RMW Since


Jeff Leonhardt



Where did you go to school?

My “ten-year plan” for college included art, drafting, and CAD coursework at Sierra Junior College in Rocklin, California; architectural design courses at the University of Utah; and then a bachelor of arts degree in interior design from California State University, Sacramento.

Anything in particular you remember about school or early practice?

While I was taking a calculus class in college, I remember asking myself, “Does anybody ever use this stuff?” To this day, I still haven’t found much use for negative exponents and logarithms.calculus

What do you do at RMW?

A little bit of everything: firm management, studio management, client management, project management, and quality assurance. I write proposals and administer contracts. I am also a project architect, a project designer, and occasionally my own draftsperson. On some projects, I perform all of these activities, including construction administration. Primarily I work on ground-up office and industrial projects. I am RMW’s resident expert regarding site-cast tilted-concrete construction methods (a distinction I wear proudly!). I also do a fair amount of site master planning and interface often with planning and building departments around northern California.

What do you like about the firm?

I am RMW’s resident expert regarding site-cast tilted-concrete construction methods.

Prior to becoming a principal, I always appreciated the emphasis RMW puts on valuing the employee. As a principal, I get to continue that tradition by valuing the staff members I work with.

What do you do outside the firm?

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife and our two small children. I also enjoy focusing my attention on my first passion in life, music. I play piano, guitar, and electric bass. I have played in local rock-and-roll bands around the Sacramento area for the last 20 years. Playing and writing music is very enjoyable to me, and it is a great release from all the other aspects of everyday life.

Who is your role model and why?

My grandfather was a huge inspiration to me as I was growing up. He was a quintessential “Renaissance man” who started with nothing and went on to build his own multimillion-dollar printing company. In his free time, he played guitar and repaired and restored antique clocks and music boxes. He was, above all, a man who greatly valued his family and the satisfaction of working hard to achieve excellence. He also had a great sense of humor and a keen wit to him. Those two qualities came out often as he shared valuable pearls of wisdom that he had acquired throughout his life. Some of my favorite quotes from him include, “Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but at least you can choose your own sorrow,” and, “If all you are willing to pay your employees is peanuts, then the only people who will work for you will be monkeys.”