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Jim Leopardo - Founder

In 1977, entrepreneur James Leopardo started his own construction firm in Chicago and it didn’t take long for him to make an impressive impact on the industry. Under Jim’s leadership, Leopardo Companies, Inc. has grown into one of the nation’s largest 300 contractors with more than 400 employees and 400 projects built annually.

Jim is responsible for the overall business strategy and standards that affect the company’s two offices, hundreds of employees and job sites, multiple service offerings, and several specialty markets, including interiors, healthcare, retail, municipal, recreation, office, industrial, K-12 and higher education, and hospitality, among others. 

A pioneer in the construction industry, Jim provides a focused business approach and a deep commitment to quality, innovation and leadership. His drive, pledge to client service and standards for excellence are the staples the company was founded on three decades ago.

In recognition of his industry pioneering, Jim was inducted into Midwest Real Estate News’ first ever Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame in 2010. He was also included on the Crain’s Chicago Business 2015 list of Who’s Who in Chicago, a directory of the city’s “movers and shakers,” from Fortune 500 CEOs to civic leaders and philanthropists. Jim served on the board at the Foglia YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and received the Volunteer of the Year and Family of the Year awards. He also served on the board at JFK Health World, a non-profit children’s health education museum. An alumni member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), he served as the organization’s Chicago chapter chairman, chapter treasurer, day chair, education and membership chairman. Since 2004, he has been an active member of the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO). He also received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst and Young in 1990 and has twice been a featured speaker at Harvard Business School’s Annual Entrepreneurship Conference.

Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from Western Illinois University and is a member of Safari Club International, FMI Executives/Presidents Peer Group, as well as a board member of James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate Wisconsin School of Business.