Hall of Distinction Class of 2015-2016

Graves was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and moved to Opelousas, Louisiana, at age six where he attended elementary and high school. He graduated from what is now Opelousas Catholic in a pre-college curriculum. His extracurricular activities included football, basketball, track and student government.

Graves lost his father as a junior in high school which necessitated his having to provide his own college expenses. Having been inspired by President Kennedy’s challenge to put men on the moon, Graves was drawn to Aeronautical Engineering at LSU and enrolled in 1959.

Aeronautical engineering was replaced by civil engineering as he believed he might prefer the outdoors work environment offered by civil. Larry McKee gave John his first job in the engineering business as a rodman in a field survey crew. Maintaining a full time job while attending school, he graduated from LSU in the spring of 1965 with a BS in civil engineering. With his sights set on being in the consulting engineering business, Graves spent the next year taking selective, mostly graduate level course work in business administration.

Graves’ first full time job was with Edward E. Evans & Associates in 1968. Evans, a former LSU professor of structural engineering, founded the firm in 1953. John credits Evans as an excellent teacher from whom he learned a great deal beginning with structural work on the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center. In the early 1970s, Evans believed that he had serious health problems—which turned out to be less severe than anticipated—and effectively turned over the day-to-day operation of the firm to Graves.

Graves acquired full ownership of the firm in 1986, at which time the name was changed to Evans-Graves Engineers, Inc. Over 35 years of his work experience has been spent as a Principal of Evans-Graves Engineers, Inc., where he is responsible for plan production and management of all phases of projects undertaken by the firm.