Earl Gales Jr.
'72, Urban and Regional Planning
So vast and varied are the accomplishments of Earl E. Gales Jr., it’s hard to count them.
A 1972 graduate of Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, Gales is chairman and CEO of Jenkins/Gales & Martinez Inc., an architectural, program and construction management firm serving Southern California and, most recently, Beijing. With more than 120 employees, it is one of the largest minority-owned certified firms.
JGM, which Gales founded in 1981, has played a significant role in the revitalization of the Los Angeles region, including directing or partnering on important civic projects, among them the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill District, the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Convention Center and Exposition Park, as well as underserved communities throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. The firm is a leader in major construction programs for K-12, higher education and mass transportation in Southern California.
One of his most rewarding projects, the Los Angeles Metro Rail Program, has roots at Cal Poly Pomona. He used study documents from Cal Poly Pomona to help establish and create the rail program. “My paper was the initial document that the mayor of Los Angeles, the county supervisor and the director of the RTD (MTA) used to justify the funding of the Red Line.”
Gales grew up in the Watts area of Los Angeles and was inspired to pursue his chosen field by two men in his life: his father and a business associate named Robert Colombatto.
“Both men gave me the tools to pursue architecture and construction management,” he says. “My father inspired me through hard work as a carpenter and building repairman. And Mr. Colombatto gave me inspiration through understanding business and the ability to work with people in a stressful environment. “
Gales chose to attend Cal Poly Pomona “because it had a strong planning and architecture program.” He also took graduate courses on campus, which enhanced his further educational pursuits at UCLA, where he earned a master’s degree in 1974 in urban design/planning.
The married father of four plays golf in his spare time, and also lends his expertise and energy to numerous causes. He has served as an advisor to two U.S. presidents on transportation and infrastructure development and has advised two governors on mentorship and volunteer service. In addition, he is a board member of Cedars-Sinai Hospital Board/Sports Spectacular, UCLA Graduate School of Arts and Architecture, the African American Unity Center, and Loyola Marymount University Engineering School.
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