Leo Edward Linbeck

Lecturer in Management

Academic Areas: Center for Leadership Development and Research

I am a business practitioner with a passion for teaching. I have tremendous respect for the academic enterprise, and the researcher-teachers who form its core. I try to take the general frameworks they develop and give them practical application, and then teach others to do the same.

My belief is that the problems of business are the problems of life (thanks to Jim March). The classroom is a special environment where those problems can be explored, simulated, probed, understood, and then used as a basis for real actions in real situations. I believe it is my calling in life to help others to become better business leaders by broadening their mind, both in business and in the classroom.


Leo is a husband, father of five and President and CEO of Aquinas Companies, LLC, the parent company of seven values-driven enterprises: construction management, stone and masonry specialty contracting, turnkey concrete structures, patented products for the highway construction industry, medical products manufacturing, life science preventure technology development and real estate development. Since Leo joined the leadership team at the company, its annual revenues have grown from $40 million to over $500 million. Aquinas' unusual structure and business practices have inspired tremendous employee loyalty, with an average tenure among senior managers of more than 20 years, as well as making a significant community impact through an annual tithe of its net income.

In addition, Leo teaches MBAs as an adjunct professor at both the Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business and Stanford's Graduate School of Business where he serves as Lecturer and MBA Class of 1979 Lecturer for 2008-2009. Leo graduated from University of Notre Dame with two bachelor degrees, one in Civil Engineering and one in the Program of Liberal Studies (Notre Dame's Great Books program). He then went on to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Master's Degree in Structural Engineering. Some years later, he entered Stanford's MBA program, graduating as the only student in the history of the GSB to be both Valedictorian and winner of the Arbuckle Award (the person voted by his classmates to have made the greatest contribution to the school). While at Stanford, he was Chair of the Academic Committee and founder of the Global Management Program.

Leo is also very involved with PreK-12 education reform, especially the expansion of high-performing charter schools serving low-income communities. He has a close working relationship with KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program) in Houston, where he led the effort to formulate a bold plan for growth. He also helped create REEP (the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program), a business-school-based program for developing school leaders. He currently serves as Chairman of REEP.

Leo serves on the board of Advocates for Choice Schools, Chantal Cookware, Free Enterprise Institute, Holocaust Museum Houston, the Methodist Hospital Research Institute, and Young Presidents Organization, Houston Chapter. He is a member of the University of Texas Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department External Advisory Committee, the Positive Coaching Alliance National Advisory Board, the Advisory Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF), and the Rice University Centennial Campaign Cabinet. He also chairs The Linbeck Family Charitable Foundation, a supporting organization of the GHCF.

Academic Degrees

MBA, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1987; MS, University of Texas, Austin, 1984; BA, BS, University of Notre Dame, 1984.

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 2005.

Judge for Southwest Business Plan Competition, Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, 2004; Guest Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business, M.I.T., Univ. of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist Univ.; 1996–2002; academic positions including Adjunct Prof., Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice Univ.; 1994, Director of Software Development, Jafy Development Corp.; 1988—; President and CEO, NextStage Entertainment Corp.; Variety of positions including laborer, ironworker, engineer, estimator, Director of Information Systems, Executive Vice President of Client Development, President, and CEO, Aquinas Corp., 1988—; 1986–87; Trainee, Nishimatsu Kensetsu Kaisha, 1987–88.

Selected Cases

  • SM10: Linbeck Construction (A)

Awards and Honors

  • Alumni Teaching Award, 2006, Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Management
  • MBA Class of 1979 Lecturer for 2008-2009, 2009, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Courses Taught