John has been serving his community and country the majority of his life through various positions.
- 35 years as a proud Virginian
- 4 years on active duty in the Marine Corps
- 22 years in the Marine Corps Reserve
- 4 years as Chairman of Rappahannock County School Board
- 4 years on the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors
- 20 years supporting fellow veterans through work with various nonprofits and state boards
- 34 years in commercial real estate growing the Virginia economy
- 12 years helping to bring major companies and job opportunities to the I-81 Corridor
- Over the last 15 years, John's family has raised 5 dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Canine Companions for Independence, and Veterans Moving Forward
Learn more about John
Click on each section below to read more about John's family,
leadership experience, military and community service.
John is the grandson of Polish immigrants who settled in Detroit. John’s father was the first in his family to attend college and met John’s mother while they both worked at Chrysler. The job took them out west where his father later left the car business to become a teacher. John grew up on the West Coast and worked in the fruit orchards of the Santa Clara Valley, had a paper route, cooked and washed dishes in area restaurants, and was a bellman at the local Marriott.
He left the west coast to report to Marine Officer Candidate Training in Quantico, VA after graduating from Santa Clara University in 1980.
John and his wife Heidi have been married for 24 years and have two children, Dan and Emily. They have lived in Washington, Virginia since 2007 and have two dogs, Truman and Theo, and a rambunctious cat, Boo Radley.
John spent four years on active duty with the Marines, ending in 1985 as a Public Affairs Officer with the Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC. He continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve in civil affairs and intelligence billets for another 22 years and was called to active duty in January of 2003 in support of the Global War on Terror. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he served as the Marine Corps representative in a Joint Intelligence Activity Task Force. He retired from the Reserve in 2006 as a full colonel.
John continued to serve his fellow veterans by raising service dogs for Veterans Moving Forward and fundraising for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. In 2014, he was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to the Veterans Services Foundation Board and in 2018 by Governor Northam to the Board of Veterans Services. He continues to serve on both boards today.
John has been a commercial real estate broker since settling in Virginia in 1985. In 2007, John started his own company, the Leland Group, and refocused his efforts on industrial properties in the northern Shenandoah Valley, including the markets of Harrisonburg, Front Royal, and Winchester along the I-81 Corridor. John folded the business into Colliers International in 2014, where he continues his work in commercial brokerage with a focus on warehouse and manufacturing buildings.
John has helped to bring major companies to the I-81 Corridor such as Procter & Gamble, Fiat Chrysler, Home Depot, Rubbermaid, PlyGem, and Ecolab, creating hundreds of jobs for the area. John continues to coordinate with state and local economic development authorities to bring more manufacturing and e-commerce distribution jobs to the Commonwealth.
John grew up in an educator’s household: his father was a high school government and American history teacher, and his mother was the executive assistant to a university president. John graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Commerce, and while in the Marine Corps Reserve, he earned a Masters of Science in Strategic Intelligence in 2004 from the Joint Military Intelligence College.
In 2009, John got involved with Headwaters, the private endowment for public education in Rappahannock County, and the Child Care and Learning Center, a local preschool. John has been a trustee at the Center for Public Service and Scholarship at Shenandoah University in Winchester since 2013. He is also on the board of the Rappahannock Center for Education, which established the county’s adult education program. In addition to adult education, John was instrumental in bringing Valley Health Systems to the center in a collaborative effort to teach health sciences to local high school students including a Certified Nurse Assistant program.
In 2011, John was elected to the Rappahannock County School Board and served as chairman throughout his entire four year term. During his term the school district improved from non-accredited to fully accredited at both its elementary and high school levels.
In 2015, John successfully ran for the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors in the Hampton District where he continues to serve today. During his term, John has served on the Public Safety Committee, the Community Management Policy Team, the Rappahannock Rapidan River Basin Commission, and the Planning Commission.
John has been the chairman of the Rappahannock County Broadband Commission since its inception in 2017 and has worked diligently with county administration and citizen committee members to address the difficult challenge of bringing internet and cell service to his rural community.
In 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed John to the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation (VSF). The VSF is an independent state agency that supports veterans and their families through the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. These programs and resources include Virginia Veteran Family Services (formerly the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program), Virginia Care Centers for elderly vets, Virginia Veterans Cemeteries, and veteran education, training and employment programs to assist those on active duty in transitioning to the private sector. John currently serves as its development committee chair.
In 2018, Governor Ralph Northam appointed John to the Board of Veterans Services (BVS). BVS monitors the welfare of Virginia’s veterans and sets policies to enhance veteran services across the Commonwealth. The board oversees numerous Virginia benefits offices throughout the Commonwealth and provides direction to the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
John proudly continues to serve on both of these boards.
John has served on the board of the Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal, Virginia and continues to serve on its Foundation Board. He also serves on the Finance and Real Estate Committee of the larger Valley Health System Board. This committee oversees the budget and finances of the hospital system and approves and monitors all physical assets including hospitals, urgent care centers, and supporting facilities.
His involvement at the board level with Valley Health has given him a unique perspective on rural healthcare and has opened his eyes to the many challenges our rural hospitals face in the ever-changing government approach to healthcare. John knows that solid fiscal management and strategic planning are the keys to success and longevity. He also understands that sound government policy, developed through experience and not politics, will make or break our healthcare system.