Farmers & Merchants Bank in St. Clair announced this week that James “Jay” Rice was elected as a member of the financial institution’s board of directors.

His term began on Sept. 24.

Rice is a longtime resident of the St. Clair community and has established his business, Jay Rice Contracting, with the help and assistance of his wife, Anna.

Rice began his professional career working at the Kirkwood Fire Department in 1983. He continued his education and graduated from East Central College in 1987 with a certificate in fire science.

While working for the Kirkwood Fire Department, the Rices began to build a contracting business. At first, they began purchasing property for rental purposes but also purchased commercial property. They also maintained many rental homes, duplexes and townhomes.

A short time later, Rice’s company began purchasing and developing land. His first development was Oak Ridge Estates in St. Clair, and his first home was sold in 1993.

As his contracting company continued to flourish and grow, Rice decided to concentrate solely on his business, so he left the fire department.

In 1996, Jay Rice Contracting purchased the St. Clair Plaza, and an additional building was constructed a few years later. The Oak Ridge Estates development was completed in 2003.

The next project, Village Greens, began shortly thereafter and is located along Highway 30 in Parkway Village. The development contains residential homes, two commercial buildings and the Village Greens Water Co., which provides water for residents within the development.

Jay Rice Contracting has constructed more than 300 homes over the past 32 years along with several other projects in and around St. Clair and Franklin County.

Rice is currently the president of the St. Clair Lions Club, a member of St. Clair Southern Baptist Church and a member of the St. Clair Elks Lodge. His firm has been honored with the Business of the Year award from the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Rices have two children and one grandchild.