Founding Partner Halley Retires

Samuel H. Halley III, FAIA, is retiring after leading Omni Architects for forty years.

Samuel H. Halley III, FAIA, is retiring after leading Omni Architects for forty years. Halley co-founded the firm with Joe Williams (retired) in 1975 and has since served as President and managing partner.

Over the course of his career, Sam has been recognized and honored by AIA National and AIA Kentucky. In 2010, Sam was honored as a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects - an honor that is reserved for those professionals who have contributed significantly to the industry through service, education, design, and community engagement. Sam also served AIA Kentucky to provide leadership on tough issues that affected the entire profession, as well as local, regional, and national allies.

Larry Leis, FAIA and Sam's colleague, recalls, "In 1997, Kentucky, and many other southern states, were faced with a model Owner/Architect agreement crafted by the National Construction Law Center (NCLC) in Atlanta, Georgia. It was infamously dubbed the “Contract from Hell”, and was being promoted by many southern State Attorney Generals who were looking for a way to absolve their various states agencies and universities from any responsibility for the construction process. In the mid-1990’s, we are talking about billions of dollars in construction in the pipeline. This contract, among other things, was uninsurable and no one in their right mind could sign this contract. What did Sam do about it? He formed a coalition with the Engineers of Kentucky (who outnumber architects five to one) and he secured the legal expertise of all the major insurance carriers and a nationally-known trial lawyer, Robert Brooks (a very skilled negotiator), who, after 2 ½ years of applying common sense and reality education, convinced the Commonwealth of Kentucky to abandon this C.F.H. Contract. Subsequently, Sam Halley and Robert Brooks provided AIA, nationally, the ammunition they needed to help other states stave off the attempts to destroy all of the time-tested AIA contract documents. This was a very serious issue for all AIA architects."

Sam is revered for his leadership, mentorship to interns and students, and his involvement in the formation and development of the University of Kentucky College of Architecture. Sam received 14 design awards (including two Distinguished Firm Awards and Kentucky’s highest award, the Oberworth Award). Just as important and rewarding to Sam has been his service as a City Council member in Lexington, Kentucky, and the numerous committees within the Lexington Metro Government Community.