James Hendricks, 49-Year-Old Charter Executive, Dies in Accidental Drowning at New Jersey Shore

James Hendricks, Group VP at Spectrum Reach
James Hendricks, Group VP at Spectrum Reach (Image credit: NAMIC)

James Hendricks, 49, a human-resources executive at Charter Communications's ad-sales and production services unit, drowned accidentally off Long Branch, New Jersey, on Sunday, September 18, according to news reports that were confirmed by the company. 

Hendricks, group vice president for human relations and administration at Charter-owned Spectrum Reach, previously held HR leadership positions at ESPN and for NBCUniversal's NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, according to NAMIC, which plans to honor him posthumously at the organization's annual conference and awards ceremony in October. He had been chosen as a Next Generation Leader by NAMIC.

"We are saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague and friend, James Hendricks," Charter said in a statement. "While only with Spectrum Reach for a few short years, James had a tremendous impact at the company and his enthusiasm and team spirit will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to his family at this very difficult time."

According to news reports, Hendricks was swimming with a friend he was visiting Long Branch with when both began to struggle shortly after 6:20 p.m. on Sunday. The companion was rescued but lifeguards could not locate Hendricks, the Asbury Park Press reported. Hendricks's body was discovered at 9:21 p.m., the Press said. The rescued swimmer was taken to Monmouth Medical Center in the city and treated and released, according to the report. A third swimmer who struggled that day also was rescued by Long Branch personnel, NJ.com reported

Hendricks lived in New York state, reports said, but more information was not provided. Charter declined to comment beyond the statement.

According to a NAMIC profile provided to Next TV, Hendricks had more than 25 years of progressive HR leadership experience and in his position at Spectrum Reach he oversaw a team of 85 people, supporting 3,000 employees in 182 locations. He had responsibility for Spectrum Reach’s HR Generalists, Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion, Learning & Development, Facilities and in-house PMO. He started at Spectrum Reach in 2020, his LinkedIn profile stated. He previously held key HR leadership roles at ESPN and GE (NBC, Telemundo, MSNBC).  

He was a participating member of NAMIC, CTHRA/C2HR, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the National Black MBA Association. He also served on the board of directors for Safe Horizon as well as the board of directors for New Light Baptist Church, which is located in Harlem in New York City. The church's website posted a tribute to Deacon Hendricks from Senior Pastor Bobby Lewis. "We are definitely going to honor our brother with a celebration of life. We will let everybody know that information," Pastor Lewis stated. 

Hendricks earned his MBA from Case Western Reserve University, as well a BS in Business Management and BA in Psychology from Case Western, NAMIC said. He was a participant in the GE Human Resources Leadership Program, and the International Scholar Program at the University of Seville in Spain. He held an SPHR certification, and was Six Sigma Certified.

Next TV will provide more information as it becomes available. ■

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.