Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Fred Holt

Fred F. Holt, MD, JD, AHFI  

FALL 2014

Articles in this edition:

Graduating from Georgia Tech in 1964, just four years after the School of Biology was established, Fred was among the first to obtain a degree in biology from Georgia Tech. He went on to become a medical doctor, practicing 24 years as an ear, nose, and throat specialist and surgeon. Along the way he managed to return to academia to complete a law degree, and spent 16 years in managed care as a medical director and medical fraud investigator. Fred is an Accredited Healthcare Fraud Investigator (AHFI), a Certified Professional Coder (CPC), and a Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine. While in clinical practice he was a Clinical Professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. In law school he was an editor of the West Virginia Law Review. Most recently he retired from his position as a Medical Director at BlueCross, BlueShield of North Carolina. This year Fred celebrates his 50th year as a Georgia Tech alumnus.

Fred’s passions include entrepreneurial ventures in health care. He helped start ProviderLink, a service that allows providers, payers, and other health care stakeholders to quickly and efficiently share patients’ health information on-line in a HIPAA-compliant manner. For fun, Fred breeds and trains Golden Retrievers and competes in canine agility and obedience trials.

We asked Fred to reminisce on his experiences in the School of Biology while an undergraduate at Georgia Tech:

Who was your favorite Biology professor and what was special about him?

I particularly remember Dr. Peter Gaffney.  Dr. Gaffney was not only an excellent teacher, he was also a friend who genuinely cared about his students in our then-small department of Applied Biology.  He was an advisor to whom one could go for informal counseling, and his door was always open.  He had a keen sense of humor that he shared often – during a talk on asexual reproduction, he described it as “. . . very efficient, although they really don’t get much of a kick out of it.”    

What was one of your most memorable experiences in the School of Biology and why?

Earl Roberts and I were both Young Republicans in our senior year, talking politics one Friday afternoon in November as we cleaned up after a lab.  We then walked over to another building to find Dr. Gaffney, Dr. Fetner, and several others glued to a small, black-and-white TV.  It was the day of President Kennedy’s assassination, a day no one in our generation forgets. 

Dr. Gaffney taught an elective course in Industrial Fermentations, which featured a field trip to the Carling Black Label Brewery among others.  One of the exercises involved making sauerkraut, so early one Saturday morning we gathered at Brittain Dining Hall to shred several bushels of cabbage.  One of the cooks, when Dr. Gaffney explained our mission to her, exclaimed, “You mean to tell me they can get college credit for THAT?”    

What was the most important lesson learned at Tech that has best served you in your career?

Success in life depends on learning how to balance the things you like to do with those you need to do.  I had not needed to focus heavily on my studies before leaving home for Tech.  After a somewhat uneven academic beginning, Tech taught me to budget and use my time efficiently to achieve academic success and still have free time to enjoy.  This lesson has served me well through graduate school and my career.    

Do you have some career advice for new generations of Tech Biology graduates?

Focus on your career goals as much as you need to in order to be successful.  But as soon as you can, look outward to your community and your country, and don’t be shy about offering your services there when you think you should.  And, after you engage in proper due diligence, don’t be afraid to trust your gut feelings when making major decisions just because you fear the down side.  You’ll look back and find you were right the vast majority of the time.