Jon F. Hanson
Businessman, civic leader
Born: December 13, 1936, in Hackensack, New Jersey
Grew up in: Bogota, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2017: Enterprise

Real estate is in Jon Hanson’s blood. Four generations of his family have been in the business for more than 100 years. But Hanson’s achievements go far beyond real-estate investing.

Hanson grew up in Bogota and attended the Peddie School in Hightstown. An active youth, he played football, basketball and baseball. After earning a degree in political science at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, Hanson joined the family real-estate business in 1959. His father, James E. Hanson, had founded the company in 1955 in Newark. The firm became a pioneer in developing industrial parks and shopping centers in New Jersey and elsewhere.

After almost two decades of working alongside his father, Hanson launched Hampshire Companies in 1976. Hampshire began as a regional developer with a focus on New Jersey and a goal of building and purchasing shopping centers, warehouses and garden apartments. Over time, the company grew into a national developer and real-estate operator, and an investment-fund manager.

Hanson continues to serve as chairman of Hampshire Companies. His sons, James E. and Jeffrey B., serve the company as CEO and executive vice president, respectively. Reflecting on his long career, Hanson says his proudest achievement was the development of the 1,000-room Hyatt Regency, in Washington, D.C., which opened in 1976.

Among Hanson’s other affiliations, he was appointed as a director of Prudential Insurance in April 1991, and was elected a director of Prudential Financial in January 2001. Other directorships include HealthSouth Corporation and Pascack Community Bank. From 1982-1994, Hanson served as the chairman and commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. In that role, he helped bring the pro-football Jets to New Jersey. He later served under Governor Chris Christie as head of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission.

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