Our Patrons - Bill & Gail McCormick

The Trust was thrilled to announce former U.S.Ambassador William (Bill) McCormick and his wife Gail as our Patrons in 2017. We are very grateful for their on-going interest in our work.

Born in Providence in Rhode Island Bill McCormick is an American businessman and diplomat who served as the United States ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa from October 2005 – January. Gail and Bill have six children.

Ambassador McCormick received the Sue Cobb Award for his service in New Zealand. He and Gail were a ‘much-loved diplomatic couple during their stay in Aotearoa. They owned a property on the Kapiti Coast and have a long-standing affection for the district.

Ambassador McCormick attended Roger Williams University and Boston University while serving in the United States Army Reserve Military Police  until he was honourably discharged in 1963.

He moved to northern California and worked in the brokerage office of Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in San Francisco until 1965. He then branched out to become a partner in the Refectory Steak House Restaurant chain. In the early 1970s the McCormicks moved to Portland, Oregon, and Bill sold his interest in the Refectory Restaurants.

In 1971, he bought Jake's Famous Crawfish restaurant, subsequently partnering with Doug Schmick to develop the company into a chain of 60 McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants in 22 states and employing over 8,000 people. 

Ambassador McCormick attended the Harvard Business School, Executive Management Program, in 1979.

Throughout his business career Mr McCormick developed a reputation for his civic and charitable involvement. He was awarded the Secretary's Award by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for his contributions to, and recognition of, the nation's veterans. (Each year McCormick & Schmick Seafood Restaurants provided over 17,000 complimentary meals to veterans visiting any McCormick & Schmick Restaurant on Veterans Day).

Ambassador McCormick is co-chair of the Portland Opera Foundation, and successfully raised $24 million to help sustain the organization in the future. Under President George W. Bush, McCormick served on the President's Committee of the Arts & Humanities.