Gray Coulton, Senior Vice President at Baird
How long has Baird had a presence in Charleston?
We opened our office in 2010.
What do you personally love most about living in Charleston?
I love the fact that Charleston offers almost everything you’d expect from a large, multi-cultural city, but within the confines and culture of a small town. Charleston is a naturally friendly city. People say hello to you, whether it’s on the streets, in restaurants or in shop. People are proud of Charleston. There is, in general, an awareness of the history of Charleston and its place within the fabric of American history, and they are proud of that. I think that was shown broadly in the way the city reacted to tragic events earlier this year. At the same time, Charleston offers tremendous access to the arts, to great restaurants, and more and more, to modern businesses, including advanced and developing technologies. I’m not sure there is another city quite like it in the U.S.
Why is Baird passionate about World Heritage designation for Charleston?
I believe Charleston deserves a World Heritage designation both as a city of social and historical significance, but also as a nexus for future growth. It signifies the city’s heritage, its promise for the future and its citizens ongoing commitment to both. Charleston occupies an extremely important, and unique, place in American history. It’s early days required resourcefulness to promote growth in the face of significant obstacles. Over time, the blending of many diverse cultures and influences essentially made Charleston the heart of the American south. While well known for its views on independence, it also has a history of democratic thinking and religious tolerance, a history that is intrinsically entwined with the nation’s own development and growth. Our firm, Baird, decided to join this initiative as a major sponsor not only because of our own deep roots in the city, a number of our employees have lived here for decades, but because we firmly believe in Charleston’s future importance. It is an incredibly desirable place to both visit, and to live. As the city continues to expand and grow, the World Heritage designation will continue to remind everyone of our shared history, and the importance of maintaining those qualities of openness, tolerance, and resourcefulness that have been instrumental in Charleston’s development. It will be an inspiration for future generations in Charleston.