James L Nickel is a fifth generation Californian and farmer. He attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a degree in Agriculture Economics before enrolling in 1967 in Graduate School at University of California at Davis, after which he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Jim started working full time for the family business in 1969 in Dos Palos, California, and married his wife, Kathy, in 1970. They moved to Bakersfield in 1971, and continued working for the family farming business until 1978, at which time they moved to Fresno to pursue agriculture real estate brokerage. Jim returned to the family business, Nickel Family LLC, in 1984, and was elected President/CEO in 1991, which position he continues to hold today.
A large portion of the company's revenues has been the storage and transfer of water and water rights. Jim is the President of two water districts, and sits on the Board of three additional water agencies.