Shaun McGRATH's Background


My goal  when elected to Town Council on November 5th is to serve you in the same manner as I have as a member of the Holly Springs Planning Board and current Chairman, over the past two and a half years. That manner is guided by my past experiences as a husband, father, career aviator, and US Air Force senior leader/veteran. Holly Springs is our family's home, and I want to be part of the broader strategic policy-making process to ensure this well recognized safe and family-friendly ‘great small town’ grows to build upon a unique sense of community and connectivity...continuing to make it a highly desired and safe town to live, work, shop, and play! 

My promise  to the residents of Holly Springs is simple - as a civic leader, I believe in making decisions on a given topic based on solid research of the issue presented, taking into consideration as many diverse opinions as available, and ultimately placing my vote where the facts intersect with a fiscally realistic and sustainable approach.

The opportunities and experiences over my lifetime distilled that perspective.

every challenge presents an opportunity



My wife and I both grew up in Colorado, where we met while I was attending the US Air Force Academy. We are both from small, rural towns, and always enjoy being outdoors regardless the season or location. She and our daughters supported me and traveled to the many locations and down the roads ultimately leading us to Holly Springs. Along the way, my time in the Air Force provided me with unique and fulfilling experiences. I learned early on how challenges create opportunities and how to maximize and embrace them. Following my initial pilot training, the Air Force closed fighter squadrons and I ended up spending two years not as a pilot, but as a maintenance officer. The challenge of being a young officer in charge of a large organization at night repairing a squadron of 24 combat ready operational F-16s was a learning experience to say the least, and an opportunity that served me well for the remainder of my career. Those early times instilled the importance of listening to and addressing the input of others. 

Additionally, I realized early on the need to be competent (technically and otherwise) and to maintain a desire for lifelong learning. These habits are crucial to uncovering opportunities in the midst of challenges. Technical competency gave me the opportunity to attend the Air Force F-16 Fighter Weapons School (“Top Gun”), and to then pass on that knowledge to numerous other pilots over the years…all for the primary reason of flying through the challenges of combat deployments. One of those many pilots once quipped to me, “You can learn something from everyone you fly with!” How very true those words are. Today, after completing three Master’s Degree programs and leading in combat operations, I take that a step further to embrace, ‘you can always learn something from every person you meet.’

USAF Retirement 2014

We met people all over this world. After 15 moves, living in South Korea, Japan, Germany, many different US cities, and deploying to locations throughout the Middle East/Southwest Asia, those experiences provide me a broad basis from which to consider issues. The encounters living and interacting with diverse cultural perspectives, allowed me to engage meaningfully with our youngest personnel to senior leaders from partner nations. As Holly Springs continues to absorb growth in its population, we must engage in meaningful debate of differing opinions and perspectives. 

As a career aviator, when faced with critical decisions, emotion must fade and the facts of physics guide your reaction. I learned through multiple challenges leading people and organizations as an apolitical leader, facts again keep your decision-making fair and balanced regardless the level of emotion of the given topic. Whether creating policy documents being sent to our National Security Council, negotiating as the senior Air Force officer in a foreign country, or listening and providing counsel…I attempted to distill the facts as the basis of my decisions or discussion. The residents of Holly Springs deserve the challenges of our growth being faced by those who recognize opportunities and make decisions based on the factual underpinnings of the topic, arrived at through seeking input and diligent research.


So, after that you might ask, how did our family end up in Holly Springs? Well...five years ago, we had to make a choice on where we would call ‘home’ after I retired as a Colonel in the USAF following 24+ years of active duty service. I had also just returned home from my final 8-month long deployment as the commanding officer charged with leading a bare base...or basically the 'mayor' leading the build-up of a mini-city in the desert to support Air Force, Army, and Marine operations. As our family researched the best places our country offers to live, Lori, my wife of nearly 27 years now, had a great suggestion to visit the Raleigh area. After a couple of visits, we and our two daughters unanimously chose Holly Springs! After all those previous is now for the first time in nearly three decades a place we simply call HOME.

Home in Holly Springs!

Enjoying a Holly Springs Greenway


Holly Springs has been a perfect fit for our family...and obviously for many others. It was a great environment to raise our youngest daughter through her formative high school years and most importantly a place where we still feel at home as part of our growing neighborhood and community. As part of that growth, my local engagement began shortly after we arrived in our neighborhood to address a greenway connection being cut by the proposed NC-540. I worked with neighbors, the developer, the Town’s staff, and NCDOT representatives as NC-540 entered its final stages of approval to ensure this greenway connection was preserved. Throughout the process of this engagement I learned of the opportunity to serve our broader community as a member of the Planning Board. I threw my name in the hat and was appointed to a position in March, 2017. I’ve since served as a member, being reappointed for another three-year term in March, 2019. I’ve also served as the Planning Board representative to the Technical Review Committee for the previous two years, and made several suggestions to help guide projects such as the recently approved Carolina Springs Planned Unit Development (PUD). Recently, I represented the Town as a citizen stakeholder for CAMPO’s Southwest Area Study, a study to provide a long term look at the transit infrastructure needs in the broader southwest areas of Wake and Harnett counties. I advocated for a continued strategic look at the Southern Bypass and methods to more effectively move traffic from the exterior rings (NC-440/540) around the Triangle to its core. For this year’s Planning Board session, I serve as the Chairman of our diverse 9-member board of passionate volunteer citizens.

Town Hall


So again, and finally...why Town Council and why now? I continue to be passionate about serving our nation. That passion translated to seeking the broader good for the organizations I had the fortune and the opportunity to take a leading role in decisions impacting the lives of others. Translating that to local impact...Holly Springs is our home! I now want to be part of the broader strategic policy making process at the Council level to represent your needs and to ensure this well recognized safe and family friendly ‘great small town’ grows to build upon a unique sense of community and connectivity to live, work, shop, and play for all residents!  

My goal  if elected to Town Council on November 5th is to serve our town in the same manner as I have as an appointed board member on behalf of the town's residents over the past two and a half years. That manner will continue to be guided by my past experiences as a husband, father, career aviator, US Air Force veteran, and those while on the Planning Board making recommendations to the Town Council. 

My promise  to the residents of Holly Springs is simple - I believe in making decisions, and will continue to make them, on any given topic based on research of the issue impacting our town, taking into consideration as many diverse opinions as available, and ultimately voting where the facts intersect with a fiscally realistic, yet sustainable approach. 

Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about who you will be voting for on November 5th, 2019!

I eagerly look forward to serving you as your newest councilman and continuing to engage in the business of guiding and planning our town's future based on your input. 

I also look forward to current input, feedback, any means of support, 

and most certainly will appreciate your VOTE Nov 5th!