J. M. Jenkins IV
The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in October 2011.
J. M. “Mike” Jenkins IV was born in Montgomery in 1942. He graduated from Lanier High School in 1960 and then attended Washington and Lee University, where he earned a B.A. in political science in 1964. After graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served near the DMZ in Korea for thirteen months with the First Cavalry Division and the Second Infantry Division, finishing his service as a first lieutenant. After his honorable discharge, he joined his family’s brick business and subsequently attended graduate school at Clemson, receiving his M.A. in ceramic engineering in 1969.
Under his leadership, Jenkins Brick Company developed into a major national manufacturer of brick and also built up a network of retail outlets across the southeastern United States, selling brick, stone, ceramic tile, and other ceramic construction material. At its peak in 2007, Jenkins Brick was one of the largest brick manufacturers and distributors in the U.S. The company employed a revolutionary production system using landfill gasses to help fire brick, in the process removing methane (a greenhouse gas) from the environment and reducing the company’s dependence on other energy sources. Jenkins Brick received national recognition, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Project of the Year Award and twice as Alabama’s Air Conservationist of the Year for its innovations and quality of its products. In 2011, Jenkins and his family sold the company to Acme Brick, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, in part to secure long-term financial support that would provide the best continued job protection for their employees.
Jenkins was an active leader in professional and civic organizations, serving as national chairman of the Brick Industry Association, director of the Business Council of Alabama, trustee of the Southern Research Institute, co-founder and chairman of the steering committee of Leadership Montgomery,
co-founder and past chairman of Leadership Alabama, and chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. He served on several foundations and boards, among them the Alabama Archives and History Foundation, The Montgomery Academy, Alabama State University Foundation, and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church Foundation. Jenkins was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, one being his induction into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2009.
Jenkins and his wife, Kent, enjoyed traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Jenkins died on March 27, 2021.