College of Business & Technology

James Leahy

James (Jim) Leahy

Western Illinois University Alumnus James Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Veterans Canteen Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, has been named the 2017 Executive in Residence for the WIU College of Business and Technology (CBT). Leahy graduated from Western in 1985 with a bachelor's of business degree in marketing.

Mr. Leahy was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on May 17th, 2015.

As Chief Operating Officer he is responsible for managing and executing day to day customer service operations across the VCS enterprise to include 200 Patriot Store, Cafe and Brew locations in VA Medical Centers and Community Outpatient Clinics. In addition to field operations oversight he has management responsibility for merchandising, marketing and procurement of all VCS business entities. Mr. Leahy leads over 3,600 associates charged with providing the highest level of quality, value and service to our nations Veterans, their families, caregivers, volunteers and visitors to VA hospitals.

After 22 years in private industry with May Department Stores, Inc. and Macy's Department Stores, Mr. Leahy joined the Veterans Canteen Service in 2007. Prior to his current assignment he was appointed Associate Director of Field Operations in 2011 and in 2007 was appointed Chief Merchandising Officer of VCS Retail Operations.

In 1985 Mr. Leahy started his business career with Macy’s New York spending 3.5 years in store management and merchandising/buying positions. In 1988, he joined May Department Stores where he held various divisional management, buying, merchandising, product development and senior administrative positions in Men’s and Home with Foley’s in Houston, Texas and May Merchandising Company in St. Louis, MO. Including his 8 years with VA, Mr. Leahy has 30 years of domestic and international retail business experience.

Mr. Leahy and his wife Liz Reyes have been married 28 years and have two children, Lauren (19) and Evan (14). The Leahy family resides in Saint Louis, MO.