Executive Team

Edward R. James

Edward R. James

Chairman

Ed began his career in real estate in 1957 when he joined his father’s business, which focused primarily on the development of rental apartment buildings. When his father died in 1958, Ed and his brother, Ken, took over his business and added for sale housing to their development portfolio. This included empty nester apartments, high rise buildings and golf course planned unit developments in the Chicago area, later expanding into Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Ed is a past Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a Governor of the Urban Land Foundation. In 2001 he was awarded the ULI Chicago District Council Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a member of Lambda Alpha International Honorary Professional Land Economics Fraternity and a member of the Chicago and National Homebuilders Associations. Outside affiliations include Past President of the Western Golf Association, Chairman of Michigan State University Foundation, National Trustee of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Vice Chairman of the Presbyterian Homes. Ed is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Commercial Club of Chicago.

Jerry S. James

Jerry S. James

President

Jerry began his career in real estate as a lender for Continental Illinois National Bank’s real estate department. In 1985, he joined the family business and has since spearheaded the land acquisition, planning, entitlement, and financing for nearly 2,000 residential units and approximately $1B of residential and mixed-use planned developments. In 2010, he assumed the role of president for all of the company’s operating entities, successfully guiding the company through the great recession, and working with his team to forge new alliances that have allowed Edward R. James to emerge as one of leading builders in the Chicago market as of 2015.

His business affiliations include the Urban Land Institute and the Lambda Alpha International Honorary Professional Land Economics Fraternity.

Jerry’s civic involvement includes former roles as a director of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, chairman of the Merit School of Music, chairman of the Young Leaders Group of the Chicago Community Trust, and a ’93/94 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.

While receiving his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Jerry attended the London School of Economics for a fellowship abroad. He later received an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Sheri Zentner

Controller

A CPA with over two decades on the job, Sheri gives Edward R. James a level of financial management expertise that few developers can match. Prior to joining us, she earned her accounting degree from DePaul University and worked 8 years in public accounting for a local mid-sized accounting firm, gaining in-depth experience in financial reporting, tax accounting, audits, government reporting, business valuations, due diligence work, and asset sales.

Since joining Edward R. James in 1993, Sheri has played a key role in all phases of accounting and financial management. She oversees the organization’s day-to-day operations and manages several company-owned commercial properties, providing traditional accounting functions as well as negotiating and administering commercial leases, obtaining mortgages, property management, and contracting with vendors.

Laura Sordo

Director of Construction Services

Laura brings a wealth of experience to Edward R. James Homes. Prior to joining the company, her career spanned 27 years in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry where she held a variety of positions in factory & distribution based operations and corporate headquarter roles. She began her career as a plant project engineer for Quaker Oats. In 1990, she joined Kraft Foods where she took on assignments with increasing responsibility in the areas of project engineering, logistics systems, manufacturing engineering, and supply chain management. Experiences in these roles shaped her leadership, handling complexity, problem solving, and business process improvement skills. Ultimately, she became a key player in highly visible strategic initiatives such as the company split and SAP enterprise resource planning software implementation.

Laura joined Edward R. James Homes in 2016 and also brings a unique perspective from being on the customer side of the table. She has seamlessly transitioned into the residential building business and is adding value to the management of purchasing, construction, financial, and systems facets of the company’s operations. In her current role, she is responsible for ensuring our teams deliver your home within the committed timeline and at the highest level of quality and service that our reputation is built upon.

Laura earned her B.S degree in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University, and her MBA in Finance & Operations Management from the Stern School of Business at New York University

Jennifar Evans

Director of Design Services

Jennifar started with Edward R James homes early in 2001 as a Design Coordinator. She quickly proved her abilities and became a lead Designer taking on the more detailed homes. In 2005 she was charged with overseeing the Design staff and Design Center. She attended the University of Texas for Interior Design & Architecture then added to her knowledge base by getting her Construction Management Certification through NIU and becoming a licensed Real Estate Broker. Jennifar’s current responsibilities include designing and furnishing our sales offices, models and design centers, working with clients on selections for their new homes, working closely with our vendors to offer the best products for homeowners, reviewing the architectural design and layouts of new home plans, reviewing the landscape design and materials for each community, developing the standard inclusions and available options for each community, and overseeing the design staff. Over the past 19 years Jennifar has had the privilege to work with hundreds of homeowners to create the space that they now call home. She looks forward to helping create the home that is perfect for you.