O. Palmer Gillis
Founder, Chairman and CEO
Palmer Gillis, founder of Gillis Gilkerson, brings more than 35 years of experience in the construction industry. He is a hands-on chairman and CEO, involved in all aspects of the business, including sales, estimating, purchasing, project management and senior administrative functions.
Gillis earned his degree in Business Administration from Salisbury University in 1975. In 2000 he graduated from Leadership Maryland, a prestigious statewide program designed to develop and foster community leadership skills among corporate leaders in Maryland.
As a business owner, Palmer has been an active leader in the growth and development of the Salisbury community through his numerous civic contributions. A former city councilman, he also served on the Salisbury Wicomico County Planning and Zoning Commission. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the past president of the Salisbury Jaycees.
Palmer has also served as Director of the Greater Salisbury Committee; Vice Chair of the Salisbury University Foundation; Vice President of the Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development; President of the Salisbury Downtown Association; Director of Maple Shade Residential Homes and is on the Peninsula Mercantile Advisory Board. He has served on the Salisbury University Foundation Board of Directors, chairing the Foundation House Planning Committee, and served on the Salisbury University Board of Visitors. In 2011, Maryland Capital Enterprises unveiled their annual “Palmer Gillis Entrepreneur of the Year Award” named in his honor.
Dwight Miller has worked his way to his current position, as they say, from the ground, up. He joined Gillis Gilkerson in 1986 as an assistant estimator and construction coordinator. His first project was managing the construction of a poultry processing plant in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.
Dwight’s leadership skills soon became evident, and in just three years he had risen through the ranks to be named vice president in charge of administration, estimating, project management and sales. In 2004, with the retirement of Tony Gilkerson, he was tapped to serve as president of the company.
Dwight has been active in fundraising for Lower Shore charities such as Coastal Hospice, the Salvation Army and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. He is past officer of the Eastern Shore chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.; is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Wicomico County, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. In 1998, Miller served as member of the Rotary International Group Study Exchange Team to Saitama Province, Japan.
Prior to his tenure at Gillis Gilkerson, Dwight worked for the Matthews-Dean Construction Company. He also served as a sales representative in the computer/CAD industry and worked for several other construction companies as a carpenter.
A 1978 graduate of Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore, Miller earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Salisbury University in 1982. He resides with his family in Salisbury, Maryland.
James “J.B.” Barnes
James B. Barnes is a construction industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience – more than two decades of that with Gillis Gilkerson.
J.B., as he is known to all, began his tenure with the firm first as a superintendent and then as a project manager. Today, he serves as operations manager and is responsible for the management of all employees and is the overall supervisor of all construction jobs.
Prior to joining Gillis Gilkerson, J.B. spent 15 years managing his own company which remodeled homes and provided oversight of renovations and restoration for insurance projects. J.B. attributes his success at Gillis Gilkerson to an ability to work with people from all walks of life garnered from his years as an entrepreneur.
A 1971 graduate of Bennett High School, Barnes studied business at Chesapeake Community College. He received the Shining Star award in 2000 for his contribution to the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore and has been active in the Little League Board of Directors in Salisbury. He resides with his wife and family in Salisbury, Md.
Tyler Barnes was promoted to vice president of Gillis Gilkerson in August, 2017. He is responsible for project development, estimating, coordinating and directing the day to day management of construction projects from inception through completion. In addition, he manages the administrative and technical side of projects to ensure quality work is delivered on time and on budget.
Barnes brings twelve years of construction experience to the position. In 2010, upon graduation from University of Maryland Eastern Shore, with a Bachelor of Science in construction management, Barnes worked for Bozzuto in Washington DC. He was given the opportunity to work on a variety of complex, urban/infill and mixed-use projects. Other experience included his work as an owner representative and construction manager for The University of Maryland, College Park.
Barnes served as the Safety Representative for the Department of Design and Construction while at University of Maryland and also received the State of Maryland Soil Erosion and Sediment Control certification. He is also OSHA 30 and Green Globes Professional certified. He is a Blood Bank of Delmarva member and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
Chief Development Officer of Devreco Development Real Estate Company and Gillis Gilkerson
Meredith (Merry) Mears is the Chief Development Officer of Devreco Development Real Estate Company and Gillis Gilkerson and brings more than 15 years of experience in economic, community and workforce development. Mears shares a passion for real estate development and building communities in ways that will ultimately benefit economic modernization, growth of local businesses and social well-being of its residents. She has structured a variety of business deals to help entities obtain financing from public and private lenders and has for years worked alongside bankers, investors and other financiers on loan committees with the commitment to move deals forward.
As the former director of economic development for Worcester County, Maryland, Mears provided leadership for business attraction, expansion and retention efforts while executing job creation strategy. Ms. Mears remains committed to her focus of building and sustaining strategic partnerships to establish and grow local industries and jobs for the communities she serves. Prior to joining Worcester County Economic Development, Ms. Mears was the workforce division director for the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland where she oversaw a $1 million budget for workforce development services in the region. As an active member of the Maryland Economic Development Association, Ms. Mears is engaged in statewide issues affecting infrastructure, jobs and industry.
She is a member of Leadership Maryland, a selected group of Maryland’s best and brightest leaders enlisted to create actionable, positive change in their communities, and she holds seats on several Boards of Directors including the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), the MEDA Foundation, Maryland Capital Enterprises, the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and the Delmarva Water Transport Committee. Ms. Mears is also a Local Advisory Board member and Planning Council member for Wor-Wic Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with a concentration in marketing from Salisbury University.