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Leading with Experience: Q&A with Project Manager Lisa Horn

At Gray, experience counts. That’s why Gray gives experienced professionals the autonomy to chart their own course and the authority to execute their vision. Lisa Horn, project manager in Gray’s Northwest Office, is using her years of experience to lead her team to be creative, adaptable, and tenacious. We spoke with her about her role, the unique capabilities of the Northwest Office, and her love for the outdoors.

Describe your normal workday–your “day in the life.”


“Whether in the office or on-site, I start my day with a list of 5 to 10 items to accomplish. Days can take unexpected twists, turns, and you are untangling challenges. Listening and staying on the same page with the field team is a key component, along with being adaptable, nimble, and tenacious.”


What do you enjoy most about your work?


“I enjoy the people I work with, proudly turning over a project to the owners, and that a-ha expression on someone’s face after you’ve coached them to discovering the solution.”


What has been your most memorable experience since being a part of the Gray Family?


“At GrayFusion, our company-wide onboarding and training initiative, we had the unique opportunity to talk with and hear the storytelling of the Gray brothers. Unforgettable!”


What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever been given?


“Over the years, three things have stuck with me:

  1. If you are going to do it, do it with excellence.
  2. Given a someone’s needs and awareness, they do the only possible thing they can. Change the need, change the awareness, and the response will be different.
  3. No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.”

What do you think sets Gray apart from other service providers in the industry?


“The fact that doing it right is important. Other companies I’ve worked for would take shortcuts and knowingly do the bare minimum to get by. Gray wants to do it the right way and stand by each project with pride.”


In one word or phrase, how would you describe Gray?


“Caring and respectful to everyone.”


What unique capabilities does the Northwest Office provide, and how do they complement Gray’s overall service offering?


“The Northwest Office is small and growing. Many of us have worked together for 15–20 years. Over the years, team members have worked for the architect, as an owners’ representative, the general contractor, subcontractor, or vendor. We’ve learned to recognize and understand customer expectations, and we build to meet or exceed them.


Our team has other design-build, design-assist, and traditional build experience–which rounds out our capabilities. The Northwest team features creative, flexible, and tenacious problem solvers.”


If someone was visiting the Seattle area, what would you recommend to them as a “must-do?”


“My first response is always spending the day, weekend, or longer on the ferries exploring the San Juan Islands. There’s so much to see and do. You can walk the historic trails, watch the whales, explore small, local art galleries, and sample the local fresh catch seafood and tasty tidbits.


If I can’t escape the city by boat, the mountains are the next favorite. Whether its snowmobiling, snowboarding, skiing, or hiking– the mountains are a short drive away.”


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