Leonard is Senior Vice President of North Carolina’s Eastern Region Economic Development Commission. He is second in command and charged with managing key NCER relationships and partnerships, and overseeing strategic initiatives. Since joining the organization in 1966, he has also served as Marketing Director, Project Manager and Business Analyst. He recently served on the North Carolina Economic Developers Association – NCEDA, Board of Directors and was an editor of the 2009 edition of the joint UNC School of Government – NCEDA Economic Development Handbook. Among his top priorities are the promotion of the regions BioEast Alliance, expansion of the Global Innovation Network, the growth of the regions emerging aerospace cluster and to maximum the basing of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft at MCAS Cherry Point.
Prior to joining the Eastern Region staff, he was Executive Director of Marketing, Aerospace Group, Government Affairs Office, Textron Corporation, Washington, D.C.; serving as Senior Fortune 100 Corporate Representative to the U. S. Departments of Defense, State and Commerce; the Federal Aviation Agency and the International Military Attaché community for contract, technical and operational issues.
Before moving to Washington D.C., he worked at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth Texas, a division of Textron, as a design engineer, engineering project manager and U. S. and international marketing representative. His worked included the design and deployment of scout, attack and utility helicopters, plus commercial and military tiltrotor aircraft for domestic and international markets. The military, aerospace and economic development programs involved extensive domestic and international travel.
He holds a MA from Central Michigan University in Business Management/Personnel Administration, a BA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois and is a graduate of Department of Defense Systems Management College programs for US, and International Defense Systems Program Managers. He attended the Basic Economic Development Course at Southern Mississippi University, the advanced Economic Development Institute-EDI program at Oklahoma University and is a graduate of the NC Rural Economic Development Centers Leadership Institute.
While on active duty with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Div, he was an airborne infantry officer and instrument rated scout helicopter pilot.
Len and his wife, Diane, live in Greenville, NC. Diane is active in community affairs; she is past Chair of the City of Greenville Appearance Commission and currently serves as Chair of the Police Community Relations Committee. Len and Diane have two children, Jeffrey and Heather and five grandchildren, Augusta, Canyon, Ashley, Taylor and Austin.
Jeffrey is an Investment Banker in New York City, with a focus on the Power Industry. Heather is a co-owner and Manager of a youth soccer program in Cary, NC.