Brian McCoy, president, McCoy's Building Supply
Robie Capps Brian McCoy, president, McCoy's Building Supply

There's an unmarked parking spot at McCoy's Building Supply headquarters in San Marcos, Texas, that goes unused nearly every day. It was where Emmett McCoy parked his vehicle in the days when he oversaw much of the dealer's vast growth across the Southwest and then kept an eye on the company after his retirement 11 years ago. Poor health keeps him away nowadays, yet none of the employees has taken over the spot, even though room in the lot is tight. Only Emmett's wife Miriam pulls into that space when she makes an occasional visit.

Brian McCoy, Emmett and Miriam's son, views that tacitly reserved space as a sign of the respect McCoy's employees have for his dad. It's well-earned respect, and not just for how the McCoy family supports those employees. Its donations of time, funds, supplies, and care to a variety of community causes and to the LBM industry are so outstanding, the McCoys have earned the ProSales' 2008 Public Service Leader award.

"Sometimes people in business have to get inspired by others, they have to look at the ways they can give back. I know I was inspired by my parents," says Brian, president and principal owner of McCoy's.

"The McCoy family has been exceptional volunteer members since Emmett and Miriam McCoy's involvement in the 1980s, and Brian's after Emmett's retirement," says Barbara Douglas, executive vice president of the Lumbermen's Association of Texas (LAT).

Over the years, whether it was a phone call to Emmett or Brian for assistance or a solid chunk of industry knowledge, Douglas always received an immediate reply. "It's really refreshing for a non-profit association like ourselves to have the participation from a family that is very involved in its own business," Douglas says.

With Meagan Jones, Brian's daughter, joining the company full time in recent years and now an assistant manager at the company's south Austin location, the dealer is now a fourth-generation family-run business. Jones is slated to move back into a position at headquarters in August.

Like her father and grandfather, who were named LAT's Lumberman of the Year for 2008 and 1990, respectively, Jones has wasted little time in throwing herself into the mix. Jones is a member of LAT's board of directors and co-chairs the association's legislative committee. Brian also sits on the board of directors while holding the officer's position of sergeant at arms.

Endowing the Community

Time and service are far from all the McCoy family has donated to Texas and its communities. Arguably its largest regional gift is a $20 million endowment in 2000 to Texas State University in San Marcos, near McCoy's headquarters and roughly 30 miles south of Austin. Earmarked for the university's business school, the funds are used at the Emmett and Miriam McCoy College of Business Administration, named in their honor. Last year, the pair, married 62 years, were presented with honorary doctorate degrees from the school, becoming only the seventh and eighth individuals the university has honored, joining the likes of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson.

"They really are such wonderful donors. You can tell they get genuine satisfaction and joy seeing how this gift unfolded," says Denise Smart, dean of the Emmett and Miriam McCoy College of Business Administration. The endowment has been put to use for scholarships, hiring faculty, and improving the overall quality of education at the college.

"They care about their families, ethical business practices, and the families in their community. Those are the traits we want our students to have when they enter the business world," Smart says. "I don't think anyone knows the extent of what they have donated."

In 2007, the McCoys also presented $500,000 to the Hays-Caldwell Women's Center in San Marcos for a new family violence shelter. Another $500,000 was pledged in a challenge grant that will be presented after an additional $500,000 is raised. The center provides crisis intervention, education, and prevention services to victims of violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in Hays and Caldwell counties.

"I've received a lot of the responsibility for giving and being active from my parents," Brian says. Outside of direct contributions from McCoy's Building Supply, Brian and his wife of 32 years, Wetonnah, whom he met in a 10th grade biology class, also have made significant financial contributions to the community.

Bigger Than Texas

But there is still a business to run, with 84 stores in 86 locations (the other two are door and millwork shops) in Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The territory is so vast, Brian often travels via a pair of airplanes the company maintains.

"I'm moving around a fair amount all of the time, and I love it. I never tire of it. It's always fun to get rolling in the morning," says Brian, who has been active in the company for much of his life. He helped frame a portion of the headquarters McCoy's uses today.

Since graduating from Texas Tech University in 1972, Brian has worked full time at McCoy's. For a long stretch, both his brothers were there, too, before Dennis McCoy's death in a plane crash in 1985, and Mike McCoy's decision to sell his stake.

For the last decade, McCoy's chose to improve its infrastructure instead of expanding by leaps and bounds. Upgrades have been made to all but 20 locations, or locations have been moved altogether to a better, newer facility in the same community.

Sales grew from $14 million in 1972 to $500 million in 2000. And from 2000 to 2005, sales grew to $568 million without opening a single new store, a feat of which Brian is quite proud. Don't expect him to take much credit for the accomplishment, though. He views the success as an example of how strong the dealer's management team is. In 2008, McCoy's ranked 11th on the ProSales 100, with sales of $567 million.

"This is far from being the Brian McCoy show," he says. "We have a tremendous team with a lot of tenure on our management staff." McCoy's employees, both in its headquarters and in stores, wear name tags that also display their company tenure. It's not unusual to see 20 or 25 years on those tags. "I couldn't be more proud of them."