James F. Thrower
President and CEO of Jamjomar, Inc. | Class of 2022
For the past 32 years, James F. “Thrower” Thrower has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Jamjomar, Inc., the operating company for thirty McDonald’s restaurants in Detroit, Michigan, New Orleans, Louisiana, and their respective surrounding metropolitan areas. His entire life has been about serving others. Reared in Camden, Arkansas, Thrower had the perfect role-models at home. His father was a mechanic and gas station owner; and his mother owned a snack shop. He learned and understood the value of entrepreneurship, his earliest lesson, and the importance of giving back to his community.
Before Thrower became a McDonald’s franchisee, he held many different roles. In the 1970s, he played professional football as a defensive back for the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles. He served as loan executive and executive liaison to the board chairman of the NAACP in New York City, as Director of Community Affairs at Stroh’s Brewery, and finally as Regional Manager of Public Issues and Planning at Michigan Consolidated Gas Company.
In 1989, Thrower and his wife, Marla, were blessed to open their first McDonald’s restaurant at the corner of Mack Avenue and Interstate 75 in Detroit, Michigan. Since becoming a McDonald’s owner 32 years ago, he has left an indelible mark on both the local and national McDonald’s communities. He is extremely proud that all four of his children are McDonald’s owner-operators. He has taught them the importance of treating everyone with respect and living a humble and appreciative life.
In October 2010, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Texas A&M University – Commerce (TAMU), for excellence in track and field, basketball, and football. Also in 1989, Thrower was the recipient of the most prestigious award for McDonald’s franchisees, the Ronald Award.
In October 2013, TAMU officially opened the doors to the Thrower Student Athlete Success Center on its campus to provide a home for academic services and development for student athletes.
In 2017, Thrower was the sole inductee into the Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor, which recognizes individuals who have brought pride and honor to the conference through their contributions as athletes.
In 2019, Thrower was named the National Urban League’s Distinguished Warrior Honoree and the EMG Foundation Man of the Year. In prior years, he was presented with the Business of the Year Award by the Michigan Chronicle Newspaper at its annual Legacy in Motion Newsmakers Gala. He was also awarded the Michigan Chronicle’s Men of Excellence Award and the Brown Bomber Jacket Award, an award that commemorates Joe Louis’s knockout of Max Schmeling and celebrates individuals who have made a positive impact on the life of young people in the community.
Thrower is actively involved in his community and supports numerous charities, such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities, United Negro College Fund, and Horatio Williams Foundation to name a few. He is a Golden Heritage Member of the NAACP and previously served as both chair and co-chair of the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. Thrower has been a member of Oak Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church for over 40 years and currently serves as a steward. He is a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and has been married to his wife Marla for 44 years. His formula for success in life is simple – “When you get knocked down, get up, look up, and never give up!”