In 2007, Gary S. Holmes donated $6 million for the growth of the Carlson School of Management's entrepreneurship teaching, research, and outreach programs. Gary Holmes is president and owner of CSM Corporation, a real estate development, leasing, and property management company with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Holmes is not only one of the largest owner-operators of real estate in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, but across the country. CSM and its affiliates are currently the owners, management, and leasing agents for a large number of apartment and townhome units. CSM also owns and manages numerous hotels and commercial and industrial properties across the United States.
Gifted with an entrepreneurial spirit from childhood, at age 12 Holmes developed—and put into practice—a talent for turning bright ideas into reality. He started selling light bulbs in southwest Minneapolis and recruited fellow Boy Scouts as salesmen. From there, Holmes took his earnings and entered the world of real estate by acquiring his first set of duplexes by age 14.
Holmes's interests soon progressed beyond real estate as he built CSM Corporation into one of the nation's largest owner-operators of real estate. He also owns Century Bank, several retail stores and restaurants, and is the majority shareholder of Tri-West Building Corporation, a general contractor located in Portland, Oregon.
Holmes is active at the Carlson School of Management, where he frequently speaks to MBA classes, partners his CSM Corporation marketing department with MBA students, and helps to develop the school's entrepreneurship programs. In September, Holmes received the first annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Minnesota during a reception for the Minnesota Cup award, a competition that promotes entrepreneurial activity and enhances the role of the University as the center of innovation.
In 2005, Holmes received the University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Award, an honor presented to graduates and former students of the University of Minnesota who have attained unusual distinction in their profession or in public service and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership. In 2000, he received the John F. Cade Award for the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year from the University of St. Thomas's John M. Morrison Center for Entrepreneurship.
Gary Holmes is a director and founder of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Abbott Northwestern Hospital. He is also a former board member of Allina Hospitals and Clinics. He serves as a charter member of the Board of Governors of the University of St. Thomas School of Law and was appointed by the mayor of Minneapolis to co-chair the Riverfront Partners group, which is committed to promoting the central riverfront area of Minneapolis. He is actively involved with charities, including the Children's Cancer Research Fund and Children's Hospital.