Happy Retirement to Graham Gillespie!

MariaHOLT News

Please join us in wishing HOLT’s Graham Gillespie a Happy Retirement!

Graham Gillespie, a valued member and a pillar of the HOLT Architects team for nearly four decades, has recently announced his retirement.

Graham started his career at HOLT in 1981 after graduating from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art & Planning, beginning as a designer and working his way up through virtually every position to HOLT’s President, a position he held for the past eight years. During Graham’s leadership, HOLT has grown over 60%, opened a new office in Syracuse, renovated and relocated the Ithaca office to a new Net-Zero Energy building, built a network of work-from-home employees from Watertown, to Rochester, to the Carolinas, and helped countless clients realize their dreams and create a lasting and positive impact through innovative and sustainable building design. During his tenure, HOLT was also awarded the Tompkins County Chamber’s Distinguished Business of the Year for 2019, was named a “Best Places to Work” eight consecutive times by the CNY Business Journal, and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013.

Inside the office Graham helped create a team-oriented work environment for HOLT employees by promoting creativity and professional development, supporting work-life balance, and encouraging employees giving back to the communities in which they live – something he modeled through his own continual volunteerism and community involvement.

Compilation of images depicting Graham Gillespie's 39 year career at HOLT Architects

Graham is most recently known for the community projects he has done in Ithaca such as Library Place, Tompkins County Legislature Relocation, and the Center Ithaca Adaptive Reuse, but he also but spent many years of his career designing countless educational and healthcare projects for clients throughout New York State such as Clarkson University, Colgate University, Rome Memorial Hospital and Auburn Community Hospital.

Graham’s retirement has been planned for some time, with his initial intent to fully retire and move to South Carolina with his wife Debby in early April 2020. With the coronavirus outbreak and shutdown, Graham stayed in town with HOLT for a few extra months and was introduced to virtual work. Being able to efficiently lead his teams while working remotely from his home in Ithaca, Graham realized he could do the same from South Carolina – which is where he is today.

While Graham slowly retires in warmer climates, he will stay connected to HOLT and his colleagues, manage smaller project teams, and help the firm continue to grow its quality and mentorship procedures. Graham has worked alongside fellow HOLT principals Paul Levesque, Steve Hugo, and Quay Thompson for many years and is confident about what the future brings with the three continuing principals at the helm.

Graham, your retirement is well-deserved, you have been an incredible leader, friend, mentor, and architect. Thank you for all that you have done over the years and for helping HOLT Architects become the caring, creative, high-quality, and innovative firm that it is today! Click here to congratulate Graham!

Compilation of images showcasing the length of Graham Gillespie's career at HOLT

Throughout Graham’s career at HOLT, he not only saw the architecture world change from mechanical pencils, t-squares, and drafting templates to a completely electronic cloud-based 3-D platform, he also witnessed the administrations of six U.S. presidents and three Popes, MTV’s debut, Rubik’s Cube and Pac-Man, the unveiling of Chrysler’s mini-van, the introduction of Apple’s Macintosh personal computer, the creation of the WorldWideWeb, Michael Jackson’s first moonwalk, the fall of the Berlin Wall, appointment of Sandra Day O’Connor, the Dow Jones hitting 2,000 for the first time, end of apartheid in South Africa, the introduction of the flat screen TV, Grunge, Y2K, the launch of the Space Shuttle program, the fall of the World Trade Center in NYC, the introduction of Facebook, Barack Obama elected President, and Occupy Wall Street. The world has changed quite a bit since 1981 and we are fortunate to have Graham remind us of the history, events and people that helped shaped HOLT into who we are today.