James A. Cusumano, Ph.D.
Executive Producer, WHAT MATTERS MOST, ONE TOUGH BISCOTTI
President & CEO, Chateau Wally Films
A. Cusumano has worn many hats throughout his highly
successful and eclectic career; starting out as a 50s
rock n' roll recording artist, then moving on as a research
scientist, and finally a Silicon Valley entrepreneur
who founded three public companies. Now he is a film
producer, who with his wife, Jane, formed Chateau Wally
Films. Chateau Wally's mission is to establish a reputation
of producing high-quality independent feature films
that reflect the human condition and touch the heart.
WHAT MATTERS MOST is Chateau Wally's first feature.
It also marks Cusumano's return to the entertainment
world after his successful run in the energy and pharmaceuticals
industries. As a rock star, he sold several million
records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His iconoclastic
repertoire includes "Short Shorts," "Short
Shorts Twist," "Lovers Never Say Goodbye,"
and the successful album, "Newies But Oldies."
Cusumano was intrigued at the prospect
of returning to the entertainment industry and applying
the entrepreneurial skills and experience he acquired
in building three public companies. He found it similar
to the situation that existed when he entered the energy
and pharmaceuticals industries. He sees the film business
as one that is primed for change and offers unusual
opportunities to new players who understand the dynamics
and timing of impending changes. Capitalizing on his
wife's skills in screenplay writing and her desire to
direct films, he launched Chateau Wally Films as his
fourth entrepreneurial enterprise.
He is also executive producer for
a new documentary, "One Tough Biscotti: A Woman,
A Film And A Fight," which chronicles his wife's
journey simultaneously fighting metastatic breast cancer
and creating her first feature film.
Born April 14, 1942, Cusumano obtained
a BA in 1964 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1967
from Rutgers University. Upon graduation, he served
at Exxon Research and Engineering Company from 1971
to 1974 as the Director of Catalysis Research and Development
at their Corporate Research Laboratory. He co-founded
Catalytica, Inc. in 1974 in the heart of California's
Silicon Valley. Under his leadership, the corporate
mission was and is to significantly improve the way
manufacturing is carried out in the pharmaceutical and
energy industries through economically advantageous
and environmentally friendly catalytic technologies.
Catalytica Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
manufactures numerous drugs for other major pharmaceutical
companies at its plants in California, Michigan and
North Carolina. Examples include AZT for treating AIDS,
Zyban for smoking cessation, Wellbutrin and numerous
over-the-counter drugs such as Sudafed and Neosporin.
With the sale of Catalytica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., he
gave up his position as chairman to focus on his efforts
in Chateau Wally Films.
Dr. Cusumano has authored more
than 50 papers, 20 patents, 8 book chapters, and a book
entitled Catalysis in Coal Conversion. He has lectured
extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and
Japan. Dr. Cusumano appeared in the PBS TV production
on nanotechnology, "Little by Little." He
has been a lecturer at Stanford University and is the
1989-1990 recipient of the Charles D. Hurd Lectureship
at Northwestern University.
Dr. Cusumano is an advisor to the
Fulbright Scholar Program and is listed in Who's Who
in America and Who's Who in the World.
On the personal front, Jim enjoys
hiking and mountaineering and has had the good fortune
to ice-climb 14,160-foot Mt. Shasta in Northern California,
14,410-foot Mt. Rainier in Washington and 19,340-foot
Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, among many others.
He has two grown daughters, Polly Cusumano and Doreen
Nelsen, three grandchildren, and lives on a horse and
citrus ranch in Ojai, California.