James graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Building Construction in 1986. He worked as a Project Manager with Lebco Builders of Atlanta and later returned to Austin as co-owner of Pitts Construction Company. In 1994 he started J. R. Schneider Construction, an excavation company. He is married to Mary Frances Morrison Schneider and has two sons, Charles and John. James is also a member St. Austin Catholic Church, the Association of Builders and Contractors and Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity (Chapter board member thru 2016).
Class of 1982