James Jen was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. Some of his early interests included sketching cartoons. In high school he excelled in drafting and remembers how time would pass quickly when he was engaged in his projects. His favorite sport was basketball. He was inspired by the NBA players in the United States, hoping someday he could be in the league. “I didn’t really have the height, but I was small, fast and very competitive,” jokes James. After recurring ankle injuries, James was forced to stop playing basketball.
In 1976, James attended the China Maritime College. Prior to graduating, he needed to fulfill his school’s requirement for one year on a commercial ship traveling the world as a Marine Engineer. After graduating he spent two years in mandatory military service as a Navy officer. While in the Navy, he coached two winning basketball teams.
James and Elee met in 1981 at OSU through a campus Christian fellowship. They were amazed at the number of similarities in their backgrounds and felt close from the beginning. The couple wed in 1985 and moved to Los Angeles, where James worked for McDonnell Douglas.
In 1994, James was hired by Seltec Silicone as a facility engineer for a 280,000 SF advanced technology manufacturing facility and central utility plant. He moved the family back to Oregon. Later, he worked for various mechanical and design firms since 2000.
In 2005, James and Elee started Energy Performance Engineering. The company specializes in building commissioning and control design, a service that ensures new buildings will operate as planned and existing buildings will operate at optimal peak performance. Elee has been the Marketing Manager for the company and they’ve seen the business grow and become more profitable since 2010.