40 Under Forty: James Hartley

Age: 31

Director of Business Operations, Reilly Arts Center


Whether it’s a business or community involvement, what inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who are passionate about what they do. Whether it’s their job or their hobby, when someone is passionate about what they are doing, they do it in a way that inspires you to take interest and appreciate it. I’m fortunate to work with a team of people at the Reilly Arts Center that are all passionate about bringing high-quality performances and entertainment to the Ocala area. Without that passion, the Reilly would not be here today.


What aspirations do you have for yourself?

I’ve always had aspirations of working in the entertainment industry, but the pragmatist in me said I should go to law school instead. After attending the University of South Carolina School of Law, my wife and I decided to move back to Ocala, our hometown, to begin my legal career. I started off as a public defender and eventually entered private practice, but when the opportunity to join the Reilly Arts Center team presented itself, I wasn’t going to pass it up. Now that I am in this position, through the Reilly, I aspire to help to make Ocala a cultural arts destination.


What is your favorite way to give back to the community?

Time is the most valuable commodity anyone has, which is why my wife and I try to give as much of it as we can to organizations that give back to our community. We were recently recruited by the Marion County Literacy Council, a local non-profit that helps adult learners read and write the English language, to help raise money for their annual “Kiss the Horse” fundraiser. We decided to donate our time to organize a Baby Crawl race which got people together to raise over $4,000 for the Marion County Literacy Council.


What is your favorite thing about the Ocala area?

My favorite thing about Ocala is the pride that its residents have in their city. There are so many people in this community that all have the common goal of making Ocala a better place. Not only do these people help make Ocala better within their given profession, but they also come together to promote organizations outside of their own that help make Ocala a great place to live for everyone.

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