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JAMES J. MILLER'S latest career move is no mystery if you happen to know his email address: it begins with privdet007.

Miller, XP-62 (’93), combined his business skills and interest in criminal justice, added "P.I." behind the M.B.A. after his name, and opened a private investigation agency in the Chicago suburbs.

Miller–whose varied background includes a stint as vice president of an engineering firm, proprietor of a health club, manager of a family real estate trust, and captain in the Illinois State Police Auxiliary–said launching the business was a fairly simple decision.

"I had a lifelong dream of going into investigations," say Miller, XP-62 (’93). "I thought, ‘what a good fit. It’s different, it’s entrepreneurial, it’s me.’"

Of course, it takes more to become a gumshoe than a clever email name, a digital camera, a trench coat and hat. Becoming certified as a private investigator is no easy task, and for good reason. Licensed investigators can perform the same tasks as a police detective: gather evidence; provide personal protection; investigate crimes, fires, accidents, or injuries, and conduct background checks on individuals, firms, or corporations, just to name a few. Certification begins with a lengthy application process that includes fingerprinting and an extensive background check, followed by an exam that Miller calls "the bar exam for law enforcement." It covers the laws of the state of Illinois, including crime and tort, as well as forensic science, business law, surveillance techniques, and interviewing skills. Once an applicant has passed the exam and been certified, he or she must secure $1 million in liability insurance, get bonded with the state, and go before a review board for a final approval.

Miller was certified in November 1997; he opened Investigative Services Agency in Darien, Illinois, in January 1998. The staff of 14 includes a full-time investigator, nine bodyguards, two bodyguard supervisors, two full-time police detectives, and supervisor Lauren Graham. The agency offers a variety of investigative services, including bodyguard services, investigating workman’s compensation, and verifying employment history. The agency recently won a contract with a home health care company to provide bodyguard services to nurses delivering care in patient homes.

"It can be difficult to get nurses to visit some places because of safety issues," Miller explains, "and Medicare will fully pay for an armed bodyguard for these people." Even with the added expense of a bodyguard, Miller notes, "it’s still less expensive to provide home health care than it is to treat someone in the hospital."

Although it may seem unusual, Miller says that this type of request is becoming more commonplace, and that some of the bodyguards he hired have past experience with home health assignments.

The agency also has projects that involve gathering evidence for attorneys, and Miller–a licensed pilot–says he is marketing aerial surveillance services as well.

The biggest challenge, as with most new businesses, has been getting through the business’s initial months and establishing the agency. "We need to make it to the end of the first year," he said. "The biggest challenge is just sticking it out until then."
pportunity to wed his love of the game with his publishing experience.

At SI, Klingensmith is in charge of business operations and consumer marketing, and in a few short months his position has taken him around the globe: to Augusta, Georgia, for the Masters; to Nagano for the Olympics; and to San Antonio for the Final Four.

Despite the perks, heading up SI isn’t all fun and games. Guiding a news magazine in the information age presents challenges. Although Klingensmith says that the proliferation of sports web sites has not detracted from the success of the printed magazine, it does mean that there are more players vying for the same advertising. "There is more competition for media dollars," Klingensmith says. "We’re finding our place in the new media mix."

In some ways, though, the flood of information has also been positive for the magazine. "People are overwhelmed with a barrage of information, much of it available instantaneously," Klingensmith said. "This plays into the hands of the magazine because people need someone to sort it all out for them. It’s the classic role of the news magazine. People want thoughtful analysis, well-written articles. And SI is well written and thoughtful and it has spectacular photography."

Easy going, down to earth, and quick to smile, Klingensmith seems to have adjusted well to the fast-paced publishing world and to Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and their two children. His children are already displaying early signs of their father’s love of sports: 10-year-old Carolyn is one of two girls on her west side Little League team, and 8-year-old Jimmy is fond of "all sports that require a stick"–namely hockey, baseball, and golf. Klingensmith himself continues to "play many sports badly" in his free time. As for his career, Klingensmith is clearly playing at championship level. As he talks about his two decades in publishing, Klingensmith makes his ascension at Time Inc. seem so–well, simple–and downright enjoyable. Has it been all that?

"I’ve worked very hard," he says, "The perception in the early days was that Time was Ivy League, an East coast establishment corporation. I was a midwestern guy with no work experience whatsoever. I wanted to do well. I worked hard."

So maybe it hasn’t been easy, but Klingensmith has definitely enjoyed the ride. "Even if it ended tomorrow," Klingensmith says, "nobody could ask for a more fun career than I’ve had."

–M.M.B.


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