Retiree Spotlight

Meet Jim Campbell

Gary Brennecke

When Jim Campbell retired from The Upjohn Company in 2001, he never expected he’d launch a second career as a Master Scuba Diver Instructor and professional underwater photographer.

In fact, his first experience scuba diving in the 1960’s was so horrible that he swore he’d never dive again. But with better training, equipment and a great, persuasive instructor, all that changed. Jim explains how he got started in his new-found career in his blog on his website at

Before his second “job” as a dive instructor, Jim began his first career at Upjohn in late 1968 as a general territory sales representative calling on physicians, pharmacists, nurses and hospitals discussing the advantages of the Upjohn product line.

“I joined Upjohn because after getting out of the Army, I knew if I would want to make any money, sales was the ticket,” explained Jim. At that time the average college graduate changed jobs about ever three years.

Jim chose Upjohn for its reputation as a leader in the industry and its incredible sales training program. “I had no idea at the time how much I really enjoyed medicine, so I stayed with the company my entire career of 31 years in several different positions,” said Jim.

According to Jim, sales was very gratifying -- he sold products that were for critical care and he was in the business of helping physicians save lives. Jim also enjoyed the freedom to be creative and come up with ideas and get them funded, so that patients might live healthier and longer lives.

Later in his care, after being a Government Hospital Representative and then a Hospital Representative, Jim became a Medical Science Liaison or MSL. “This was the most enjoyable part of my career,” said Jim. “I only talked with the top physicians at National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers and developed the rapport to suggest animal and clinical trials.

He especially appreciated developing the then little-known cancer product, Cytosar. Jim supported clinical trials in childhood leukemia, which at the time had a 5-10% survival rate. With the proper use of Cytosar in mega doses, 90% of children now survive childhood leukemia. For adults, the survival rate was about the same at the beginning, and now about 50% survive Adult Myeloid Leukemia.

“That is the kind of stuff that makes you believe that your job has led you to a purpose-driven life,” said Jim proudly.

Jim retired in 2001 as a Clinical Research Liaison in Oncology. Today he spends a lot of time “reading like crazy” as he described it, and he has transitioned into a new career that he loves – training scuba divers.

“Two thirds of the earth is covered with water,” explained Jim, “and the more I dove the more I wanted to learn. The more I learned, the more I wanted to dive. This led me to becoming a Master Scuba Diver Trainer.”

Jim teaches a number of specialties including Hazardous Marine Life Injuries, Medic First Aid, and Underwater Digital Photography (view photo gallery). The most exciting certification he completed was becoming a Shark Awareness Instructor leading people on Shark feeding dives. “While there are random accidental shark attacks, the truth is sharks are very predictable -- not to be feared -- and they have no interest in humans,” he said.

Jim’s adventures in scuba diving have taken him around the world (more than once) and the list of places he’s dived read like a world travel magazine. He’s dived each of the Hawaiian islands, Fiji, Palau in Micronesia, Thailand, Burma, Papua, New Guinea, Indonesia, The Komodo Islands, Bali, The Socorro Islands diving for Mantas, all over the Caribbean, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, the Philippines, Borneo and Sipadan.

“Each time I take as many pictures underwater and pictures (view photo gallery) of the people in their native habitat as I can,” said Jim. “We usually stop and spend a couple of nights in Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur. I'm willing to fly for 24 to 32 hours to get to see and photograph the amazing colors of soft corals and fans and the sea life that is found abundantly in South East Asia.” You can learn more about Jim’s adventures and enjoy his stunning underwater photos at his website,

In his spare time, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, especially with his daughter, Heather and granddaughter, Kaily. He also likes “diving into” to keep up to date on members and searching the site for information and resources. In fact, we may have never had the chance to share Jim’s amazing undercover world with you had he not reached out to us through Thanks for sharing, Jim!

Click here to see Jim Campbell's photo gallery.

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