James Machine Works was founded in Monroe, Louisiana, in 1927 by Hardy Monroe James, following his retirement from the United States Navy where he proudly served aboard the USS Stewart, USS Utah, USS Hull, and the USS Arizona. In its early years, JMW maintained and repaired equipment for the levee system construction on the Ouachita River. Mr. James's son-in-law, William M. (Bucky) McElroy, joined the business after his retirement from the National Football League, having played for the Chicago Bears and the Hamilton Ontario Tiger Cats. Mr. James retired in 1970 and sold the business to Bucky. Under Mr. McElroy's tenure, JMW expanded into tank fabrication, field-erection, and shop-built tanks. Mr. McElroy retired in 1995, and his son, Paul M. McElroy, became president of the company. Daughter, Susan McElroy Weaver, joined the business in 1999. Upon Paul’s passing in 2015, Susan became President and continues in that capacity.

From three employees in 1927, JMW has grown to over 180 full-time employees, a 140,000 sq. ft. fabrication plant, in-house quality control department, in-house safety department, personnel certified in ASME, API 653, AWWA, and API, in-house engineering and design, mobile cranes and equipment, and ten field crews.

Always family-owned, JMW has made a commitment to the Monroe community through involvement in local churches, schools, local sports team sponsorships, the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Rays of Sonshine, P.A.W.S. of Northeast Louisiana, River Cities Humane Society for Cats, and numerous client-sponsored charities.

JMW is a member of the United Way of Northeast Louisiana, National Association of Manufacturers, International Liquid Terminals Association, National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance, Associated General Contractors of Mississippi, American Petroleum Institute, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Better Business Bureau, and a proud season ticket holder of the World Champion New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans.