Gary DeVries, the composed and smiling face of BRW’s Dallas Civic Studio, announced his retirement earlier this month. Gary is well known for setting meticulous agendas and following them to the letter, so it is no surprise to learn that this has been in the works for a while. It was always his plan to retire before his 65th birthday. He’ll blow the candles out on that cake this summer. In true Gary fashion, he is right on schedule.

 

Gary joined the BRW family in 1997, but his relationship with B and R and W predates the firm. Jeffrey Brown, Craig Reynolds, Mark Watford and Gary were coworkers earlier in their careers. It took 12 years, a lot of golf, and Mark Watford’s oh-so-subtle powers of persuasion to get Gary to BRW. When he arrived, he brought along a portfolio of large and complex project experience that boosted the firm’s capabilities and helped position it for growth. He also brought a calm sensibility, a love of learning, and a gift for mentorship that have served the firm well for the last 24 years.

 

Drawn to the idea of improving the daily lives of others by creating spaces for work and play, Gary found his niche in the Civic sector. It sounds idyllic, but Gary is clear about the greater purpose of public work – particularly in the fire and law enforcement realms. His genuine empathy for these clients has cultivated an understanding of their operations and the concerns that keep them up at night that has become part of the fabric of our practice.

 

As Gary looks back on his accomplishments, the work he’s done to reduce the risk of cancer among firefighters and to create safer environments for law enforcement personnel are at the top of the list. His true legacy reaches well beyond that. His dedication to his clients and his contributions to the development of others within BRW have helped prepare our next generation of leaders. A great technician with a fine eye for design, Gary has been a devoted leader who recognized that mentorship can work both ways. He has always been the calm voice in the room and a study in finding the balance between work and family. These are the gifts he leaves us, along with a little advice:

Listen, learn, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. We thrive when we learn from each other. It’s never going to be easy or perfect. Keep a broader perspective and remember what you are striving for as an architect – to improve the environments in which people live, work, and play.

 

Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” You have done both here at BRW. Your talent and passion improve the daily lives of countless others, and through your mentorship, will continue to do so for a very long time. Wherever retirement takes you – be it here in Dallas, Grand-parenting in Seattle, or pursuing vineyard dreams in California – we will be here doing our best to follow your lead.

 

Gary, you will be dearly missed but we know that your smile will never fade, and that no matter where you are, it will be a very good day for golf.

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