Up Close: Jim Holmquist

Posted by Jim West on Mar 18, 2015

Jim HolmquistJim Holmquist is a coach.  Whether it’s football, wrestling, golf, softball or baseball--high school or college, as an Army drill instructor or a Graniterock branch manager, Jim has spent a lifetime bringing people  together to function successfully as a team.

A native Californian, Jim’s family moved from the San Joaquin Valley to Santa Cruz when he was in sixth-grade.  He graduated from Soquel High School in 1968 and the University of the Pacific in 1972, where he played football with Pete Carroll and was on the golf team as well.  After graduation he received his teaching credential from University of the Pacific.

For six years Jim taught physical education and coached high school sports in Santa Cruz. During summer breaks, he ran the aquatics program for the city of Santa Cruz where he taught new mothers and infants water safety and how to swim. He also supervised the beaches and pool lifeguard services.

Jim met his wife Joan at a wedding in Watsonville in 1977. They were married in 1978 and have two daughters Brooke, an assistant news director for KION News, and Brittney, director of business operations for the University of San Francisco Athletic Department. 


Jim realized, after six years of teaching and coaching, he and Joan would never be able to buy a home in Santa Cruz on his teaching salary.  To earn extra money he applied for a summer truck driving job with Graniterock.  He interviewed with Betsy Woolpert for 15 minutes, and six months later Betsy called him back, with a fulltime job offer in a new sales position the company created at the Watsonville Branch.

Coming to Graniterock changed Jim’s career, but it didn’t change the nature of his work. Over the past 36 years Jim has worked at almost every concrete operation in the company. 

His coaching and teaching are always there.Jim’s philosophy can be summed up in a few words. “People will take hold of what they’re doing and ‘own their job’ not because you’ve taught them how to do it but because you’ve given them the confidence, support and self-assurance each one of them needs be successful.”“A Coach’s goal is to have everybody around them be successful—as an individual and as a member of the team—to grow enough to move on, to take over the coach’s job.”


“True success is being able to walk into your boss’s office and say ‘I’d like to try something different within the Company and I have four people that can do my job right now’.”

As a branch manager, Jim has had 50-60 people on his team- drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, salespeople. Each one is a unique and productive member within a Graniterock team.

Jim credits his success as a branch manager to  learning to be a better listener and using the right tone with each team member—skills he credits to living in a family with three strong, confident women.

“Everything I’ve ever done is related to coaching.”

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