Gerald Halpin, who was a generous supporter of business education at Shenandoah, passed away in 2017 at the age of 94. Mr. Halpin served as president and CEO of WEST*GROUP Management LLC. In 1962, he founded Westgate Corporation, serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He later founded and served as president of more than 100 other WEST*GROUP affiliated corporations and partnerships involved in the development and management of real estate. He oversaw all departments at WEST*GROUP including financing, accounting, planning and development, legal, construction, leasing, property management, business development and corporate administration. From the initial investment and planning to the completion and oversight of each real estate project, Mr. Halpin was responsible for the development, redevelopment or construction of more than 12 million square feet of office, retail, residential, resort, and industrial space for WEST*GROUP affiliates. Mr. Halpin and his associates introduced the concept of the quality, mixed-use, master-planned office park to the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area. He and his co-founders, Mr. Nicholson, Mr. Ewing, and Rudolph Seeley, initiated the development of the area known as Tysons Corner when they purchased a 125-acre farm in 1962, becoming partners with their neighbors, the Ulfelders, who had owned the adjoining property since 1923. The four principals were the first to build office, R&D, and apartment buildings in the Tysons area. Over time, Mr. Halpin developed four beautifully landscaped office parks located on prime sites near major transportation arteries. These include WEST*GATE and WEST*PARK Office Parks in Tysons Corner, Virginia as well as WEST*FARM and WEST*QUEST Technology Parks in suburban Maryland.
In addition, Mr. Halpin had extensive experience in the development of hotels and resorts, serving as chairman of Alexandria Management Corporation, which has owned six hotels and operated seven hotels in the mid-Atlantic region. He also had expertise in residential real estate, having developed the 1,200 acre Indian Springs Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which was named by Forbes Magazines as one of the Top 10 private communities in the United States. Mr. Halpin also developed 1,500 acres in Warrenton, Virginia, known as Bellevue Estates as well as having built, renovated, or owned several thousand apartments in the metropolitan area over the course of 30 years.
Mr. Halpin served in a Naval Construction Battalion for four years during World War II. He then spent 15 years with Atlantic Research Company purchasing, building and/or managing manufacturing plants in New Hampshire, Boston, and Los Angeles. He also built a missile launching station in Utah and developed a propellant manufacturing facility on several thousand acres on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In 1952, he constructed a major manufacturing complex for ARC in Gainesville, Virginia, and in 1958, he developed an 85-acre office complex in Springfield, Virginia, for the company. In 1960, Mr. Halpin co-founded WEST*GROUP’s predecessor, Commonwealth Capital Inc., to plan and develop a 700,000-square-foot shopping mall in Alexandria, Virginia, known as Landmark Center, one of the first regional shopping malls in the metropolitan area. In 1976, Mr. Halpin founded and served as chairman of World Resources Company, a worldwide metals recycling business, which solves waste disposal problems for manufacturers and communities using cost-effective technology. In 1969, he purchased property in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, now known as Lost Creek Ranch, which his family operates as a guest resort bordered by Grand Teton National Park. In addition, Mr. Halpin was an owner and involved in the development of a luxury resort known as the Cottonwoods, plus two hotels, condominiums and the Borgata Shops in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Mr. Halpin received many industry awards for WEST*GROUP developments over the years including the National Association of Industrial and Office Park’s President’s Award of Distinction, National Honor Award, and Award of Excellence for Best New Building; the Landscape Contractor’s Association Grand Award for Commercial Maintenance; and Fairfax County Government’s Exceptional Design Honor Award. He was a recipient of the prestigious Ellie Doyle Service Award from the Fairfax County Park Authority, as well as the Ernst and Young Greater Washington “Entrepreneur of the Year Award.” Mr. Halpin was also chosen to receive the 2003 Life Achievement in Industry Award from the Science Museum of Virginia. In 2005, he received the James M. Rees Award from the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce for exemplary service to the Chamber and community. Additionally, he received tributes in the Congressional Record from both the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
Mr. Halpin graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and attended Georgetown University School of Law. He was a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University and served on its Executive Committee. In 2002 Mr. Halpin was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Shenandoah University.