Leadership — UJAMAA Construction 


Jimmy Akintonde

Jimmy Akintonde

President & CEO

Jimmy founded UJAMAA Construction in 2002. His vision was to create a company that would provide exceptional construction services in a socially responsible manner, to “rebuild our community one block at a time.” UJAMAA has grown dramatically under his leadership and is now the premier diversity general contractor and construction management firm in the city of Chicago.

Jimmy earned a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed numerous MBA courses at Purdue University. He graduated from the Entrepreneurship Center program at Purdue University Calumet and is a member of the inaugural NextOne entrepreneurial program with the Chicago Urban League and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School. He also successfully completed the Executive Education program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He is a past Chair of the Builders’ Association and the Illinois Chapter of the Association of General Contractors.

Jimmy has been honored with several distinguished community and professional awards. He and his wife and family live in the community where UJAMAA was founded.

President’s Message

“When I founded UJAMAA in 2002, I wanted to build an organization that paid an equal amount of attention to social responsibility, profitability and citizenship.”

“While weathering the storm of this economic downturn, I am proud to say that we never lost sight of our core values. UJAMAA continues to operate as a compassionate, customer-oriented business that believes that the size of the project should not determine the quality of the construction service.

An integral component of our business can be explained simply by our name, UJAMAA. UJAMAA loosely translates into “the need to give back to those who support you.” As a minority-owned construction firm, we maintain deep roots within our community and we share a commitment to social responsibility within the communities where we live and work. We continue to provide cost-effective, quality general construction and construction management services to urban projects.

Over the past decade, we have earned a reputation for successfully completing commercial, institutional, and healthcare assignments in sensitive work environments. Despite often constructing in occupied workspaces and operating on a fast-track schedule, we have the expertise to close out a project within the established budget. This steadfast commitment has earned our firm a positive reputation within the industry and repeat business from more than 70% of our Owners.

These lasting client relationships can be directly attributed to the men and women working by my side. I personally ensure that the UJAMAA work environment is safe, fun, supportive, and creative for everyone involved with our organization. We surround our team with the best tools, resources, and experiences to ensure a successful career within the construction industry.

Our commitment to “rebuild our community one block at a time” will continue to be self-evident in our work, our project management style, and unsurpassed customer satisfaction. Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and we look forward to partnering with you on your next project…”

Todd Pressley

Todd Pressley

Co-Principal and Excecutive Vice President

Todd is the co-principal and executive vice president at UJAMAA Construction. Having joined UJAMAA in 2010, Todd offers over 30 years of construction industry expertise and has knowledge of all construction delivery methods. In his current role as executive vice president and co-principal, he oversees the company’s operations and management teams, ensuring that the proper policies and processes are in place to ensure our client’s absolute satisfaction. In fact, Todd opened and oversees Atlanta office. 

Todd is an active member of many organizations and sits on the board of organizations including The Renaissance Collaborative, Chicago Builders Association – Education & Training Foundation, ACE Tech Charter High School, and Black Contractors United. Todd also volunteers his time at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) as a coach and positive role model for young people.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration in Operations Management from Baruch College. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Facilities Planning and Management from Cornell University. Prior to joining UJAMAA, Todd held senior management roles at some of the largest construction companies in the Mid-West, and he brings his many years of experience to UJAMAA. Todd is an avid golfer and enjoys participating in family activities.

Ron Lewis

Ron Lewis

Vice President and Corporate Director of Safety

Ron is a Vice President and Corporate Director of Safety at UJAMAA Construction, with over 30 years construction industry experience. He is a LEED AP accredited professional and certified by the Healthcare Facilities Design Certification. Ron graduated from Bradley University with a degree in Construction Management.

Since joining UJAMAA in 2010, he has held key responsibilities that include the planning, programming, and project management of complex healthcare and institutional assignments in the company. In addition, Ron led the safety and risk practices at UJAMAA. Under his leadership, we’ve seen a significant reduction of safety incidents, and improvement to the company safety program.

Les Bates

Les Bates

Vice President

Les is a Vice President at UJAMAA Construction. He brings over three decades of construction industry experience to our team. Les has earned degrees in Master of Science, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and a Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering both the University of Illinois.

Les’s role is crucial for UJAMAA’s continued success. He is deeply involved in projects from inception through close-out, including strategic plans, construction contracting, contract negotiations, bidding, project planning, preconstruction efforts, staffing, scheduling and client relations. 

Marcia Dawson

Marcia Dawson

Director of Accounting

Marcia Dawson is the Director of Accounting at UJAMAA Construction, with over 10 years of accounting experience and more than 5 years in the management role. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with Accounting concentration from Chicago State University. Marcia joined UJAMAA Construction in 2018 as a Project Accountant later becoming the Director of Accounting. 

Marcia’s role is of paramount importance to UJAMAA. By integrating her innovative approach to expert accounting with a comprehensive management leadership, she is able to navigate our firm towards success.

Marcus Evans

Marcus Evans

Director of Diversity & Community Engagement

Marcus C. Evans is the Director of Diversity and Community Engagement at UJAMAA Construction, Inc. With over 20 years of experience in construction, he provides a keen awareness of the importance of building a diverse pipeline of talent for the industry. In his current role, he leads UJAMAA’s internal and external commitment to advancing workforce compliance, community engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusive best practices. 

His position partners with public, private, non-profit, advocacy, and political agencies to further drive UJAMAA’s mission to ensure our construction projects mirror the communities in which we serve. Marcus earned a Master of Public Administration from Roosevelt University. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from Alcorn State University. He serves on the Board of Directors for Chicagoland General Contractors Association (CAGC). Marcus is also the Vice President and a Board member of United States Minority Contractors Association (USMCA), Chicago Chapter.

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