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Richard Holmes

Richard Lewis Holmes, Georgia Power’s senior vice president of Corporate Services and Employee and Corporate Relations, was born in Columbus, Georgia on October 17, 1951 to Janice George Holmes and Carl J. Holmes. He attended integrated public schools in several southern cities including Clarksville, Tennessee and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and attended high school in Columbus, Georgia. From there, he enrolled at Columbus State University, graduating with his B.A. degree in business administration. He also earned his M.B.A. from Atlanta University and a certificate from the Program for Management Development at Harvard University.

While still attending college in 1972, Holmes began working summers at Georgia Power. After graduating in 1974, he was hired in the accounting department and worked over the next twenty-eight years in several capacities for Georgia Power; customer service, regional management, corporate relations manager, assistant to the CEO, vice president of Region Operations, and as vice president of corporate services. Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. Holmes also served as assistant to the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.

Holmes serves as a board member of the Georgia Department of Community Health, the Kennesaw State University Foundation and Literacy Action. He also belongs to many organizations including One Hundred Black Men of Atlanta, Harvard Club of Atlanta, and the National Eagle Leadership Institute. In 1999, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Holmes as one of the Most Influential Atlantans.

Holmes married, Linda McCrary, and they have two sons, Stephen and Mark.

Accession Number

A2005.206

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/26/2005

Last Name

Holmes

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Spencer High School

Columbus State University

Clark Atlanta University

Harvard Business School

First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

HOL05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Face Reality As It Is,Not As It Was, Or As You Wish It Were.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/17/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Short Description

Energy executive Richard Holmes (1951 - ) works for the Georgia Power Company.

Employment

Georgia Power Company

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard Holmes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard Holmes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard Holmes describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard Holmes describes his mother's childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard Holmes describes his mother's childhood in Early County, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard Holmes describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard Holmes describes his father's experiences playing baseball

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard Holmes describes his father's experiences in the U.S. military

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard Holmes describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard Holmes describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard Holmes describes moving and changing schools while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard Holmes describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard Holmes describes his various schools

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard Holmes describes his school experiences and favorite teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard Holmes recalls playing Little League baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard Holmes describes his high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard Holmes recalls attending Columbus College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard Holmes describes his fraternity and student government activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Richard Holmes describes his favorite professors

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Richard Holmes recalls his job interviews after college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard Holmes recalls the beginning of his career at Georgia Power Company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard Holmes details his promotions at Georgia Power Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard Holmes describes his mentor, Jim George

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard Holmes recalls African American managers at Georgia Power Company

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard Holmes recalls the impact of a co-worker's suicide

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard Holmes describes moving back to Columbus, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard Holmes describes Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Richard Holmes recalls working with Maynard Jackson, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Richard Holmes recalls working with Maynard Jackson, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard Holmes describes Atlanta Mayors Maynard Jackson and HistoryMaker Andrew Young

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard Holmes recalls working as director of Atlanta's Corporate Volunteer Program

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard Holmes shares an anecdote about Rich's department store in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard Holmes recalls his experiences at Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard Holmes recalls moving to Cobb County, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard Holmes recalls being Cobb County Chamber of Commerce chairman

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard Holmes describes Newt Gingrich

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard Holmes recalls his promotion to region vice president

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard Holmes outlines his corporate responsibilities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard Holmes describes his board memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard Holmes shares his future aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard Holmes describes assistance programs offered by Georgia Power Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard Holmes describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard Holmes reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Richard Holmes reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Richard Holmes reflects upon the importance of preserving history

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Richard Holmes describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

8$9

DATitle
Richard Holmes recalls working with Maynard Jackson, pt. 1
Richard Holmes describes his favorite professors
Transcript
And so the business community wanted to try to get back on his good side, so a lot of the business communities went out there and tried to help him through his transition providing a lot of pro bono assistance to his transition team and getting his administration set up. So Maynard [Maynard Jackson] being a very, very wise and cagy person basically said, "Hmm, I'm getting all of this, everybody is crowning me with all of these assistance during my transition period which is only gonna be about two months, you know, November and January." He said, "I'm gonna try to figure out a way to use that during my administration on a pro bono basis." So I came in to run what the mayor called, the mayor's Corporate Volunteer Program. Where he'd bring volunteers in to help city government with its various issues, help them from a business perspective, how to create a better level of response to its citizens, how to create better processes and the things that it do, permitting and all those kinds of things. And, actually, we looked at several projects. But I came in to run that program, and after I had been here about a month, month-and-a-half, there was a conference in Atlanta [Georgia] called BEEP [Black Executive Exchange Program], which was the Urban League [National Urban League] conference. And the mayor couldn't go speak, his special assistant to business community couldn't go speak, so they said, "Well, we got Richard [HistoryMaker Richard Holmes] here, let's let him go represent the city." So, I went and brought greetings on behalf of the mayor, and they got a good feedback from that. So the mayor sort of liked me. And then about--just about a couple of weeks later, the mayor's special assistant to the business community got promoted to another job and the mayor at that time could not--because the mayor created this position. It was a lobbyist position with the state government. In sense, the mayor moved this individual over in that job; he did not have any more authorized positions. So he now had a vacancy as his special assistant to the business community, and he had no authorized vacancy so they said, "Well, Richard is on loan from Georgia Power [Georgia Power Company], he's over here, we like what he's done, we like him, why don't you let him be your special assistant, mayor, and still run this program?" So, Maynard did, he allowed me to become his assistant for the business community. So I was able to do that for about sixteen months as Maynard's special assistant in the business community. And if you want to know what that was, it was just being his liaison. If he had to go speak to a business setting, I would, obviously, find out what they wanted to speak about, give that information to the speech writers, speech writers will get a speech together. I will go with him to those functions, make sure his got his speech, make sure where he's supposed to sit, make sure he met some key folks. I was his gofer, if you will, in that regard and I was on loan from my company, Georgia Power Company. I wasn't a city employee.$$More like the shepherd, I think, than the gofer (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) As a shepherd, is that the way to look at it?$$Yeah, you are kind of a shepherd.$$But it was fascinating, because here I am on the mayor's staff and I don't work for the city. I don't get a paycheck from the city. In fact, in my office I didn't even have a city computer. I had a computer from Georgia Power (laughter) that I used, I mean.$Are there any professors [at Columbus College; Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia] that stand out particularly as influential?$$The one that didn't necessarily influence me but always stood out was a professor by the name Dr. Gallous [ph.], and he taught--he was in the fine arts area and he taught music and every business major had to take some fine arts course, one or two, and so I took music and Dr. Gallous was the instructor. Now, what I remember from him is that he was saying, "All music is well thought out and well--when I say is done, is well thought out. But it's creativity, it's your own imagination, it's the visualizing what you think something should be in terms of how it should sound." And I used to always remember that from him because what that does is the roles that I've had in life and the jobs that I've had is always got to be thinking about new ways of doing things, got always be a little visionary and stay ahead, and you have to always be better than the next. And those are the things I remember so well. I remember we had a marketing professor, and I'm drawing a blank on his name that always would challenge us, you gotta be thinking about what somebody else is doing because, you know, you're only as good as your, you know, your worst customer.