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James Mitchell President

James Mitchell, Jr. is the recently named president of R.J. Leeper Construction, a full-service minority construction management and general contracting company located in Charlotte. The company was acquired by Bright Hope Capital LLC, a new investment firm that aims to significantly develop and grow Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses in the Charlotte region. James oversees the direction of the firm, including the management of exceptional client relationships, the acquisition of new work, and daily operations. He also focuses on identifying and proactively addressing risks and opportunities across the organization. James is wholeheartedly devoted to cultivating the Leeper corporate culture and dedicating time to mentor up-and-coming leaders.


Prior to joining Leeper Construction, James worked as Senior Business Development Manager at JE Dunn for four years and Director of Business Development at Barton Malow for three years. Aside from his experience in the construction industry, he worked as a public servant for 20 years to create job opportunities; advocate for economic development and the inclusion of minority and small businesses in construction projects; and promote neighborhood improvement projects. James is an experienced leader with proven results. In 2005, he served as President of the North Carolina Black Elected Municipal Officials (NCBEMO), and two years later he became the President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. It was only natural and fitting for him to establish and serve as President of Next Level Leadership, Inc., a program that is instrumental in the development and growth of the next generation of African-American leaders in the Charlotte community.

A Charlotte native, James graduated from West Charlotte High School. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (Information Systems) from North Carolina Central University, and successfully completed studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University) and the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership.


James is the father of two blessings, Kayla and Nicole. He is married to former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham.

Ken Holt Chief Financial Officer

Ken joined R.J. Leeper Construction in 1995 after working with a public accounting firm for seven years where his primary experiences were in the real estate and construction industries. He is responsible for all the accounting and financial aspects of the company. In 2003, Ken won The Charlotte Business Journal CPA of the Year Award.


A native of Miami, Florida, Ken received his B.S.B.A.-Accounting Degree from Appalachian State University. He is a licensed CPA and currently a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accounts (NCACPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).


Ken enjoys spending time with his family and gardening.  He is known for his organic vegetables.

Gary Morgan LEED AP  Vice President of Preconstruction & Operations

Gary Morgan serves as Vice President of Pre-construction & Operations; however, he has functioned in many capacities during his 23-year tenure with R.J. Leeper Construction. Prior to joining the firm, Gary worked in the electrical industry and held both city and state electrical licenses. 


Gary first worked in the estimating department for three years where he quickly learned the skills of estimating and pre-construction services.  He then advanced to operations services and held all positions from office engineer to assistant project manager, project manager, senior project manager and currently Vice President.  At some point, all projects that flow through the firm, from pre-construction to close out, are sure to be under the supervision of Gary.


Gary has extensive experience in healthcare, church, retail and institutional work.  His expertise in all areas of the business has positioned him to offer clients the “bumper-to-bumper” customer service on which a client can rely. Whether the project is at the beginning phase of pre-construction or after completion, this business model has been the cornerstone of developing long standing relationships with clients. While Gary understands the value of excellent customer service and project delivery to our clients, he also recognizes the importance of communication and management of staff to accomplish task assignments.