83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 15, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesOn Island Profile: B.J. Harris

On Island Profile: B.J. Harris

Aug. 17, 2008 — B.J. Harris is one busy woman. She's the new president of the Rotary Club of St. John, president of the Animal Care Center of St. John board, vice-president of the St. John Board of Realtors, and owner of the real estate and villa management company St. John Properties. And she has a commuter marriage to Chicago resident Tom Shirey.
"I come up here every month," she said, speaking by cell phone from her home away from home.
Harris took over as Rotary president in July from Joan Bermingham. A member for nearly four years, Harris said she joined because she saw the good works done by Rotary members.
"A single person can make a difference on St. John," she said.
Harris, now 55, sailed into St. John in 1979 from Florida aboard her 82-foot classic ocean racing yawl, Dancing Dragon. Like so many others who landed on the island, Harris stayed.
She ran charter trips for awhile, but by 1981 was on the job as an assistant to the developer building Gallow's Point Resort.
"I learned about real estate and construction," she said.
Harris formed St. John properties in 1983 but continued in the charter business until 1990 when she added marine surveyor to her list of accomplishments.
She still works as a marine surveyor along with running St. John Properties and its staff of five or six people.
"You might see me up at the top of a mast," she said.
Harris holds a 500-ton captain's license, up from the 100-ton license she got soon after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
"Which I use every day of my life," she said of her degree.
While in San Francisco, she learned to sail.
Harris got to San Francisco and then to St. John via a global route. Born in Germany because her father was in the U.S. Army, she lived in Belgium, the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, before heading off to college in France and Switzerland.
As for the commuter marriage of nearly two years, Harris said it works because she visits every month and her husband flies south every couple of months.
"We talk on the phone four or five times a day," she said.
The two knew each other for 35 years because Shirey was her brother's best college friend.
Harris keeps tab on her office thanks to modern technology including her cell phone and computer. She's almost as busy while in Chicago as she is on St. John. Of course, she does have time for a few extracurricular activities.
"I ride my bicycle, my horse and I have a little convertible," she said.
Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Aug. 17, 2008 -- B.J. Harris is one busy woman. She's the new president of the Rotary Club of St. John, president of the Animal Care Center of St. John board, vice-president of the St. John Board of Realtors, and owner of the real estate and villa management company St. John Properties. And she has a commuter marriage to Chicago resident Tom Shirey.
"I come up here every month," she said, speaking by cell phone from her home away from home.
Harris took over as Rotary president in July from Joan Bermingham. A member for nearly four years, Harris said she joined because she saw the good works done by Rotary members.
"A single person can make a difference on St. John," she said.
Harris, now 55, sailed into St. John in 1979 from Florida aboard her 82-foot classic ocean racing yawl, Dancing Dragon. Like so many others who landed on the island, Harris stayed.
She ran charter trips for awhile, but by 1981 was on the job as an assistant to the developer building Gallow's Point Resort.
"I learned about real estate and construction," she said.
Harris formed St. John properties in 1983 but continued in the charter business until 1990 when she added marine surveyor to her list of accomplishments.
She still works as a marine surveyor along with running St. John Properties and its staff of five or six people.
"You might see me up at the top of a mast," she said.
Harris holds a 500-ton captain's license, up from the 100-ton license she got soon after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
"Which I use every day of my life," she said of her degree.
While in San Francisco, she learned to sail.
Harris got to San Francisco and then to St. John via a global route. Born in Germany because her father was in the U.S. Army, she lived in Belgium, the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, before heading off to college in France and Switzerland.
As for the commuter marriage of nearly two years, Harris said it works because she visits every month and her husband flies south every couple of months.
"We talk on the phone four or five times a day," she said.
The two knew each other for 35 years because Shirey was her brother's best college friend.
Harris keeps tab on her office thanks to modern technology including her cell phone and computer. She's almost as busy while in Chicago as she is on St. John. Of course, she does have time for a few extracurricular activities.
"I ride my bicycle, my horse and I have a little convertible," she said.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.