Gary Bridges was a key member of the 2004 SELC Tournament Champions at Attack and throughout his career was noted for his work ethic and dedication to the team. In the tournament final against the Florida Gators Gary led in goals and assists to drive the team to victory. Attack was not his natural position, Gary played both LSM and Midfield over the course of his career and was willing unselfishly to play any position to drive the team to success.
Gary has gone on to do great things in life and now works as an engineer in the energy industry. He and his family has relocated from Houston to Paris, France where he is part of a team stewarding the engineering, fabrication, commissioning, and startup of a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) ship. This international megaproject provides exciting opportunities to work with a broad base of expertise and diverse cultures. Gary also has completed a part-time MBA program in Houston before transitioning to Paris.
We recently sat down with Gary to discuss his life now and reflect upon his time and experiences at Georgia Tech:
How has your family enjoyed the transition to life in another country?
My wife, Kelli, also graduated from Georgia Tech and played women's lacrosse for there. This provided a hopefully deep athletic gene pool for our children, Lillian – 5, Charlotte – 3, and Garland – 1. Our transition to France in 2017 was a bit of a culture shock – we moved from the Houston suburbs to urban Paris; we use public transportation and do not own a car. Our daughters attend an international school and speak better French than their parents. Our son, Garland, was born here in France.
What was life like in Paris during the world cup?
Experiencing the world cup in a winning country has been a surreal experience. The city was shut down for a three day stretch in July for Bastille Day on Saturday, followed by the world cup final on Sunday, with a city-wide parade on Monday. It was a unique experience to see such a diverse country united in joy for this generational celebration.
You are originally from Houston, how you chose Georgia Tech and Lacrosse?
Georgia Tech provided strong academic opportunities with a world class reputation, particularly in the engineering disciplines. Its beautiful campus located on the edge of downtown Atlanta was a draw, as was the smaller size (~15k students vs. 60K at larger Texas schools) and cosmopolitan student and faculty.
Your Tech experience including lacrosse?
Academically, GT was quite challenging. Real world problems are not easy, so this prepared me for the workplace. Additionally, the high caliber of students added tremendously to the classroom and project experience.
From a lacrosse perspective, the Georgia Tech team provided a good level of competition with players and coaches from all over the US. While many collegiate programs have a regional focus, Tech's melting pot drew players from traditional northeast hotbeds, the Atlantic coast, California, and even Texas. My time with the team helped me develop skills for team work, discipline, and communication and an opportunity to challenge and improve my game.
Any particularly favorite lacrosse memories?
During my senior year, the team travelled to Baltimore, Maryland to play on Homewood Field, often referred to as the "Mecca of Lacrosse," immediately after a Johns Hopkins – Princeton game. We watched the NCAA Division 1 game and then proceeded to beat the University of Texas team, my home state, providing a fitting bookend to my lacrosse career.
During the same year, I had the great fortune to be part of a team that won the SELC championship and travelled to the MCLA national tournament in St. Louis. While we lost to Arizona in the tournament, we achieved great things together for an unforgettable experience.
How did Georgia Tech and Lacrosse prepare you for life?
The collegiate lacrosse experience prepared me for being a good teammate not only in sports but in a family, friends, and in my career. The focus, preparation, communication, and character development provided important building blocks for the rest of my life. After university, I returned to Houston and had the opportunity to coach high school lacrosse in the evenings over a five year stretch. Lacrosse provided this opportunity to further develop leadership and management skills.
Do you still play lacrosse?
After college, I played and ran several men's club teams in the Houston area. I also had the opportunity to play indoor lacrosse during a 6 week stretch in Canada. This fall I will play for the Lille (Northern French City) Seagulls in a European box lacrosse tournament.
Have anything to say to the current Tech Squad?
Go Jackets! Ha Ha… enjoy the moment and give it your all!