A second generation Greek American, Jim Trakas was born in St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio on May 5, 1965 and has lived in Independence his whole life. His father, Peter W. Trakas fought in World War II with the 95th Infantry Division in General George Patton's 3rd Army and his mother Kathy L. Trakas worked at the Veterans Administration before they settled in Independence, Ohio.
Jim graduated from Independence High School in 1983 and The Ohio State University in 1987. He started working at age 9 delivering The Cleveland Press and later The Plain Dealer, and worked his way through school as a custodian for The Independence Public School.
Upon graduation, Jim worked at Allied Color Industries, Inc. making colorants for plastics. He began his career as a third shift factory worker and eventually became Corporate Materials Manager for the company, studying polymer chemistry at Akron.
In 1991, Jim was elected to his first of two terms as a City Councilman in Independence. In 1996, he was elected Chairman of The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, a position he held for 9 years. In 1998, Jim was elected to his first of four terms as a Member of The Ohio House of Representatives from south eastern Cuyahoga County. He served as House Majority Whip for two terms.
Trakas is the legislative father of Ohio’s Third Frontier high technology jobs initiative, as well as the author of 14 bills and dozens of amendments to become law in Ohio, including eliminating Ohio’s electric chair. He served on the House Finance Committee Higher Education Subcommittee, and also is responsible for creating a work group that saved Ohio taxpayers and college students millions of dollars at Ohio’s public universities through the consolidation of back office functions and technology, The North East Ohio University Collaboration Commission.
In his post-legislative career, Trakas ran two consulting companies and was sub-Cabinet official as Executive Director of The Ohio State Board of Cosmetology. During his 2 /12 year tenure 2011-13, Trakas greatly revised the Ohio Administrative Code and sought changes to Ohio Revised Code, utilized technology to save money for the state agency without negatively impacting its employees, oversaw a change in the inspection and testing parts of The Board, and was responsible for the work team that earned the Governor’s Award for Excellence in 2012, the first time the Agency had ever been so recognized.
The founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of American Online Learning Center, Trakas is married and lives in the Cleveland area with his wife and dedicates his private time to historic, charitable, religious, political, and civic interests. Trakas is currently an 1 Lieutenant and Public Affairs Officer, The Ohio Military Reserve; 4th Civil Support and Sustainment Brigade, Headquarters, Headquarters Company. He is a Councilperson at Large in his hometown.