Pierre Cowart’s start in the construction industry came while studying architecture and civil engineering at the University of Illinois. Then he began working at Leopardo in 1995—He can hardly believe he’s already celebrating nearly 20 years in the industry and with the same company.
Almost two decades of participating in anything is a long time! And with Cowart, the driving force that has kept him in the industry is really the people he’s worked with.
“It’s also about the relationships I’ve built right alongside all of the buildings,” Cowart said, SVP at Leopardo Companies, Inc. “The sense of accomplishment with each project I successfully complete with my team is also a great motivator.”
Recently, Leopardo had the privilege of working on the Big Ten Conference headquarters in Rosemont—it’s now one of Cowart’s most memorable projects. “It’s by no means the largest or most complicated project that we’ve completed, but we had a great team dynamic throughout the project and we truly had a blast from start to finish.”
Cowart noted that his company has earned a reputation among their peers and partners for being smart and enjoyable to work with, which goes a long way in this industry and sets them apart from others. “We also have a band, Liquidated Damages, comprised of musicians from Leopardo and some of our business partners. We formed in 1999 to play fundraisers and help make a difference in our community.”
“Also Leopardo just broke ground on a 24-story luxury condo tower at 4 East Elm Street in Chicago,” he added. “This is the first high-rise condo complex to be built in Chicago’s Gold Coast since 2007. We’ve done several exciting renovation projects at 111 North Canal Street as well, including interior build-outs for both Twitter and Vivid Seats, Ltd.”
After nearly two decades in the industry, Cowart’s biggest mentor has been Rick Mattioda, president of Leopardo Companies. “He is a friend, as well as a trusted and experienced mind in this business.”
What’s the biggest lesson he’s learned working in commercial real estate/construction? “This business is based on trust. If you do what you say you’re going to do, you will get great results.”
Cowart noted that striking a good work-life balance is really important, and considers his self very lucky to work for a company that value and supports that balance. “I just make it a priority to spend quality time with my family. That’s really what keeps me sane.”
So when he isn’t working, what does he like to do besides spending time with his beautiful family?
“I’m a tennis nut and an amateur musician,” Cowart said. “I play bass for Liquidated Damages, our company band. We play 10 or so charity events each year, including shows at the House of Blues. It’s a blast and an honor to have helped raise a lot of money for some truly great causes over the past decade and a half.”
One thing that he’d like to do, that he hasn’t already, is skydive. “But if I’m being perfectly honest, I think I might chicken out on that if put to the test. I’ll go with traveling the world, instead. I’d love to see all the famous sights. I’ve made it to Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal, which were both unbelievable. Now I’ve got my sights set on the Egyptian Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.”