- Shonda Novak American-Statesman Staff
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has bestowed its highest honor on Bobby Jenkins, naming the longtime business owner “Austinite of the Year” for 2017.
Over the past 30 years, Jenkins has built a distinguished record of civic, community and volunteer service, chamber officials said. He is owner and CEO of ABC Home & Commercial Services, which employs 730 people in areas including pest and termite control, lawn care, landscaping and irrigation, air conditioning and heating, plumbing and electrical services and more. The company has offices in Austin, San Antonio, College Station and Corpus Christi.
“Giving back and being involved in Central Texas has always been a high priority for me and ABC,” Jenkins said in an email. “Central Texas is such a special place and working to help make our community stronger and better for all is very important to me and my family.”
In a written statement, Ellen Wood, the chamber’s chairperson, called Jenkins “an authentic Austin treasure.”
“He’s an exemplary business leader who truly cares about our community and prioritizes giving back,” Wood said. “Bobby also leads through personal example, often rallying others around a wide variety of issues that are good for Central Texas. He embodies the philosophy that ‘good community is good business.’”
Jenkins is scheduled to receive his award at the chamber’s annual meeting Feb. 6.
Jenkins, a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in business administration, is often sought out to lead and provide guidance to boards, committees and volunteer efforts, the chamber said. Most recently, he supplied emergency resources to save the Zilker Kite Festival, a popular annual Austin tradition for 88 years.
Jenkins is the co-founder and board chairman of Recognize Good, and a past chairman and board member of Austin Gives. Additionally, he is a past chairman of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and Caritas of Austin.
He also has served on the board of United Way of Austin, and is a past chairman of the Austin American Heart Association.
“I firmly believe it is good business for all businesses to be leaders in philanthropy,” Jenkins said. “There is tremendous benefit for so many people when business takes a leadership role in giving back. The community wins and the business wins both internally and externally.”
In 2014, Jenkins and his family created the Moss Pieratt Foundation after losing 1-year-old grandson John “Moss” Pieratt Jr. to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. This past summer, Jenkins and his two brothers held a national fundraiser to raise awareness to the cause by riding bikes over 52 days and 3,500 miles from Seattle to New York. The trip also helped raise funds for A Child’s Hope, which is helping hundreds of orphaned or abandoned children in Haiti.
In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Jenkins chairman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Jenkins also is a past chairman the Better Business Bureau, and just went off its board this year. He also is a past chair and current board member of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse and the Alzheimer’s Association.
At his alma mater, he currently serves on the Agricultural Development Council and the Mays Business School Development Council.