N.C. Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco nominated Henry McKoy (BSBA ’95), chairman and CEO of Fourth-Sector Financial, a North Carolina-based financial services corporation focused on the green and sustainability sectors, as Commerce’s new assistant secretary for community development. Below is a profile of Mr. McKoy for the Spring 2010 Issue of UNC Business Magazine.
Someone has been watching what Henry McKoy (BSBA ‘95) has been doing to encourage businesses to pay attention to the triple bottom line. Word went all the way up to President Obama, who invited McKoy to the White House last spring to discuss how sustainable enterprise fits with the new economy.
“I hope President Obama takes to heart the opportunity to be successful using the green economy as a means of having broad social impact,” McKoy says, while on his way back to Washington to meet this time with Obama administration officials. “If you’re talking about long-term sustainable growth that’s not driven by bubbles, then sustainability is the right strategy.”
McKoy founded Fourth-Sector Financial Corp. in Durham in 2006. As Fourth-Sector’s chairman and CEO, he has earned a reputation as a thought leader in green finance and strategy. His company connects sustainable businesses with capital markets. He provides technology, financial products and education to move capital through the green economy.
“So many voices out there say you have to give up something financially to have an environmental or social impact; I totally disagree,” he says.
McKoy’s passion for aiding sustainable enterprise came as an epiphany during his undergraduate days. Despite the demands of coursework and athletics — a sprinter and middle-distance runner, he was named an All-American twice and was part of the team that won the 1995 NCAA track championship — he made time for community development and outreach service.
“I recognized that the American standard of what it takes to live a decent life centered on accumulation,” he says, “and the planet couldn’t withstand that kind of impact.” He looked for ways to use his love of business to connect profitability with furthering social and environmental goals.
Immediately out of college, he worked in the cash services group at Central Carolina Bank (now SunTrust), rising to vice president. He left in 2004 to begin CASS Intelligence Networks, advising for-profits and nonprofits on advancing innovative community, environmental and economic development. CASS evolved into Fourth-Sector.
McKoy gives this advice
Persevere. Striving for the triple bottom line is harder than for a single bottom line, such as profit maximization, but it is more deeply rewarding. McKoy learned from hockey star Wayne Gretzky to “look where the puck is going, not where it is now.”
Adapt. The volatility of the economy, the environment and the societal infrastructure make adaptability critical, pushing businesses to “look at new models of innovation that may take longer to achieve but pay off in the end.”
Learn. Look hard at the past to see what led to the economic collapse. “Capital markets that like to see instant results drove the current economic climate into the crisis we have now,” McKoy says. “Concentrate on patient capital.”