05.15.2014J. Vinton Schafer & Sons Initiates Leadership Transition

ABINGDON, MD (May 12, 2014) – J. Vinton Schafer & Sons, Inc., a Quandel Enterprises Company, announced today that Ronald E. Knowles, P.E., who has served as president of the firm for 20 years, has transitioned to chairman and CEO, and the company has appointed Warren L. Hamilton as its new president.

Knowles will serve as chairman and CEO until September 2015. He will retire from the firm at that time.

“For our customers, these changes will be seamless. Great work and great service have defined our organization, and that will continue under Warren’s leadership,” Knowles said. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of planning and preparation. It’s just another step in the process of aligning Schafer for future success.”

Hamilton’s passion for the business and his diverse experience made him the obvious choice to become Schafer’s next president, according to Knowles.

“Warren has worked in more roles within our company than anyone else,” Knowles said. “He came into Schafer on the operations side and has had hands-on experience across the entire breadth of our organization. He is uniquely qualified to lead Schafer and grow it for future J. F.”

Hamilton joined Schafer in 1980. Over the course of his 34 years with the company, he worked as a project manager and then organized the firm’s business development efforts.  Most recently, he was a senior vice president and business development manager.

“When someone asks me, ‘what are you going to do as the new president of Schafer,’ I reply ‘more of the same,’” Hamilton said. “We’re going to stay true to the same guiding principles that have made Shafer a successful company. Integrity, reliability, quality and customer focus will continue to define how we go about our business.”

“Our customers can rest assured Schafer will remain entrepreneurial and continue to evolve as an industry leader, just as we always have,” Hamilton emphasized. “We’ll continue to leverage new technologies. We’ll innovate to ensure excellence in our work and in the way we service our customers, and we’ll invest in continuing education so our employees bring the latest expertise in construction trends and regulatory compliance to every one of our projects.”

Knowles began gradually transitioning leadership responsibilities to Hamilton and other Schafer executives as part of a carefully orchestrated succession plan that the company’s leadership team began developing eight years ago.

“When I became a sole proprietor of Schafer 10 years ago, I started thinking about my future and my eventual retirement.  I wanted to create a smooth transition. We have a strong core group of people here, and I wanted to make them part of planning this transition,” Knowles said. “We invested a great deal of time in succession planning and executing that plan. It has paid off with a seamless transition for our employees and our customers.”

The success of Schafer’s leadership transition puts the finishing touches on Knowles’ highly successful career with the company.

Knowles joined Schafer in 1977 as a third-generation descendent of J. Vinton Schafer, who founded the firm in 1919. Knowles’ father, James M. “Jim” Knowles, also served as chairman of Schafer’s board of directors from 1964 to 1992.

Over the past 37 years with Schafer, Ron Knowles advanced from assistant operations manager to operations manager. He became president of Schafer in 1994.

Among his achievements as president, Knowles transformed Schafer from a general contracting company to one of the largest construction management firms in Maryland. He focused Schafer on quality work and an ability to execute complex projects.

Under Knowles’ leadership the company completed many high-profile projects throughout the region, including the American Visionary Art Museum, University of Maryland’s School of Journalism and Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Acute Care Center Hospital Pavilion North.

“Today, we’re working with sophisticated construction clients with complex needs. Universities, hospitals, school systems; clients that rely on us to help guide their capital improvement programs,” Hamilton said. “It is an exciting time in our organization. Ron has put us in a strong position to move forward.”



J. Vinton Schafer & Sons of Abingdon, MD, is a full-service construction management firm. Founded 95 years ago, Schafer provides predesign, design, pre-construction and post-construction services on comprehensive projects throughout Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania. The company has completed a diverse range of private- and public-sector projects and has specialized expertise in education and healthcare. Schafer is owned by Quandel Enterprises headquartered in Harrisburg, PA. Quandel was established in 1882 and today is one of the largest construction and construction management companies in the US.