Fall Forward: Jim Hall ’85


Major at OCC: Data Processing

High School: Liverpool, Class of ‘82

Jim Hall has overcome tragedy and addiction to build a successful career, a beautiful family and become an author. “The good fortune and blessings that had occurred in my life that had propelled me to where I am today. I’m grateful I chose to not give into my demons.”

Hall’s downward spiral began as he entered his senior year at Liverpool High School when his best friend committed suicide. The pain of his death led Hall to turn to a life of addiction. His behavior resulted in him limiting his post-high school options. “My counselor told me I was the perfect candidate for the military but I didn’t want to enlist.”

Hall chose to come to OCC but by his own admission lacked direction. He struggled during his freshman year but survived academically. During his sophomore year, his high school sweetheart Joanne Swenton’86 joined him on campus. Her presence brought a sense of stability to his life. Hall also found purpose in the classroom when he excelled in a computer programming class. “Having the support of my future wife, and discovering my passion that allowed me to have direction in my life for the first time for as long as I can remember was a feeling I carry with me still.”

Hall would earn a degree in Data Processing and go to work for Niagara Mohawk, now known as National Grid. He was hired to be an assistant to a manager who needed someone with computer experience. “Without the degree from OCC, I would not have had that interview and been able to advance the way I did.” The manager was so impressed with this work he would double Hall’s salary. He also took advantage of Niagara Mohawk’s tuition reimbursement program and earned his bachelor’s degree.

Hall would become a project manager for Bank of America and Wells Fargo while putting down roots in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. During his career advancement Hall married Swenton and started a family, a family which grew to include ten children.

A few years ago Hall felt the urge to share the story of his personal struggle and started working on his first book. “Fall Forward: One Lost Boys Adventure,” was published in February 2017 under the pen name James Thomas Lynde. “It was very therapeutic for me. I am so fortunate I was able to break the cycle of addiction and depression and fall forward and advance.”

Today, Hall still does project work for Wells Fargo. He has also started two companies Family Force, LLC and Grey World Hosting. His second book will be published later this year.

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