JAMESTOWN, N.C. – James (Jim) C. Leonard III, who spent 34 years at Burlington Industries and later served as deputy assistant secretary for Textiles, Apparel and Consumer Goods in the U. S. Department of Commerce, died on December 25 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 78.
At Burlington, Leonard served in various positions and rose to manager of economic analysis and manager of Burlington’s lobbying office in Washington, D.C. For about 20 of those years, Jim was an advisor to the U.S. government, dealing with textile/apparel trade agreements with many foreign countries.
In 2001, he was asked to come to Washington as a government employee to run the committee he had been an advisor to for 20 years. He was then nominated by President George W. Bush to be deputy assistant secretary of commerce, a position he held from 2002 to 2006. His last year in Washington, he was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal regarding his responsibilities at the US Department of Commerce.
After he returned home, Leonard served as a consultant to N.C. State’s College of Textiles and the N.C. Department of Commerce. He also partnered with International Market Solutions of Greensboro, N.C., on various projects.
Leonard graduated from N.C. State and later was commissioned an officer in the Army Signal Corps. He and another lieutenant were selected to lead the advanced party to Thailand to work with and train the Thai army on the use of long-range communication equipment.