NEWS // 06.20.17
Jerry Hammerlun – A Legacy Larger than Life
An accomplished business leader — A legacy of excellence
Jerry Hammerlun began his professional journey in 1978 after completing his education at the University of Nebraska. He received two degrees – his bachelor’s degree in architecture, followed by his law degree. After 20 years in the architectural and engineering industry, he joined Huckabee in 2001 and assumed the role of President less than a year later. Jerry served numerous roles in that capacity, from managing the business finances, acting as General Counsel and running the day-to-day operations of the firm, to personally managing projects and advocating for his clients.
True to form, in 2009, Jerry passed the torch to a young leader at Huckabee and focused on a new role as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. An exceptional planner with a strategic mind and incredible foresight, he had seen challenges ahead of the 2008 recession and was instrumental in moving Huckabee into a strong financial position. As a result of his leadership, Huckabee flourished as most A/E firms struggled during the downturn. Instead of laying off staff, we grew and continued to grow, opening offices across the state, increasing our market share and increasing staff by over 85 percent. He led the firm through the most prosperous growth curve in our history.
Jerry was recognized for his outstanding leadership in 2011 when he was named CFO of the Year by the Fort Worth Business Press. His leadership also led Huckabee to be nationally recognized for six consecutive years as a Hot Firm for consistent revenue growth and ranked as a top design firm by industry organizations year after year.
After nearly 40 years in the business, Jerry’s professional achievements are impressive, but for those who knew him or worked with him, he was so much more than a list of accomplishments.
A mentor, champion and friend – A legacy of love
Jerry greeted his colleagues every day with a resounding “good morning!” You could hear it bellow across the office, announcing his presence. He always said, “there’s no substitution for enthusiasm,” and he demonstrated this daily to each of us – even in a simple greeting.
He was a wise coach and mentor to many. He believed one of his key roles as a leader was to mentor future leaders, create opportunity for others and support them each step of the way. He guided our team with wisdom, strength and candor. Jerry coined “Collective Wisdom” at Huckabee, which today is a hallmark strength of our team. He believed we are stronger together than we are individually, and he established and engrained this way of thinking into the fabric and culture of our firm.
Jerry was a man of great discipline and focus. No matter your tenure at Huckabee, you knew the “10:30 rule.” Jerry began his day at 6:00 am and focused quietly in his office on daily tasks until 10:30, asking not to be interrupted during this time. He believed preparation was the key to success, and attention to detail was the path to excellence.
He was a man of passionate conviction. Jerry believed you should shine your shoes because they represented a person’s character. He believed eating alone was a missed opportunity to build relationships. He believed you should surround yourself with people who don’t always agree with you, but challenge you to be better. He believed in taking care of others’ checkbooks – whether it was Huckabee’s or our clients’ – like they were his own.
Jerry was a servant leader. He believed in giving back to his community and volunteered countless hours to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, Junior Achievement and The Red Cross. An unwavering Husker fan, he served on an advisory board at his alma mater and was asked last year to give the commencement address. He was also elected to the Georgetown City Council, where he worked to make lasting improvements to the city he loved. He was a person of action and encouraged others to get involved. He didn’t talk about it, he did it. If he didn’t like it, he changed it. If he believed in it, he brought it to fruition. He made a difference.
Lastly and most importantly, Jerry was a family man. A husband to Vickie for 43 years and father to two amazing children, Greg and Lindsey and their spouses, Lacey and Aaron, Jerry’s eyes would light up whenever he talked about his family. He became a grandfather seven years ago and since that time, has welcomed five more grandchildren to “Papa J’s” house and heart. His office was proudly lined with pictures of his family and artwork from his grandkids. He loved to share the latest photos he had on his phone and loved to see family photos on ours. Just like his own, Jerry loved his Huckabee family the same. He showed this best by continually investing in others and growing them in areas needed to push the firm forward. He was very much a proud father in recent days as he watched a capable and talented team take flight.
An incredible man, an incredible life – A legacy that will live on
We got a call early Saturday morning, June 17, letting us know that Jerry was gone. I sat down to craft a statement to the Huckabee team and our business partners about the unspeakably difficult news of Jerry’s passing.
It is with great sadness we must share with you that Jerry Hammerlun passed away on Saturday morning
I stared at my computer screen, my finger hovering over the period. I couldn’t press it. I couldn’t hit the period. That made it real. This couldn’t possibly be real. I couldn’t end the sentence – end his story.
As I reflected on this moment and on his life, it became clear what he would want me to say to everyone reading this today. And so, I will pick up where I left off…
It is with great sadness we must share with you that Jerry Hammerlun passed away on Saturday morning; the Huckabee team is heartbroken but united in resolve to honor the legacy of this incredible man and to move forward, serving each other like he served us – with integrity, focus and enthusiasm.
There is no need for a period. Instead, I honor Jerry with a semicolon because this isn’t the end of his story. I will keep it going. Huckabee will keep it going. We are heartbroken by this irreplaceable loss but will continue to work hard, chase excellence, stay focused and disciplined, love what we do and who we get to do it with – enthusiastically, in his honor.
Remembering Jerry Hammerlun
Services to remember and celebrate the life of Jerry Hammerlun will be held on Friday, June 23 at 2:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church at 703 South Church Street in Georgetown, Texas. A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 22 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Ramsey Funeral Home at 5600 Williams Drive in Georgetown, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Georgetown Education Foundation.