Speaker Biographies

James W. Bearden

Chairman and CEO
Gresham, Smith and Partners

James W. Bearden, AIA serves as Chairman and CEO of Gresham, Smith and Partners, an ENR Top 100 Design Firm.

Appointed CEO in 2003, James has been instrumental in the firm’s growth, successfully focusing on continued improvement of core design competencies while diversifying services to meet the changing demands of the market. Under his leadership, the firm has significantly increased its international presence and GS&P’s first official international outpost was established in China following significant growth in Asia. Understanding the implications sustainable design has on business, employees, clients and end-users, Bearden has enhanced GS&P’s commitment to creating design solutions with a holistic approach and balance. He was instrumental in the development of GS&P’s sustainability policy which seeks to proactively benchmark, evaluate and improve internal operations. The firm has signed on to the AIA 2030 Commitment and is involved with several organizations with a sustainability focus including the USGBC and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Bearden holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tennessee. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Nashville Healthcare Council and is a founding board member of Architecture, Construction, Engineering (ACE) Mentoring Program. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of St. Thomas Health and is a member of the 2014 United Way Board of Trustees and 2014 American Heart Association Executive Leadership Team. Bearden has been recognized as an Outstanding Volunteer in the International Business category from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is a graduate of the 2006 Leadership Nashville class and was named among the Most Admired CEOs by the Nashville Business Journal in 2013.