Jim Rowland, Senior Vice President of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, recently accepted an invitation to join the board of directors of Barracks Row Main Street. Jim is a native of Milwaukee but no newcomer to Barracks Row. “I remember when the trees were small,” he reflected when we called to welcome him to the board.
Jim arrived in Washington, DC in 1991, not long after completing law school. Realizing he did not want to practice law, he joined the office of his home state senator from Wisconsin and found serving Wisconsin in the nation’s capitol very much to his liking. Over the years the purchase of several historic Capitol Hill properties deepened his appreciation of the area. His house was on the Capitol Hill Restoration Society House and Garden tour this spring. A great supporter of the buy local philosophy, Rowland shops regularly at Eastern Market and has watched with admiration as the vendors rallied and prospered after the fire.
Seven years ago Jim Rowland was recruited to join the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers (WSWA) of America. “I come from a family of wine lovers,” he observed philosophically. By accepting the WSWA offer he transitioned overnight from national politics to meeting the challenges of small business. “All of the companies that comprise the membership of WSWA are family owned,” he noted. “I have a deep appreciation for what the sole proprietor is facing today, especially the restaurants and bars.”
A passionate baseball fan, Rowland also helped create a political action committee to bring major league ball back to Washington, DC, and, today, as owner of six season tickets behind the home dugout, attends Nationals games as often as possible. After spending a childhood in New England, Rowland is a lifelong member of Red Sox nation, while maintaining loyalty to hometown Nationals.
The two blocks below the freeway are of special interest to Rowland as the pivotal connector between the new development near Nat’s ballpark, the waterfront trails and the commerce along Barracks Row. With the two local rivers, the Potomac and the Anacostia “tantalizingly close” to Barracks Row, Jim Rowland dreams of water views on or near 8th Street to add a further unique attraction for those working and living on the lower two blocks of our historic corridor.
His hobbies include skiing, with visits to Aspen, Vail, Sun Valley, and Jackson Hole every year. In the summer Rowland spends as much time as possible at his vacation home on Cape Cod. With two black Labrador Retrievers, Winston and Wally, as part of the family, it’s easy to spot Jim Rowland around Eastern Market and Barracks Row whenever he is in town.