James Lenz has worked for Boeing, Honeywell, the University of Minnesota, and John Deere, and has been involved with more than 100 new product developments. He has 26 patent awards and has published more than 60 technical papers ranging on topics related to electromagnetics, sensors, electronic designs, control circuitry, software development, and management of technology. He holds a MS degree in Physics from the University of Wisconsin.

He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Gies College of Business. He has published a textbook entitled The Management of Innovation and is developing online courses related to the management of innovation emphasizing software technologies. He has also recently published four historical fiction books connecting university research and its impact on society. The story on Otto Schmitt has been highlighted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Opinion pages.