 Liberty Ship Way
Sausalito, CA 
415 289 1010

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