Passionately Pursuing Construction Excellence

Leopardo is a recognized leader in construction with the resources to build world-class projects with innovative processes across every major sector. Founded in 1977, we’ve grown continuously and today employ more than 450 industry professionals in our Hoffman Estates and Chicago offices, as well as on job sites across the nation.

Markets

We’ve worked with Fortune 100 companies from Apple to Wells Fargo and completed retail and office projects for many of the world’s most-recognized brands like AMC, Grubhub and Radio Flyer. Our municipal portfolio includes village halls, fire departments and police stations and we’re the trusted builder for nearly every major healthcare provider in the area. We do high-end residential and hospitality, federal and education…to name just a few.

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Expertise

We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional value to our clients and project partners through turnkey construction services and project approaches, including design-build, MEP coordination, integrated project delivery (IPD), lean construction, virtual design and construction, high-performance building, self-performed trades and much, much more.

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Our People

Mike Leopardo

President + CEO

Mike Leopardo’s construction career spans more than 30 years, during which he has helped grow Leopardo from a small family-owned outfit into one of the nation’s top general contractors.

As president and CEO, Mike is responsible for the overall business strategy and standards that affect both Leopardo’s offices, hundreds of employees and jobsites, multiple service offerings, as well as all its markets.

Before stepping into his current role, Mike served as executive vice president, providing leadership, vision and direction to all Leopardo’s business units. Prior to that, he led Leopardo’s specialized institutional business unit and was responsible for the overall strategy and operations of the healthcare and senior living markets. His team successfully completed more than $1 billion worth of institutional projects, including medical office buildings, surgery centers, laboratories and senior housing, as well as all types of hospital renovation and expansion projects. With Mike at the helm, the group built an impressive list of loyal clients and became the trusted builder for 40 hospitals and many physician groups around the Chicago area.

Mike also played an active role in Leopardo’s strategic markets business unit, where he was focused on building lasting client relationships and an impressive portfolio of work. Many of the projects won during Mike’s tenure with the business unit played an important piece in rebuilding Chicago’s now-thriving West Loop neighborhood.

In 2018, Mike was inducted into the Midwest Real Estate News Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. He holds a bachelor’s degree in construction technology engineering from Western Illinois University and previously served on the Board of Trustees for the Jane Addams Hull House, one of Chicago’s largest and oldest not-for-profit social services agencies.

John Ward

Chief Administrative Officer

John joined Leopardo in 1987 and brought with him a strong background in accounting, as well as extensive computer systems design and technical support experience. Beyond financial strategy, he also helps oversee Leopardo’s human resources and management information systems departments. As CAO, John plays a critical role in all financial strategy and business management aspects of Leopardo.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from DePaul University and is a member of the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS), Financial Executives International (FEI), and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA).

Brent Duelm

Chief Financial Officer

Brent not only oversees Leopardo’s accounting department, but he is also responsible for the fiscal stability of the company, managing enterprise risk and driving strategic growth. With decades of experience as a senior financial executive, he holds a successful track record of building and transforming companies, delivering financial results and leading organizational change.

Brent earned his Bachelor of Science in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an active member in the Construction Financial Management Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and gives back to the community through his leadership and involvement in numerous charities and foundations.

With a broad knowledge of and experience in organizational planning, employee development, compensation and benefits, Brent has led the development and growth of HR departments, as well as the implementation of employee programs supporting dramatic growth. He has also led technology infrastructure teams in designing and implementing mobile applications for streamlining operations saving both processing and reporting time.

Pierre Cowart

Executive Vice President

Pierre is a 24-year veteran of Leopardo with a strong background in architecture and a robust portfolio of managing diverse construction projects. One thing that differentiates him from others is his comfort level with understanding development economics and the downstream demands they place on project budgets and schedules. Before stepping into the role of executive vice president, Pierre oversaw strategy and operations of Leopardo’s corporate/community business unit, which included residential, office, retail, industrial and local public sector clientele. He earned the trust and respect of many recognized national brands including Arthur J. Gallagher, Radio Flyer, Big Ten Conference, Walgreens, Honda, Universal Technical Institute and more.

Pierre graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a Master of Science in civil engineering (construction management), a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in architectural studies. He also studied architecture and urbanism at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Versailles, France.

Pierre is a former member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) and former affiliate of the Society of Industrial and Office Real Estate Brokers (SIOR). He served as an advisory board member of the James A. Graaskamp Center of Real Estate for the University of Wisconsin School of Business and is currently an active advisory board member for the Roosevelt University Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate.

He has also guest lectured at the University of Illinois in both architecture and civil engineering, as well as at Roosevelt University on project delivery methods and construction contracting.

Rick DuPraw

Executive Vice President

Rick is one of the most prominent construction executives in the region, as supported by his 2016 induction to the Midwest Real Estate News Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. As executive vice president, Rick’s leadership style combines energy, passion and an unmatched positive attitude. Before stepping into the role of executive vice president, Rick oversaw Leopardo’s tenant interiors group, which is responsible for build-outs, renovations and restorations of commercial spaces. With Rick at the helm, Leopardo’s interiors business grew from $10 million to $150 million in annual revenue and continues to be recognized by peers, clients and the media for its best-in-class construction. Among the many accolades and honors, Leopardo is a five-time winner of the coveted Interior Contractor of the Year award at the Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards.

Before his career in construction began, Rick was the drummer in a touring rock-a-billy band. His career with Leopardo began in 1983 when he was hired as a laborer and the company’s fourth employee. Combining his passion for music and community, Rick is currently the drummer for Liquidated Damages, a charitable rock band comprised of musicians from Leopardo and its business partners. He also serves on the board of directors for the United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois, a nonprofit organization providing programs, services and live entertainment to United States military service members and their families. He earned a bachelor degree in philosophy and communications from Southern Illinois University.

Mark Fenton

Senior Vice President, Interiors

Mark joined Leopardo in 1997 and has since worked with companies of all shapes, sizes and across countless industries. Over his decades in the industry, he has personally managed millions of square feet of interior construction projects for law firms, creative agencies, tech startups, non-profit and more.

Mark is a proud alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned his Bachelor of Science in construction administration.

John Leopardo

Senior Vice President, Self-Perform

Over his decades in the industry, John has overseen thousands of successful construction projects. Since joining Leopardo in 1983, he has been involved in just about every aspects of the business serving as a laborer, carpenter, superintendent, project manager, estimator and now an executive. As head of Leopardo’s self-performance group, he manages a robust team of in-house drywallers, painters, carpenters and laborers.

Leigh McMillen

Senior Vice President, Corporate/Community

Leigh has overseen and managed some of Leopardo’s largest and most impressive municipal, community, recreation, office and industrial projects. In addition to her decades of experience in the construction industry, she is also a licensed architect and LEED Accredited Professional.

Leigh graduated from the University of Illinois with double masters degrees in architecture and civil engineering, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in architectural studies. She is an active member with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Illinois City/County Management Association and the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association.

Matt Miller

Senior Vice President, Field Operations

Matt joined Leopardo in 1993. Prior to stepping into his current role, he oversaw the company’s institutional business unit. During that time, he worked with more than 40 hospitals, numerous physician groups and personally managed countless healthcare, laboratories and senior living facilities. In his current role, Matt leads Leopardo’s field operations.

Giancarlo Pacini

Senior Vice President, Institutional

Giancarlo has amassed an impressive portfolio totaling more than two million square feet in projects. With expertise in healthcare work, his experience ranges from medical office buildings to multi-acre master site and hospital expansions.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in building construction management from Purdue University and is an active member of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), as well as the Healthcare Engineers Society of Northern Illinois (HESNI).

Mike Mastin

Vice President, Residential

Steve Smith

Senior Vice President, Corporate/Community

Steve’s construction career spans decades and his tenure at Leopardo started when he joined the company as an intern in 1987. He is responsible for the strategy and operations of Leopardo’s retail, office, industrial and mixed-use markets. He has personally overseen construction projects totaling more than $600 million across practically every major market. His project experience includes countless Fortune 500 firms and many of the world’s most-recognized brands like Lexus, Apple, Audi, Harley-Davidson, Jewel-Osco, Walgreens and more.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in construction technology from Western Illinois University and is a member of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (GNMAA) and International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Rory Tihinen

Senior Vice President, Preconstruction/Estimating

With decades of industry experience and a  familiarity with all construction products and their suppliers, Rory helps clients navigate cost spikes and material inflation to save time and money. He counsels Leopardo’s project teams on price escalations, material demands, supply shortages, alternative methods of construction, lifecycle costs, efficiencies and impact on the environment.

Rory graduated with honors from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

Ralph Barszcz

Vice President, Safety

Lauren Kilberg

Vice President, Marketing

Gary Leopardo

Vice President

Cathy Osborne

Vice President, Human Resources

Paul Rentzelos

Vice President, Infrastructure and Technology Services

Anthony Leopardo

Director, Strategic Relationships

Patty Lloyd

Director, Sustainability

Damon Ranieri

Director, Virtual Design + Construction

Jessica Sherwood

Director, Strategic Accounts

Will Sutila

Director, Strategic Accounts

Becky Werra

Director, Strategic Accounts

Arica Finney

Manager, Strategic Accounts

John Albrecht

Partner, Leopardo Energy

Curtis Leopardo

President, Leopardo Energy

Jim Leopardo

Founder

In 1977, entrepreneur Jim 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 his leadership, Leopardo has grown into one of the nation’s top contractors with more than 450 employees and 650 projects worked on each year.

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.

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. In 2017, he was named a Distinguished Alumni by his alma mater Western Illinois University. Later that year Jim also received the Honorary Legion of Honor Award from DeMolay International in recognition of his service to the community. Previously, 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.

Rick Mattioda

Vice Chairman

Rick Mattioda serves as vice chairman of Leopardo Companies. Under his leadership, Leopardo has grown into one of the nation’s top contractors. Previously in his role as president and now as vice chairman, Rick’s belief in a transparent, open-book business approach has helped Leopardo distinguish itself from the competition.

With 40 years of industry experience, including three decades with Leopardo, Rick is an enthusiastic proponent for continuous improvement and achievement. Furthermore, he was the driving force behind the creation of Leopardo’s long-standing Total Quality Management (TQM) initiative, which is aimed at cross-awareness and quality in all organizational processes. Today, TQM continues to provide a people-focused approach to management that gives every Leopardo employee a voice in improving the company.

In recognition of his industry leadership, Rick was inducted into Midwest Real Estate News’ Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame in 2012. He was named one of the Midwest’s 40 top commercial real estate executives over the age of 40 by the same magazine in 2008. Prior to that, he was honored at a ceremony for the 2006 Contractor of the Year, awarded to Rick and Leopardo by the Coalition for United Community Action, a group dedicated to training minorities and women for employment in construction. This prestigious honor recognized Rick’s drive for excellence and Leopardo’s consistent demonstration of superior leadership qualities and contributions to the minority construction community.

Rick holds a bachelor’s degree in construction technology from Western Illinois University and is a member of the Real Estate Investment Association (REIA), the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), FMI Peer Group (President/CEO group) and serves on the board of directors of Turning Pointe Autism Foundation and the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate.

Back To Team

Mike Leopardo

President & CEO

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OUR HISTORY

1977

A Name for the Ages

A construction engineering graduate from Western Illinois University, James Leopardo founds a two-person construction firm, laying the first bricks of a legendary company.

Awards + Recognition

INDUSTRY
AWARDS

CONTRACTOR
OF THE YEAR AWARDS

PROJECT
OF THE YEAR AWARDS

SAFETY
AWARDS

2018 Largest Contractors

- CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS

2018 Largest Construction Companies

- MIDWEST REAL ESTATE NEWS

2018 Top Contractors in America

- ENGINEERING NEWS RECORD

2018 Top Contractors in America

- BUILDING DESIGN+CONSTRUCTION

2018 Great Citizen Award

- VILLAGE OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

2018 Excellence in Masonry Award

- MASONRY ADVISORY COUNCIL

2017 Volunteer Award

- ILLINOIS FIRE AND SAFETY ALLIANCE

2016 Emerald Award

- USGBC ILLINOIS

2015 Emerald Innovation Award

- USGBC ILLINOIS

2010 Communitas Leadership Award

- AMCP

2009 Award for Business Excellence

- DAILY HERALD BUSINESS LEDGER

2006 Torch Award

- BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU

Leopardo Charitable Foundation

Our foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the core values of kindness, goodwill, compassion and benevolence.

Every year the Leopardo Charitable Foundation aids dozens of deserving charities that promote education, health, technology and support the well-being of citizens. The foundation has contributed to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, American Heart Association, USO of Illinois, City of Hope, Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, among many others. Since 2004, Leopardo and its charitable foundation have raised and donated well over $2.5 million.

Liquidated Damages

Specializing in eclectic music and covering musicians from Aerosmith to Adele and everything in between.

Leopardo’s charitable rock band, comprised of musicians from Leopardo and its business partners, plays numerous benefit concerts each year. Since its founding in 1998, the band has raised millions for various charities. Over the past two decades, Liquidated Damages has played with renowned talent, including Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Survivor’s founder Jim Peterik, singer/actor Jim Belushi, as well as Aerosmith’s touring piano player Russ Irwin.

Reach out to get started on your next project.