Mr. Adams received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Texas A&M University in 1962. After graduation, he worked in Washington, DC for John Carl Warnecke & Associates, where he worked with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy on several important projects. He was later the project manager for the President's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery. He joined RTKL in 1967 and became President in 1968, CEO in 1971, and Chairman in 1987.
Mr. Adams retired in May of 2004 and is Chairman Emeritus of RTKL Associates, Inc. and RTKL International Ltd., one of the world's largest multi-disciplinary design firms. Under his 37-year leadership the firm developed into an international practice with 10 offices in the United States, and offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Madrid, with a reputation for design and management strength. Mr. Adams' contribution to the architectural profession at the international, national, state, and local levels were recognized in 1983 when he was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In 1997, Mr. Adams was the recipient of the Kemper Medal, one of AIA's highest honors for leadership in the profession. He was also honored by the Society of American Military Engineers with the first Max 0. Urbahn Medal for achievement in architecture. Mr. Adams was one of the first Americans to hold a "first class Kenchikushi" (architecture) license, awarded by Japan's Ministry of Construction, and is a licensed architect in the United Kingdom. While he was actively in practice, Mr. Adams was licensed in 44 states, and he is still active in six states. He served as Chancellor of the AIA College of Fellows from 1997 to 1998, and founded and chaired for 17 years the AIA's Large Firm Round Table. Mr. Adams is also active in business, arts, education and civic organizations, as Chairman of the Board of Regents of the American Architectural Foundation, and Chairman and Trustee of the National Building Museum. Mr. Adams founded and has served for 30 years as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center Institute; Chairman of the board of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Chairman of the Design-Build Institute of America; Commissioner of the Maryland Economic Development Commission; and is Chairman of the Governor's International Advisory Council. Mr. Adams served as a director of Legg Mason Inc. (LM) for 27 years where he was Chairman of the Compensation Committee and served on the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and chaired the search Committee for the CEO. Mr. Adams was the Lead Director of Lincoln Electrical Holdings, Inc. (LECO), 2001 to 2014, and served as Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee for 12 years and was a member of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Adams was a director of Commercial Metals Company (CMC) for 10 years, where he served on the Audit Committee and Corporate Governance and Nomination Committee; and was a director of Dewberry, an Engineering and Architecture firm. In 2014, Mr. Adams was selected as a Texas A&M University Institute of Advanced Study (TIAS), now the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow. He spent much of Fall 2014, Spring and Fall 2015 in Bryan/College Station as an Eminent Scholar in Residence and Visiting Professor in the College of Architecture. Mr. Adams was honored as a College of Architecture Outstanding Alumni in 1998, a Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumni in 2011 and Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2019. In Fall 2018, Mr. Adams joined the College of Architecture Dean’s Office as Director of Strategic Planning and Global Outreach and Professor of Practice. Mr. Adams and his wife of 56 years, Janice, have four children and 11 grandchildren and reside in both Baltimore, Maryland and "Traditions" in Bryan, Texas.