Leopardo CEO Wins Distinguished Alumni Award from Western Illinois University
Leopardo Companies, Inc. CEO James Leopardo has been named a 2017 Distinguished Alumni by his alma mater Western Illinois University. “The Distinguished Alumni Award, given since 1973, recognizes alumni who have brought credit to the university and themselves through exceptional professional accomplishments, meritorious service to ensure the continued excellence of WIU and through service to their communities at the national, state or local levels,” states the official release. He will be recognized, along with one other recipient, Saturday, May 13 at the university’s spring 2017 commencement ceremony.
Leopardo graduated from Western Illinois University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and founded his company that same year. Under his leadership, Leopardo Companies has grown into one of the nation’s largest contractors with more than 400 employees and 2016 revenues in excess of $450 million. As CEO, Leopardo 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. Over the years, the company has hired numerous Western Illinois University alumni and continues to provide internship opportunities for students as well.
Leopardo leads his namesake company with a community-minded approach to business, which has organically grown into an important distinguishing characteristic over the past four decades. This is marked by countless employee volunteer initiatives, fundraisers, non-profit partnerships, above-and-beyond services, a charitable band, as well as a charitable foundation dedicated to the core values of kindness, goodwill, compassion and benevolence. Every year the foundation aids dozens of deserving charities that promote education, health, technology and wellness. Since 2004, the company and its foundation have raised and donated well over $1.5 million under Leopardo’s leadership.
Leopardo is a member of the FMI Executives/Presidents Peer Group and is a board member of James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate Wisconsin School of Business. He is also an emeritus member of the Engineering Technology Advisory Board at Western Illinois University and frequently attends Western Illinois University alumni events. Past philanthropic work includes serving on the board at Foglia YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, during which he received the Volunteer of the Year and Family of the Year awards. He has also served as a board member of JFK Health World, a non-profit children’s health education museum.