BALA Celebrates Inductees Downing/Leach, Kephart & Terwilliger

Bruce Downing and Jim Leach, Class of 2014

In the late 1960s, college buddies, entrepreneurs and visionaries Bruce Downing and Jim Leach came together to form Downing-Leach to meld their design-build skills with a desire to truly understand development, and pioneer the way for new, innovative neighborhoods in Boulder, Colo. Those first projects of Appleridge Park and Wonderland Hills, including a deep dive into solar design, put Leach and Downing “on the map” with national accolades and awards for their community planning efforts. Home awards were garnered from the American Wood Institute, NAHB and U.S. Department of Energy for solar. These accomplishments set early roots for sustainability in their projects — from individual buildings and homes, to planned communities, to commercial and mixed-use environments.

Over time, the two grew the company, expanding further into home building and adding mixed-use and commercial expertise to the community design experience and evolving from Downing-Leach to Downing, Thorpe & James, Inc. in 1988 and eventually DTJ. Since its founding, the common thread that is community design — the integration of sensitive neighborhood planning, inspired architecture and beautiful landscapes where people can live, work, and play — has been an unwavering part of the company’s philosophy.

Mike Kephart, Class of 2018

Mike Kephart is the founder of Kephart Architects, a firm focused on the design of residential communities. In 2008, Kephart retired from the practice he had led since 1973. The concept of “housing for later life” consumed his attention after retirement, both for his own needs and the growing demographic of people who enjoy years beyond age 50. 

He co-authored a book about the phenomenon, called ‘Building for Boomers.’ Kephart also continued his passion for housing by founding Sidekick Homes. ‘Sidekicks’ are accessory dwelling units that can be placed on single-family lots adjacent to existing homes or as new construction. 

J. Ronald Terwilliger, Class of 2022

Ron Terwilliger is chairman of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing, focusing on workforce and affordable housing. He also established the Terwilliger Center for Innovation and Shelter at Habitat for Humanity International to improve housing conditions of low-income families worldwide. The J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing the Bipartisan Policy Center works to advance public policies in order to address our nation’s critical housing affordability challenges.

He is past chairman of Enterprise Community Partners, the International Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity and ULI. He continues to support the aforementioned boards philanthropically as well as serving as trustee. He is also chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Residential Company, a national residential real estate company and the largest developer of multifamily housing in the United States for several decades during his tenure as CEO.

Terwilliger has received numerous housing awards including NAHB’s Hall of Fame Award, the National Housing Conference Housing Leader of the Year Award, the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize Award, and the Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award.

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