GLY Think. Blog

re-introducing interiors | special projects: a three-layer experience

I’m often asked what ISP stands for and my response usually grows into an in-depth explanation on what exactly this one-of-a-kind team means to GLY—both internally and externally. ISP, or Interiors | Special Projects, was introduced in 2001 and is much more than just an acronym for a group of folks at GLY. The same year ISP emerged, GLY also recast its vision and brand and shortly after, introduced a new tagline: Think. Plan. Build. While the vision, brand and tagline paint a clear picture of what GLY as an organization wants to achieve and drive the firm’s decision-making and culture to this day, the mission unique to ISP has evolved over the past 18 years. Today, after facing highs and lows in the economy and adapting to change, I’m happy to say that ISP has solidified its place and purpose at GLY [and why my simple acronym explanation often turns into a proud spiel about the team].

It feels timely given the enormous opportunity in our region to revisit ISP’s mission—focusing on today and why ISP exists.

I invited a wide range of GLY employees, from project managers to field supervisors, to do just that. Answer the big question: what is the purpose of ISP? It was a fascinating conversation with a common thread: experience.


As a regional general contractor, it’s important that GLY be prepared to respond to fluctuations. ISP plays a big role in our long-term strategy, which centers on maintaining diversity in both our portfolio and in a skilled team of experienced veterans and new talent. Together we meet the need for focused and/or specialized requirements, such as making a building more energy efficient; reimagining outdated spaces into modern workplaces; or refreshing common interiors.

At the same time, ISP leverages the company’s aggregate experience working on large-scale highly technical projects—such as healthcare and technology campuses, and sensitive environments like occupied senior living and educational facilities—and offers the same degree of operational quality, value, safety, and efficiency.

An ISP project is an excellent opportunity to show a new client what GLY can do, or help an existing client try something original and unique. As a result, ISP projects often:

  • serve as entry points to new markets and clients
  • successfully test alternative delivery approaches
  • facilitate cross-training of GLY staff
  • fill gaps created by large project swings
  • provide ideal settings for research and development

Additionally, having the ability to scale up and down effectively builds a robust catalog of market-specific experiences, resources, and tools for the benefit of future clients and projects. ISP projects are where innovation, professional growth, and new opportunities unfold.

The following projects represent the range in scope, size and unique features that the ISP team addresses.

omc equipment move

Overlake Medical Center Outpatient Imaging: OMC's Outpatient Imaging Department moved from the second to first floor, requiring a well-planned strategy to relocate 12 pieces of fragile, heavy equipment in one weekend with no room for error. 

seattle tower lounge

Seattle Tower Improvements: Upgrades to a historic landmark and new tenant amenity space that meshes both past and present by incorporating some of the building's original features.

waldorf school

The Seattle Waldorf School: Numerous small-scale projects to create welcoming, safe environments for young students.

two union square

Two Union Square: Multi-phased project touching all common areas in the high-traffic, occupied downtown high-rise.

THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE | 360° Training + Flexible Career Path

One of the greatest appeals of a career in construction, aside from eschewing a traditional 9–5 desk job, is the satisfaction of seeing your work become part of the physical world. Tangible proof. And because ISP specializes in small to medium size jobs, ISP employees experience that satisfaction many times over compared to employees on a massive scale development. Even if an employee isn’t committed to a long-term ISP career, 2–3 years on the team provides several benefits:

  • exposure to multiple market sectors, disciplines, work scopes, administrative processes, and stakeholders
  • a chance to gain valuable cross-industry technical skills and be part of an active and diverse workforce
  • opportunity to manage a job from soup to nuts, preconstruction planning through punch-list
  • consistent estimating and scheduling experience
  • training and support to effectively manage one dozen or more projects concurrently
  • increased operational oversight of the field staff

Regardless of where GLY employees are in their career path, a period in ISP makes sense. There is always a need for both mentor and mentee, master and apprentice. This deliberate cross-training and rotation ensures continuous learning and improvement, as well as a culture of quality, innovation, and safety.

re-introducing interiors | special projects: a three-layer experience Image

Director of ISP Dave McGovern [center] encourages employees to take part in ISP at some point in their career to realize the countless benefits to both professional and personal growth.

THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE | All Projects + Every Touch Point

For 50 years and counting, GLY has recognized that all projects are important. Regardless of scope or size each project receives personal attention from a principal or executive of the firm, and predictability from start to finish.

Going deeper, we continuously strive to understand what our clients—and our clients’ clients—experience on their journey with GLY. And because ISP magnifies the interaction between GLY and our clients, we structure ongoing training around assessing and improving every touch point, including:

  • writing proposals/contracts
  • presenting information/leading meetings
  • managing preconstruction
  • collaborating with design teams
  • processing invoices
  • communicating with facility staff
  • developing business

Revisiting the ISP mission reminded me that it starts with people: how we treat them, how we train them, how we value them. Through it all remains a commitment to be stronger partners, drive efficiency, save time and money, and ultimately deliver the highest quality. But we don’t just build projects, we build people.

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