The name “Bishop House Consulting” doesn’t have any intentional connections to the Catholic church. Neither did it originate from the founder’s like or dislike of the game of chess. Instead, it was the result of two odd, unrelated factors: a little old house in the middle of Nowhere, Maryland and a dry throat in need of a cold beer.

The first factor, the house, was built in the small mining town of Kitzmiller, Maryland by Michael Holland’s great-grandfather, John Bishop, and his father. Although not a popular vacation destination for most people, this town- particularly this house- was host to many merry family gatherings. The Bishop  clan would come to visit, bringing their families along with them, and Michael remembers the house full of the rambunctious joviality of a crowd of cousins, aunts, and uncles- and, of course, Grandma Mary , who had grown up in the house. To the visitors, and also to the people of Kitzmiller, the house was known as “The Bishop House”.

But great-grandfather Bishop was elderly, and after he passed away, the house faded into the memories of the visitors, though it stayed in the family. Grandma Mary retired to Ireland, but when her husband fell ill, they moved back, and Grandma Mary decided that she wanted to live in the old Bishop House once again.  The renewed house rang with the happy sounds of family coming to visit. To Michael, it was more than just a house: it was a symbol of family strength and togetherness.

Now for the second factor: the cold beer. Years later, Michael was in the process of founding this company, and he needed a name. He’d come up with a list of possibilities, but they all tasted flat to him. He wanted something else… something more meaningful. One evening, as he sat before a notebook full of potential names for his company, he went absently to the fridge for a beer. As the refrigerator door swung shut, his gaze landed on a picture pinned to the front by a magnet.

The smiling faces of his family looked out at him from the front porch of The Bishop House: his wife, Barb, and their three children, along with himself and Grandma Mary.

An idea started to form in his mind then, and he tried it out: Bishop House… Bishop House Consulting. The words seemed right, somehow. They held personal meaning, of course, for deep family roots that The Bishop House stood for. But there was a broader metaphor, too, in the sprawling old house: its many rooms symbolized the many ways in which the firm would help organizations.  And that is how, thanks to an old house and a cold beer, the new company found its name.


Grandma (GG) and Holland Family - Summer 1997

Mike and his family with Grandma at the Bishop House (Don’t worry, the gun isn’t real!)