Careers in Government and Non-Profit

Recently, I was able to learn of three (3) individuals with an architectural education who have successful careers in architecture via state government and a non-profit design center.  Below are summaries of links on each of the individuals profiled.

Further, these three architects further support the notion that you can pursue any number of career paths with a degree in architecture.  Stay tuned for more!


Since 2002, Mr. Gary Gaston has served in the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC); currently he serves as the Chief Executive Director.  A native of rural West Tennessee, Gary arrived in Nashville after receiving a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design, and spending time abroad living in London. Recently, he completed a Master of Education in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University.

During his time with the NCDC, he has led numerous planning and design efforts for the organization. He was a contributor to The Plan of Nashville: Avenues to a Great City, published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2005, and co-authored Moving Tennessee Forward: Models for Connecting Communities, published in 2012.  Gary served as the project director and executive producer of the National Endowment for the Arts funded documentary film Design Your Neighborhood, and is co-author of Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan, released by Vanderbilt University Press in April 2016.


Mr. Robert Oglesby is the Commissioner of General Services for the State of Tennessee, a position in which he oversees the State’s real estate activities, its central procurement functions, motor vehicle management, printing and media services, and warehousing and distribution.  Prior to assuming that position in August 2013, he served for almost three years as State Architect for Tennessee after a 30-year career as an architect, including 25 years as a principal / owner in practice in Tennessee.

Bob has always been driven to bring greater value to his clients as well – continuously looking for additional ways he and his team could help clients achieve their goals and/or achieve higher levels of performance than they otherwise could realize.  To this end, Bob continues to be a dedicated proponent of embracing best business practices and leading edge initiatives, including data-driven decision making, performance-based solutions, and technology-driven processes.

Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.


In 2017, Ann McGauran was voted the state architect unanimously by the Tennessee State Building Commission.

McGauran is the first woman to serve in this capacity since the position was created in 1955.  Since 2014, McGauran has been working in the Tennessee Department of General Services, most recently as executive director of business operations in the STREAM Division. She has also worked in the private sector, including as a project manager at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The state architect and staff serve as support for the functions of the State Building Commission and also provide oversight for all state capital projects and real estate transactions that are under authority of the State Building Commission.


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