Meet Jim Mitchell, COO Of The Kravis Center And Stuart Resident

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He has called the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach his home away from home for 28 years.

The chief operations officer of the performing arts center in West Palm Beach lives on the water in Stuart and commutes five days a week—or more—to the downtown destination for lovers of stage and show.

“After all this time, it’s not a drudge to get up and out the door,” Jim Mitchell, 65, says. “I enjoy going to work every day, and as long as that keeps happening, I’ll keep showing up.”

The avid angler has a 46-foot Sportfish and an Albury 23-foot Center Console docked in his backyard.

“Stuart is just incredible with its rivers, inlet and proximity to the Bahamas,” Mitchell says. “A true waterman’s dream. In fact, to quote the Van Halen boys, it’s just like livin’ in paradise.”

His wife, Judy, serves as the Kravis Center’s chief executive officer, making the couple colleagues. They have shared their place of employment since 1991.

“Judy is the queen,” he says. “She’s in charge of everything, and I report to her.”

In addition to responsibilities that include overseeing all facilities on the 10.5-acre campus as well as security operations, theater production and front-of-the-house event management, he is also heading the construction of the Kravis 2020 Expansion Project.

“It’s impressive even to me, and I’ve been there coming up on my 29th year,” he says. “Everyone is thrilled. It’s been very well received.”

Highlights of the capital improvements are a new 270-space valet parking garage; a 6,000-square-foot expansion of the main lobby; major improvements to the existing self-parking garage; and the addition of electronic way finders—more than 100 of them—around the grounds.

“It was a campus-wide project,” he says. “It affected every corner of the property. I take great pride in it.”

What is your favorite aspect of the Kravis 2020 Expansion Project?

The lobby expansion and new plaza, which create an incredible new vista as you approach the center on Okeechobee Boulevard from the east.

Explain the dynamic of working not only with but also for your wife.

Part of the success is we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other’s strengths. Judy is very good with board management, donor cultivation and fundraising, which are critical to the survival of any performing arts center. I’m much more of a nuts-and-bolts person, and my focus is on the facilities, performances, audience safety and overall experience and the people who make all of that happen. We just have complementary talents that work very well together. Also—and it’s not intentional—I’m on one side of the building, and she’s on the other side. We’re just split up that way. Sometimes, I don’t see her at all or even talk to her throughout the day.

Do you have any retirement plans?

Not quite yet. I still have a few things to finish up on the 2020 project.

Where do you spend your free time?

We love to spend time in The Abacos fishing and spearfishing.

Is there anything else you would like to accomplish as COO of the Kravis Center?

Well, there is still one piece of property left to be developed, so you never know.

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