Jim Parinella has always been drawn to data and what it teaches us about the world. When he was a young child, he would pour over baseball cards and the stats they contained. That interest has translated into a career helping engineering projects at Raytheon stay on-track and on-budget. Parinella explains, "I work in project management as a Control Account Manager (CAM) for two large radar projects. I have fiscal responsibility for Systems Engineering, acting as an interface between engineering and finance. I spend most of my day in Excel, looking over reports, assessing how much work we've done so far and how much we have left, making forecasts for where we're going to be. I try to take data and turn it into information." Parinella, who earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering/Fluid and Thermal Sciences from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and a Masters in Ocean Engineering from MIT, enjoys sussing out the understanding that figures and empirical data provide, "Whatever job I've had, I've always tried to make it more numerically focused. I really enjoy when I get some new insight into our performance from working with the data."
While a senior at BHS, Parinella started playing Ultimate frisbee with classmate Lance Williams and his brother, BHS alum Todd Williams. "For those who don't know," Parinella explains, "Ultimate is a team field sport that combines the passing and scoring of football, the full-field constant motion of soccer, and the defense of basketball. A goal is scored by catching a pass in the end zone. Any incomplete pass is a turnover and results in immediate change of possession. No contact is allowed. Upon catching a pass, the player must stop and set a pivot foot and has 10 seconds to make the next pass. Ultimate now frequently appears on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays."
The Williams brothers were part of the Pittsburgh ultimate team, Steel City Slag. "The Slag created a summer league in Pittsburgh that year, I played, and I got hooked. I got a chance to play with the Cleveland team that fall, gradually experienced more and more success, and haven't had a reason to quit since." Parinella has had a long and successful career. His team Death or Glory won six consecutive National championships from 1994–1999 and three World Championships. A deep love for the sport has made Ultimate a way of life for him, "Since 2007, I've been playing in Masters divisions (players 33+) and have won a few more, including a memorable comeback victory as part of Team USA at the World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU) in Dubai in 2015." He has played with teammates from around the world and loves the tight-knit community Ultimate creates.
His experience and strategic thinking has made him an expert in the field. He's authored many articles on Ultimate methodology and co-authored a successful book, Ultimate Techniques and Tactics, published by Human Kinetics, the industry leader in technical sports books. He served on the Board of Directors of the the governing body of the sport, the Ultimate Players Association (now USA Ultimate). He was inducted into the Ultimate hall of fame in 2014.
Whether at work or on the Ultimate field, Parinella benefits from the curiosity he developed at BHS, "I developed the belief that learning and solving problems is fun, not a chore. My physics teacher said to 'always draw a picture' prior to tackling a problem, and that's actually very helpful."
Parinella met his wife playing Ultimate. They live outside of Boston with their son. He regularly visits Baldwin where his parents still live.