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McGill’s Founder, Gary McGill: A Visionary Leader Who Built a Legacy of Service


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40 years ago, in January of 1984, Gary McGill set out to establish McGill Associates, PA (McGill) in Asheville, North Carolina, an engineering company with a firm resolve to provide high-quality, timely services to improve the lives of individuals in the communities we serve. Starting with a focus on civil and water / wastewater engineering services, under Gary’s leadership McGill quickly garnered a reputation for excellence, resulting in the expansion of our services and clientele.

McGill Utilities Operations Specialist Buddy Edmisten said, “Gary was a good engineer – a great engineer. He had this gift to go to a city council or a public meeting and explain to people what McGill was trying to do in terms that they understood.”


From the outset, Gary prioritized a strong commitment to building lasting relationships with our clients. As the demand for our services grew, so did the need to expand our team and resources. Gary’s belief in the importance of investing in our people and fostering a company culture built on trust and collaboration was evident as the firm continued to flourish.

In 1995, McGill opened our second office in Eastern Tennessee, setting the stage for further expansion in North Carolina and Virginia. His dedication to serving a diverse client base and providing comprehensive engineering and support services continued to drive the firm’s growth and success.

“Gary McGill was one of a kind. When I came to work with Gary, I was the 10th McGill employee. He cared for clients. He was always there to answer their questions and take responsibility,” said McGill Vice President Keith Webb.

“Gary cared about the success of the firm, but he also cared about the employees.”


Perhaps even more remarkable than the company’s expansion was Gary’s commitment to ensuring that the firm remained in the hands of its dedicated staff members. The transition of ownership from Gary to a group of employees in 1999 stands as a testament to his belief in the importance of keeping the company within the close-knit McGill family.

“In my opinion, Gary McGill was not driven solely by money. It wasn’t always about how much profit he could make, and I think that attitude is what allowed myself and seven others to purchase the company from him in 1999 at a reasonable price – and for us 8 owners to then set up a model so others could have that same opportunity in the future,” said Keith.


Joel Storrow, McGill Principal and Past President, reflected on the challenge of succeeding Gary McGill as President, emphasizing the importance of staying true to the values and vision laid out by the company’s founder. He added, “He made sure to keep the employees engaged and made it fun for everybody, and I aimed to continue that legacy.”

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Gary McGill’s legacy as a visionary leader with a deep commitment to his employees and clients has left an indelible mark on McGill, shaping it into the successful, community-focused firm it is today. His dedication to building a company that prioritizes service and relationships has not only benefited the immediate staff and clients but has also set a precedent for future generations of McGill leaders.


As McGill celebrates our 40th anniversary, the enduring legacy of Gary McGill continues to inspire and guide the firm’s dedication to shaping communities together. The visionary leader’s impact lives on, reminding us of the power of strong values, unwavering dedication, and a heart for service.


Click here to read more about McGill’s history, and the principles that we were founded on.

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