November 10, 2020

Veterans Day is about honoring the sacrifice of the brave service members who proudly served in our nation’s armed forces. It’s a day dedicated to remembering that freedom isn’t free and to expressing gratitude to those who have protected our freedoms. Today, we honor our employee veterans, and while we may never be able to repay them for their sacrifice, we can show them how much we appreciate their service. Keep reading to learn about some of their most important takeaways from their time in the service.



The most important lesson that I took from the Army and still use today is how to achieve your goals through organization. All your goals require steps to be taken in order to get to the end. List the steps, prioritize them, obtain resources, walk through the steps (measure twice, cut once) and don’t be afraid to take the lead, delegate and share lead roles to prepare your teams for their own success. The tried and true definition of leadership is “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.”

Leo Perez
Project Manager
Midtown Atlanta, GA


(Brice and his tank crew during their last deployment to Poland)

As cliché as it sounds, I would say my takeaway is the value of teamwork. When people feel a part of a team and buy into that team, they will go through so much more than any one person could endure. There is an art to crafting strong teams. When it is done right, it can make a collection of random people do things that are so much bigger then themselves.

Brice Holmes
Army National Guard
Project Coordinator
Nashville, TN


In all aspects of your life, whatever you are doing, do it well. At any given moment, you can only have one priority. Whether the current priority is work, parenting, exercise or relaxation, give the current priority your full attention. Unless one of your tasks truly involves no thought, multitasking isn’t real. We might switch back and forth between conflicting tasks (and call it multitasking), but neither will be done as well as it could have been.

Jeremy Ashlock, P.E., RSP1
Air Force
Senior Transportation Engineer
Tampa, FL


I don’t ever use a snooze button! Being prepared and disciplined is being responsible. The lesson of patience is important to me, as there is an enormous amount of waiting in the military. Today, I often find myself waiting for others to make decisions before I can do my work. I wait and try to practice patience. Then, when the decisions are made, I hurry to get the job done (another lesson from the military—lots of waiting and lots of rushing). Also, the lesson of doing “extra work.” In the Navy, especially boot camp, there is extra work done daily. Repetitive tasks done once, twice, three times or more. Producing drawings often requires much repetition.

Chandra Clonan
Nashville, TN


  1. Nobody cooks like Mom!
  2. Appreciate our freedoms so costly paid.
  3. The blessed gift of health, life and safety.

David A. Magner, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Project Architect
Nashville, TN


I think the most important lesson that I learned during my time in the military is getting along and interacting with people of all different backgrounds. It played a critical role in helping me become a better leader.

Luis J. Cano, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Vice President
Miami, FL


As a Marine, you have to learn to be resourceful and industrious in solving the complex issues that arise. The adaptability and persistence that I had to learn as Marine, and which have now have become second nature, allow many of the stressors of the professional world to feel small and conquerable.

Christian Reid, EI
Nashville, TN


(Jose Salazar)

The true meaning of what a U.S. Army Infantry Warrior stands for and what every American should never forget. Freedom is not cheap, but worth dying for: God, Country, Freedom, Family and Friends!

Jose E. Salazar, LEED AP
Nashville, TN


I was very fortunate to have the U.S. Air Force pay for my Civil Engineering degree at the University of Notre Dame. My four years of peacetime active duty were extremely formative in my career. The military is full of motivated, committed and self-sacrificing professionals who are surrounded by a team of equally-committed civilian public servants. My biggest technical lesson was learning to produce change-order-free construction documents. In the field of government project private contractors, who made their profits by under bidding and then making up the difference in change orders, attention to every detail matters. The smartest career choice I ever made was to join the military. The second smartest was to join Gresham Smith!

Michael D. Hunkler, P.E., LEED AP
Air Force
Senior Vice President
Nashville, TN


Gresham Smith would like to recognize and extend our deepest gratitude to all our employee veterans:

Jeremy Ashlock, Air Force

Ashton Austin, Army

Jeremy Bilby, Army

Anthony Bowman, Air Force

Joe Bucci, Army National Guard

Luis Cano, Army

Chandra Clonan, Navy

Mike Crouch, Air Force

Jerry Culp, Army

George Dillard, Marines

Batey Gresham, Army

Joshua Hill, Army

Brice Holmes, Army National Force

Mike Hunkler, Air Force

Chris Jacobs, Army

Dwayne Knalls, Army

Jacques LeGette, Navy

Tim Lucas, Army

David Magner, Marines

Mark Markham, Army

Anthony Maxwell, Navy

Michael McGaffic, Army National Guard

Jeff Nash, Air Force

Leo Perez, Army

Jimmy Perrin, Marines

Shawn Reese, Navy

Christian Reid, Marines

Jose Salazar, Army

Jeff Sampson, Marines

Emery Sayre, Navy

Bud Smith, Army

Flem Smith, Army

Paul Wallis, Army

Jack Weber, Army Reserves

Brian Wieseler, Army

Rick Yeager, Navy