James “JP” Powell was born deaf in Milwaukee in June 1964. He attended Milwaukee Hearing Society, Milwaukee Public Schools and transferred to Shorewood in 7th grade. He graduated from Shorewood High School in 1984 and attended UW-Eau Claire, studying Computer Science. He graduated in1988. He started working for the state government as a computer programmer in 1990 for what is now called the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, and moved to the Wisconsin Revenue Department as an IT support specialist in late 1992.
James gives a lot of his time and talent to many well deserving organizations, helping with their challenges and to bring about an increased awareness for equal and fair access to services and resources that cater to the Deaf community, that others take for granted. He has volunteered for many deaf organizations such as Wisconsin Association of the Deaf (WAD); he has been a board member of Access to Independence (an Independent Living center). He currently serves on the board of directors of Deaf Unity, Inc., the statewide agency for Deaf Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, and serves as the treasurer of USA Deaf Basketball (USADB).
James loves to travel and camp, play racquetball, and enjoys both the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers football teams. To relax and unwind from the daily grind, James often listens to classical, jazz and sometimes new age music. He also enjoys baking cheesecakes (as some DRW staff and Board members can attest to!) and creating gourmet meals and catering to large groups.
James served on the DRW Board from 2004-2010. He was again elected to the DRW Board in December 2014.