Photo Caption: Jerry Lee, philanthropist and chairman of MulvannyG2 Architecture. Photo credit: MulvannyG2.

Standing among so many of his revered business colleagues at Seattle Business magazine’s inaugural Executive Excellence Awards was a humbling experience for Jerry Lee, philanthropist and chairman of  Bellevue-based MulvanyG2 Architecture. On Jan. 31st, Lee received his first Lifetime Achievement Award.

Even  several days after delivering his acceptance speech at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, Lee was still giddy. “I was so nervous,” Lee laughs. “I got a standing ovation.”

Even after delivering countless inspirational speeches and receiving many honors, including a Gold Level Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award really put things in perspective for Lee.

“It has been a long career of 38 years,” he says. “Not a lot of people can say that. … I’ve watched (MulvanyG2) grow from a two-to-three-man firm to what it is nowadays” —  a multinational firm responsible for designing more than 600 Costcos, 500 Targets and 125 Nike Factory Store Outlets, according to Seattle Business magazine. MulvanyG2 has been named the No. 3 retail architecture firm in the world, and the 16th-largest architecture firm in the U.S.

“I think all the (Executive Excellent Award) winners and respected organizations talked about teamwork,” Lee says. “It goes with our firm, too. You can’t get there without all working together.”

His business partnerships are the result of more than 20 years of relationship building, he says, and “it’s not always about the amount of dollars and making money, it’s about always doing the right thing and the byproduct of doing the right thing.”

For two years in a row, Lee was voted “Favorite Philanthropist” for International Examiner’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards, and the reasons are clear. In addition to many contributions to API community efforts, Lee has conducted more than 500 hours of community service and raising more than $1 million over a decade for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a focal philanthropic area for him.

“That’s a lot of mammograms for a lot of women who can’t afford it,” says Lee, who lost his first wife to breast cancer. “It’s a great feeling to support something beyond business. That’s one of the great things that we as a firm do together.”

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