Preston Haskell

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Preston Haskell
Born (1938-10-15) October 15, 1938 (age 80)
ResidenceMorven Terrace
EducationBachelor of Civil Engineering
Master of Architectural engineering
Alma materPrinceton University
Harvard Business School
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
OccupationFounder of The Haskell Company
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Joan Elizabeth (Née Smith)
ChildrenPreston Haskell, IV
Sally Haskell
Rushton Haskell
Parent(s)Preston Hampton Haskell Jr. and Mary Wyatt Rushton

Preston Hampton Haskell, III is founder and chairman of The Haskell Company, the largest privately held construction company in Florida[1] and a top design/build firm in the United States.[2] He was also a minority owner of the National Football League Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2011, he was named a "Florida Icon" by Florida Trend magazine.[3]


Haskell was born in October, 1938 into a prominent family in Birmingham, Alabama. His parents were Preston Hampton Haskell Jr. and Mary Wyatt Rushton.[4] When he was young, he was fascinated by building construction, and enjoyed looking at how structures were put together.[3] He graduated with the second graduating class in 1956 from Indian Springs School in Shelby County, Alabama;[5] attended Princeton University and earned a Civil engineering degree with honors in 1960; received an MBA with distinction from Harvard in 1962 and continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Building Engineering and Construction.[6][7]


When Haskell left MIT, he settled in Jacksonville, Florida and was employed by the S. S. Jacobs Company. Developer James Winston encouraged Haskell to break out on his own and gave the Preston H. Haskell Company their first project in 1965. The company successfully designed and built a $1 million apartment complex at Atlantic Beach and developed a reputation for quality work on time and within budget.[8]

During the 1950s, the American Institute of Architects in Florida was a powerful and prestigious organization. They would not allow AIA members to be employed by a contractor who offered design/build services, which made architect recruitment more difficult.[3] The company's name was shortened to The Haskell Company in 1978, when a new logo was unveiled and the phrase, "Architects/Engineers/Contractors" was added. Describing the tagline as "significant", Preston Haskell stated:

This was the first time the company was identified as an integrated, in-house design-build firm practicing all three disciplines. It coincided with enactment by the Florida Legislature of legislation allowing the practice of architecture by a corporation.[8]

Throughout his entire career, Haskell used and promoted the integrated Design-Build method of construction, but faced widespread opposition to what was classified as a non-traditional method. He took an active leadership role in the construction industry as the founding chairman of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). He also served as a director of the Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation (now a subgroup of the American Society of Civil Engineers).[6][9]

Haskell met Steve Halverson through their mutual affiliation with DBIA, and was so impressed by him that he hired Halverson in 1999 to be his successor as President and CEO of The Haskell Company. Preston Haskell remained Chairman, but the operation of the firm was turned over to Halverson, who increased revenue by 74% during his first eight years. According to Preston Haskell: "He's doing awfully well. He's a big improvement over his predecessor."[10] The company has expanded their scope to include all of the Western Hemisphere.

Preston Haskell was honored with the Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 from the DBIA.[9]

Service to the community[edit]

Haskell has served as chairman of the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art and former chairman of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville. He frequently loans items from his personal collection to institutions for display.[6]

He is also a former trustee of Princeton University, chairman of the Alliance for World Class Education, director and former chairman of the Schultz Center for Teaching & Leadership and former chairman of the Florida Postsecondary Education Commission.[6]

He served terms as director of Baptist Medical Center and Baptist Health, former chairman of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, former chairman of the Jacksonville Electric Authority, former chairman of the United Way of Northeast Florida, former chairman of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and former chairman of the Florida Government Accountability to the People Commission.[6]

Since its founding in 1993, he was a member of the Jacksonville Non-Group, which evolved into the Jacksonville Civic Council.[11]


While in school, Haskell met Joan Elizabeth Smith, whom he later married and with whom he shares three children: Preston IV, Sally and Rushton. Haskell is an avid art collector; his primary interest is 1940-50s Abstract expressionism and some Minimalism. He owns originals by Hoffman, Kline, Motherwell and Rothko.[3] The Haskell family has traveled extensively around the world. His son, Preston Haskell, IV moved to Moscow in 1992 to start the Haskell International Group, which began with real estate investment and property management but also operates restaurants and manufactures furniture;[12] Haskell Vineyards was created after the 23 hectare (56.8 acre) Dombeya wine farm in Stellenbosch, South Africa was purchased in 2002.[13]


  1. ^ Keller, Amy: [1] Florida Trend, September 1, 2008-Florida Companies With Promise
  2. ^ Hoovers: company profile
  3. ^ a b c d Barnett, Cynthia. "Florida Icon: Preston Haskell". July 11, 2011. Florida Trend. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  4. ^ Mary Gowen
  5. ^ ZoomInfo: Preston Haskell III
  6. ^ a b c d e Harvard Business School Club of Jacksonville: Featured Member-Preston Haskell, MBA 1962
  7. ^ Haver-Allen, Ann: [2] Princeton University E-Quad News, Fall 1999 - Art a passion for engineer
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-01-12. Retrieved 2009-03-04. Tilt-up Concrete Association, September 26, 2005 - Haskell Changes Logo, Shortens Name to Mark 40 Years
  9. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2009-02-25. Design-Build Institute of America, 2002 Awards - Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award Preston Haskell
  10. ^ Conte, Christian: [3] Jacksonville Business Journal, June 13, 2008 - Halverson has grown Haskell's revenue, reputation
  11. ^ Harding, Abel (March 5, 2010). "Group disbands, launches Jacksonville Civic Council". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  12. ^ Barton, Susanna: [4] Jacksonville Business Journal, September 26, 1997 - Haskell IV makes mark in Moscow
  13. ^ Ortega, John: [5] Passport Moscow magazine, January, 2007 - Haskell Vineyards

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