Earl Gales, Jr. (cpp.edu)


Earl E. Gales Jr., the skillful and creative founder of Jenkins/Gales & Martinez, Inc., has died. According to an announcement by JGM, Jenkins passed away on November 20.

As a premier architect, engineering and construction management professional, Gales and his firm played leading roles in scores of projects in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. JGM made significant contributions to the building of the L.A. Metro Line, L.A. Community College District and California’s high-speed rail system.

The firm also directed or partnered on civic projects such as the Hollywood Park Development, Banc of California Stadium, Vermont-Adams Shopping Center, L.A. Convention Center and LAX Landside Access Modernization Project.

His passing prompted many of his colleagues to express admiration for his talent, character and business acumen. Drake Dillard, a Los Angeles-based architect with Perkins & Will, recalled his excitement at meeting Gales many years ago.

“To see another Black person in my profession having a successful business for as long as he did made a great impression on me. Also, I am involved with NOMA – National Organization of Minority Architects – and whenever we asked him for support or help, he never said no. He gave his time and he also gave money as well,” Dillard said.

According to Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., chairman of Bakewell Media and a longtime friend, “Earl Gales was just an incredible human being.  He was a great businessman, great friend, great father, great husband, great community advocate, just an all around great person.

“Aline and I, and in fact our entire family, was heartbroken to hear of his passing.  The lights of this city are a little dimmer because of his passing,” said Bakewell, who was also a client of Gales and served with him on the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade.

Referring to Gales as “my esteemed colleague,” architect Virginia Tanzmann said, “We were in friendly competition for many years, and we also collaborated on several large civic projects. His passing — too soon! — is a loss to the entire community.”

Offering similar comments, attorney Rickey Ivie declared, “Earl was a terrific guy. It’s so hard to believe that we’ve lost him. His intelligence, generosity, love for his community and friendship – Earl was simply one of the best persons I have ever known!”

Earl Gales founded one of the nation’s largest minority-owned architect, engineering and construction management firms. (calstate.edu)

Although in different professions, Ivie and Gales became close from working together on various community projects. Both were proud Bruins (UCLA mascot) and often collaborated on initiatives to encourage more African American to enroll at the university.

“Earl and I worked to raise funds for UCLA Black Alumni Scholarships. Also, he’s one of the few African Americans who had the vision to start a scholarship for Black students – the Earl Gales Jr. Endowed Scholarship at Cal Poly Pomona, which he did many years ago,” Ivie said.

He added that they joined efforts on several political campaigns as well. “Like me, Earl was keenly aware that the Black community needed and deserved committed and accountable representatives,” noted Ivie. “Earl worked hard and gave generously towards achieving those goals.”

Gales was well known for generously lending his time, talents and treasures to charitable operations. Ivie said, “He made a difference in a tangible way. He stepped up and stepped up good when you went to him for help. Also, you never heard anybody say anything bad about him and you never heard him say anything bad about anyone else.”

Gales, who also served as chairman of the board of JGM, founded the company in 1981 and guided it to becoming one of the largest minority-owned firms in the field. The statement on JGM’s Linkedin page attributed the firm’s success to Gales “fostering a company culture of comradery (sic) and teamwork, and always making time to say hi, genuinely check in, and get to know each employee. He created a family-like work environment that JGM will carry on.”

“Earl was a good example of a successful Black businessman working in this industry – in design, construction and management of projects. He was an example that people could see,” said Dillard.

He received his Bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Cal Poly Pomona and earned a Master’s degree in architecture and urban design from UCLA. In addition, Gales advised two U.S. presidents on transportation and infrastructure development and two governors on mentorship and volunteer service.

In addition, he co-authored three books and penned books on African art and architecture, and infrastructure development for various African countries (West and South Africa). Also, he wrote numerous articles on topics including multi-family housing development, transportation policy and design, correctional facilities, and the delivery of educational planning and design.

Other topics he wrote about included air transportation infrastructure in West Africa, the design of small correctional facilities, the effects of integration on real estate values, and the impact of transportation systems in the minority community.

In the area of community service, Gales served on the Boards of the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Board/Sports Spectacular, UCLA/Graduate School of Arts and Architecture, UCLA Board of Counselors, Loyola Marymount University Engineering School, African American Unity Center, Vermont Village Community Development Corporation. He is also past chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization, Bel Air Chapter.

Funeral services were still pending at press time.