At Work with Dr. Jim
FINE: Tell us about your background, where you are from,
and something about your family?
JIM: I grew up in northern New Jersey. My maternal and
paternal grandparents immigrated from Italy. They worked
in laundry and a clothing factory. My maternal grandmother
died at an early age from heart valve issues. My mother was
a stay at home mom initially, and then worked as a secretary
to help fund my education. My father began working early in
his life to help pay the bills and support his family. When my
dad was 49 he suffered a heart attack and underwent openheart
surgery. It was that event which triggered my interest
to become a cardiologist.
FINE: Tell us about your education?
JIM: I attended St Peter’s Preparatory High School in Jersey
City, NJ, a Jesuit high school. I then continued my education
with the Jesuit’s attending Creighton University in Omaha,
NE, in the pre-medicine program. I was accepted into
medical school, and after completing it, I went back to New
Jersey to be closer to my family. I did my internal medicine
residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of
Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Princeton
FINE: What brought you to Naples?
JIM: I came to Naples in 1995. It was around the time the
open-heart program was being developed. I had received
specialty training in the operating room using ultrasound
technology to assist heart surgeons when replacing heart
valves. I also trained in nuclear cardiology. I felt it would be a
great opportunity to use these skills in a developing cardiac
program at a local hospital. I was the first cardiologist to be
credentialed to read nuclear cardiology studies, and later
named Director of the Echocardiography. Naples was not
only a perfect opportunity to grow a cardiology practice, but
a beautiful place to live and raise a family.
FINE: Where did you practice and what made your practice
special? Tell us about the cardiac PET center that you
developed in Naples and what it does?
JIM: I initially practiced in a group of four cardiologists.
I then joined a multi-specialty group and was Director
of Cardiac Imaging. Subsequently, I opened a concierge
cardiology practice for a few years, but missed doing
cardiac imaging. This lead me to develop my own cardiac
imaging center and worked there for almost 10 years. There
was a technology available in a limited number of centers
throughout the country called cardiac positron emission
tomography (cardiac PET).
Studies showed it was
more accurate with
had an ability
more so than men. The technology evaluating coronary
flow reserve was only offered in about 30 centers in the US
(typically academic centers such as John’s Hopkins, Mayo
Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Mass General Hospital, and similar
institutions). I believed it was a tremendous technology,
and so I developed one of only 2 dedicated cardiac PET
programs in the state of Florida evaluating flow reserve, and
I offered it here in Naples.
FINE: Why did you retire from cardiology?
JIM: I retired for a few reasons. The first, I have two boys
who are away at college. They have been my priority my
entire life. I would be nothing without them. I wanted to
be able to spend time with them, even if just a brief day or
weekend visit to their campuses; watch a football game,
basketball game, just have a nice meal together, or even
go by just for moral support. They are both in the Midwest.
Being the only cardiologist in town doing cardiac PET
made it impossible to leave the practice and visit my boys.
The second reason was that an established cardiology
group in town was interested in expanding their services.
The addition of a cardiac imaging center offering cardiac
PET would complement their services. Practicing as a solo
cardiologist in today’s healthcare world is never an easy
thing. The time was right to transfer the practice. The group
brought on cardiologists trained in cardiac PET.
FINE: What are you currently doing to keep busy? Do you
have any new ventures?
JIM: I have been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters
of the Sun Coast. I volunteer as a mentor on a weekly
basis. It has been a very rewarding experience. I will also
be volunteering at the Salvation Army Fran Cohen Youth
Center. On the business side, I have always been passionate
about cars leading me to create a company called Ultimate
Garages, LLC. Ultimate Garages will
provide a luxurious and safe environment for exotic and
classic automobiles, and a fun a relaxing getaway for clients.
It will be a unique car club experience offering concierge
services, arranging various car events, as well as creating
fundraising opportunities for children’s
charities. I will be working closely with local
car clubs, car
dealers, local restaurants, automotive
providers, and local charities to create a
turnkey experience for the car enthusiast. My
eventual goal is to create an Ultimate Garages
Foundation giving back to those in need in
FINE: Tell us a little about Rally 4 Littles?
JIM: Rally 4 Littles was a fundraising event
I helped organize where 25 children from
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast
were offered a ride in exotic cars. The Collier
County Sheriff Dept. and Naples Police
Dept. assisted by providing a police escort
throughout Naples. We had numerous
sponsors and raised money for the organization. Lunch
was provided by Cosmos and Cafe and Pizzeria. You could
imagine the smiles on the children’s faces as they rode
throughout town. Mayor Bill Barnett also participated in the
FINE: Have you enjoyed living in Naples? What are some of
your favorite restaurants?
JIM: I love living in Naples. I have yet to find a nicer place.
I always tell people that after returning from a vacation, it
seems that Naples is always nicer than where I traveled.
We have a great community here. My favorite restaurants
include Cosmos Ristorante, Osteria Tulia, The French, Sea
Salt, and Barbatella. Gianluca of Cosmos, Vincenzo of Tulia
and The French, and Fabrizio and Ingrid of Sea Salt and
Barbatella, always make the experience wonderful.
FINE: What are some of your favorite charities in town?
JIM: I am most involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the
Sun Coast and plan on becoming involved with the Salvation
Army Fran Cohen Youth Center. I have been blessed to
speak at the Naples Wine Festival as a mentor. The Naples
Children and Education Foundation does an amazing job
raising funds and awareness to needed charities in town.
FINE: How do readers learn more about your Ultimate
JIM: The readers can go to my website at
www.NaplesUltimateGarages.com for more information.