James Humphries has been with the Highlands Council staff since 2008. Prior to becoming Director of Planning and Science, James was a Principal Planner and led the development of the Highlands Open Space Partnership Funding Program and Highlands Development Credit Purchase Program that launched in 2016. He has been practicing planning in New Jersey for more than 20 years and is a licensed Professional Planner and certified by the American Institute for Certified Planners.

Before joining the Highlands Council staff, James was the Planning Director for Raritan Township in Hunterdon County. In that position he prepared two complete Master Plan revisions, prepared Subdivision and Site Plan standard revisions, updated the town's fair share housing plan, prepared state farmland preservation applications and master plan amendments, preserved open space, and dealt with the wide range of local planning issues in a developing municipality. James has also worked as a Planner for the City of Paterson, for the City's zoning Board of Adjustment and the Department of Community Development where he addressed issues related to affordable housing development, economic development, redevelopment and historic preservation.

James received a B.S. in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. He earned a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.