Leadership 2018-10-03T15:57:32+00:00


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 construction 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.

Todd Pressley

Co-Principal and Vice President

Todd is the co-principal and vice president, at Ujamaa construction, Inc. 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 vice president, he oversees the company’s operations and management teams, ensuring that the proper policies and process are in place to ensure our client’s absolute satisfaction. 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 area 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

Project Executive

Ron is a Project Executive at Ujamaa Construction Inc., with over 28 years construction industry experience. Since joining Ujamaa in 2010, he has held key responsibilities that include the planning, programing, and project management of complex healthcare and institutional assignments in the company. In addition, Ron lead the safety and risk practices at Ujamaa, and under his leadership UJAMAA has seen a significant reduction of safety incidents, and improvement to the company safety program. He is a LEED AP accredited professional and certified by the Healthcare Facilities Design Certification.

Les Bates

Project Executive

Les is a Project Executive at Ujamaa construction Inc. He offers over 31 years of construction industry experience. The roles at UJAMAA include involvement in projects form inception through close-out, including strategic plans, construction contracting, contract negotiations, bidding, project planning, staffing, scheduling and client relations. He is degreed with a Master of Science, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and a Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering both from the University of Illinois.

Anna Thomas

Director of Accounting

Anna is the Director of Accounting at UJAMAA Construction. She has 19 years of experience in the construction industry with 14 years in the management role. Her experience includes work with various subcontractor and general contractors as she learned the business from PR/AP Clerk to Project Accountant to Director of Accounting. Since joining UJAMAA, ANNA has brought a streamlined approach, and responsive management practices to the administrative and financial functions of the company.

Bruce Laurie


Since joining Ujamaa Construction Inc. in 2008, Bruce has successfully crafted the field team of Superintendents and Carpenters with precision. With over 20 years in the construction industry as a member of Carpenters local 174, he brings a hands-on experience to the management process. His attention to details, pursuit of continuous improvement, and ability to adapt to an ever changing construction landscape make Bruce a strategic member of the UJAMAA leadership team.