Leo Linbeck III
Adjunct Professor in Management
Leo Linbeck III is a husband, father of five, and CEO of Aquinas Companies, LLC, the parent company of Linbeck Group (an institutional construction firm founded by his grandfather more than 85 years ago), Essex Commercial Properties (a real estate development firm), Fannin Life Sciences (a biotech/medtech product development firm), and Third Frontier (a vocational education company). He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with two degrees, a B.S. in civil engineering and a B.A. in great books. Leo then earned an M.S. in structural engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. After a year working in Japan for Nishimatsu Kensetsu Kaisha, he returned the U.S. to join Linbeck Group. A few years later, he went to Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was named the Henry Ford Scholar (valedictorian) and winner of the Arbuckle Award (the award given to the student who made the greatest contributions to the school as voted on by his class). He remains the only student in the history of the GSB to win both awards, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
Leo has served in a wide range of operating and governance roles in a variety of organizations. He has led a third generation legacy business; started more than a dozen businesses, some of which were funded by institutional investors (VC and PE); he has been a founding board member and current board chair of two significant education non-profits, Families Empowered and Seton Education Partners; he is the designer and software engineer of the Brevitest diagnostic system, and holds nine issued patents; he founded and ran the largest non-partisan SuperPAC in the 2012 congressional election cycle, the Campaign for Primary Accountability; and he was one of the founders and remains on the board of the Urban Reform Institute.
In 2002, Leo created and taught his first MBA course at Rice Business, Managing Growth. He won the Alumni Teaching Award two times before he left to teach at his alma mater, Stanford. He taught there for more than 16 years, and his Family Business course was one of the GSB’s most popular MBA electives. He is delighted to be returning to Rice Business as it allows him to spend more time in his beloved hometown of Houston. He even likes it here during the summer.
Teaching and Research Interests:
- Philosophy of Enterprise
- Family Business
- Institutional Construction
- Commercial Real Estate
- Life Science Product Development
- Software Engineering
- K-12 and Vocational Education