Article : After 25 years of leading Jacksonville

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After 25 years of leading Jacksonville, Fla.-based RS&H as CEO, Leerie Jenkins Jr., FASLA transitions to board chairman.

By Michael Bernos

In 1990, Leerie Jenkins, Jr., FASLA, took the gamble of his life. As an executive of a well known but faltering architectural/engineering firm, Jenkins – a nationally recognized Fellow Landscape Architect – convinced several of his colleagues to take over the firm in an employee buyout.
Since that decision, he has never looked back.

At the helm of the Jacksonville, Florida-based RS&H, now one of the nation’s leading facilities and infrastructure consulting firms, Jenkins oversaw the firm’s phoenix growing it from $20 million in 1991 to $150 million in 2011. During that time the Jacksonville-Florida based firm expanded nationally to 33 cities as well as internationally as a multidiscipline firm exerting leadership in Aviation; Aerospace and Defense; Corporate; Education, Health and Science; Public Infrastructure; and Transportation.

Jenkins became more than Chairman, President and CEO: he was the face of the company, doing whatever he had to do to grow the enterprise, while at the same time becoming an admired civic leader in Jacksonville and throughout the state. An imposing man, with a genteel and persuasive touch, he has served as Chairman of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Cornerstone Economic Development Council, Chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, President of the Gator Bowl Association, Trustee to Florida A&M University, member of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida and member of the prestigious Florida Council of 100. Jenkins’ success in all these roles is testimony to his knack at consensus building. Many RS&H executives have had long tenures with the firm, a tribute to Jenkins’ ability to build stable management teams, which are directly related to RS&H’s long upward growth curve.

It is interesting that Jenkins used his skills as a Landscape Architect and environmental generalist to provide leadership of multidiscipline teams on projects to grow a large multidisciplined design firm.

“I certainly believe that my training as landscape architect provided me with the management skills and team leadership to grow a nationally recognized facilities and infrastructure consulting firm,” says Jenkins, referring to RS&H’s six programs.

On July 31 of this year, after a 25-year run as CEO, he will hand the reins over to Aviation Senior Vice President, Brian Reed, and will transition to Board Chairman.

“It’s been a wonderful time,” says Jenkins, who is a graduate of University of Georgia and received his Masters degree from Michigan State University. “I have been surrounded with great peers and colleagues to whom I owe a great deal of my success.”

Even at age 63, Jenkins will play a major role in the direction of company he has nurtured for over two decades. As Board Chairman, Jenkins will oversee a ten-year vision which will serve as a roadmap for the firm’s continued growth and expansion.

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June 28, 2016, 11:09 am EST

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