Recently, Unfair Park, has expressed irritation at Tom Leppert's penchant for regaling the audience with his high-altitude exploits in the business world. We've sat through five hours of mayoral forums so far, and Leppert has talked about his seven-year stint at the CEO of the Turner Corp., the largest commercial building in the United States, at nearly every opportunity, frequently saying that it distinguishes him from all the other candidates. That's an annoying and incorrect boast: After all, Sam Coats was the former CEO of Schlotzky's and member of the management team at Continental, although he doesn't like to talk about it, choosing instead to concentrate on the political job he's applying for.
But we have to give Leppert this much. By nearly all accounts, the guy was a tremendous CEO, both in terms of boosting the company's bottom line and having a rare understanding that there are other things besides boosting the company's bottom line -- a value that probably required him to move to Dallas from the Park Cities the first time he displayed it. We should be wary about electing a construction executive in a town that favors development �ber alles, but if we're going to fall in love all over again with a preferred candidate of the business class, we could do a lot worse.
A recent review of Leppert's press clippings tells us this much:
During his stint as CEO, he doubled the company's revenue to $7.4 billion.
He spent $13 billion on so-called green constructions, a total of 160 projects, which typically use natural light and other features to reduce energy costs.
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In order to inoculate the company from the boom and bust cycles of the construction business, Leppert widened the focus of the company to a range of construction projects, not just office buildings.
He dramatically increased the number of minority and women recruits.
In a talent that will come in handy as mayor, he also managed to recruit up to 1,000 new engineers to the company each year.
But we found another interesting revelation from reading Leppert's press clippings. In a Dallas Morning News story in August 2006 about Leppert's resignation from Turner Corp., reporter Cheryl Hall wrote that he wanted to "concentrate on family, community and his faith before rejoining the corporate world." She then reminded him that the mayor's job is open. His response: "I think I'll pass on that." --Matt Pulle