Interviewed May 2009
BASE Advisory Board member and Kenan-Flagler alum, Henry McKoy (BSBA '95), had the good fortune to travel to Washington, D.C. earlier this spring to meet and speak with President Barack Obama. Henry's story growing up a smart, poor kid in North Carolina who could run pretty fast to the CEO of Fourth-Sector Bancorp is a compelling one.
Henry was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC. His early influences were varied. "My parents played a major role as did my big family (there were 6 of us). I grew up in the country, so always had an appreciation and love of nature. I also grew up poor, in a poor community, which also had an influence on me. However, my entrance into the academically gifted program in elementary school exposed me to a great deal of things - such as computers. I first learned and became interested in business via a computer game called "The Hot Dog Game" in 5th grade. I was also a pretty good runner and at the age of 12 traveled across the country. I saw that there were both good people and hard problems all across the nation."
Henry's interest in social equity blossomed at a national championship track meet in Hershey, PA. "On a tour of the Hershey factory, I learned how Milton Hershey used his company to positively impact workers and orphans. That is when I realized business could be a force for good in the world."
Combining his background in computer science, economics, sociology and business with 10 years managing multi-billion business units, brought Henry to his current job as Chairman and CEO of Fourth-Sector Bancorp, a financial services company based in Durham, NC, but with a national/international presence focused on connecting sustainable enterprises with appropriate capital and advisory services. Their goal is to fund the sustainable enterprise movement by helping to increase the amount of capital available to those businesses and entrepreneurs throughout their life cycle. "I am passionate about using business to impact people's lives in positive ways, but realize that the only way to ensure that most people live decent and plentiful lives is to balance that with the resources of the earth and do so in a way that allows the work to be sustainable over time (people, planet, profits)."
Fourth-Sector Bancorp is working on numerous projects: Solar and PV installers to create affordable financing options for their customers, advising on sustainable financing policy at the local, state, and federal levels to policy leaders, legislators, and governments, advising some local governments on strategies for financing electric vehicles within their fleet, and advising organizations and governments on innovative financing designs for conservation easements. This is in addition to a number of other unique projects to connect strategies around the triple bottom line.
Henry's academic background in computer science, economics, business and sociology plays a role in his everyday work as he tries to help clients solve very hard problems around sustainability. "Beyond that, the work of Fourth-Sector is predicated on relationships with diverse populations of players and collaborators. Kenan-Flagler Business School and UNC as a whole, was a great environment for the kinds of interactions that I have every day. There is nothing finer than to be a Tar Heel grad!"