James L. Adkins
May 12, 1942 – Feb. 14, 2023
James L. Adkins was president and chairman of the board of East-West Rental Center Inc. and East-West Business Center Inc.
According to Journal files, he started his first business — East-West Rental Center in 1972.
Adkins told the Journal in 2012, “When we first opened in 1972, we had a very small inventory consisting of a couple of cement mixers, 100 metal chairs, televisions, rototillers, four lawn mowers, some drills, an engine hoist, a riding lawnmower, and some small generators. The inventory was worth about $25,000 at the time. Our store was roughly 700 square feet. There were three partners when we started — Ben Palomo, Denny Cleveland and myself.”
Times were tough, Adkins said. “The business was making just a small profit and it all went back into the company to buy more inventory. There wasn’t really much going on construction-wise at the time until Super Typhoon Pamela hit Guam in 1976 and business increased dramatically, and we were finally starting to make a decent profit in the business. With all the reconstruction money coming into the island we were able to add more equipment and offer different lines of equipment.”
Rosita Adkins joined the business in its early years, he told the Journal. “In 1978 I asked my wife, Rose, to quit her job at IBM and come work for East-West Rental Center. We were so busy and our accounts receivable was so backed up we needed help. In the first month she collected more money than she made at IBM the previous year.” The partners were bought out in 1979.
Adkins developed a business group that includes property, the East-West Business Center in upper Tumon and Ten-Tak Supply.
James L. Adkins was born in Cordele, Ga. and joined the U.S. Navy in 1960. In 1966 he began work as a maintenance mechanic with World Airways in Oakland, Calif. In 1968 he moved to Wake Island as ramp supervisor for Facilities Management Corp. Adkins moved to Guam in 1969 and worked for Moylan’s Wholesale Co. and then Ada’s Inc. as variety store manager until opening East-West Rental Center in 1972.
He was known as a leading member and past chairman of the Guam Chamber of Commerce’s and its Armed Forces Committee and was a member of the Rotary Club of Guam.
Adkins and Rose Adkins were recognized by the Guam Chamber of Commerce as Guam Business Hall of Fame Business Laureates in 2013.
Adkins was directly responsible for launching the Armed Forces Committee of the Guam Chamber of Commerce.
The committee was formed on Sept. 9, 1998, by the board of directors of the chamber and formally established with the military on Nov. 5, 1998. It was the brainchild of what Adkins told the Journal in June 2005 was the “the four amigos.” They were Atkins; Thomas P. Michels, formerly vice president and Guam country manager of Bank of Hawaii; Gerald S.A. Perez, now vice president of the Guam Visitors Bureau; and L. Carl Peterson owner and president of Money Resources Inc.
Adkins was a member of the Armed Forces groups that would take prepared white papers on Guam to Washington D.C. and would make high-level contacts and lobby for Guam. Military officials on Guam have recommended that these efforts to keep Guam in the military eye be continued, according to Journal files. Aside from the Guam Chamber, Adkins was a member of the Navy League of Guam, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Guam Contractors Association, the Rotary Club of Guam, the American Rental Association and other civic organizations.
Among his philanthropic efforts was the nonprofit organization he founded with his wife — the James L. and Rosita S. Adkins Association Scholarship Foundation.
Adkins is survived by Rosita Santos Adkins, and sons – James, Robert, and Richard, as well as his extended family. mbj