LaVelle McCoy would like to play more golf. And fish more. And fly airplanes. Though relaxing, all of those activities take a lot of time, and the president of McCoy Motors has prioritized something else instead: giving back to the community.
Indeed, people describe McCoy as a “wonderful asset to the community,” a “good corporate citizen,” and, along with his wife, Jan, “so selfless in what they give back.”
“LaVelle’s been really deeply involved in the community for years,” said John Stigmon, economic analyst for the city.
McCoy has contributed his time, leadership and funding to a significant number of community projects throughout the course of his career, including those that serve youth and underprivileged communities, promote economic development and culture, and more.
To highlight several of his commitments, McCoy is one of the founders of the YMCA – a lengthy project that took 12 years to come to fruition – and of the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies, or NACET. He also is a trustee of the Museum of Northern Arizona. And he has worked for years with the United Way and this year is co-chairing the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign along with his wife.
“Frankly, I don’t believe NACET would be where it is today without his leadership,” said the economic development agency’s president and CEO, Russ Yelton, who added that McCoy has dedicated an “unbelievable amount of time” to its development and growth.
He is “extremely thoughtful,” Yelton added, and “clear with the role that NACET plays in the community.”
“He’s a phenomenal member of the Flagstaff community,” said Robert Breuning, director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, where Mc- Coy has served as a trustee for four years. “If we had a lot more people like LaVelle, I think a lot of our society’s problems would disappear.”
Bruening echoed what others have said, that as a leader, McCoy is thoughtful, engaged, and someone who is “highly respected by other board members.” Because of attributes like these, recently,
McCoy served as a member of the citizens’ task force that studied and prioritized, over a period of six months, the City of Flagstaff’s capital project needs and suggested several to be considered in the November bond election by voters.
“We, I think, tried to be mindful and conservative,” McCoy said of the task force’s decision-making process. “The city’s just like every other city, struggling with the budget,” he added, particularly in reference to the task force’s recommendation that voters approve funds to move from analog to digital the police and fire communication system, and assist with street repair and maintenance.
“I’ve been asked, ‘well, gee, why don’t you run for City Council?’” said McCoy, who has chosen to remain “a citizen at-large.” Formerly registered as a Republican, McCoy today is registered as an Independent, stating: “What’s more important to me is the individuals.
“Politics can put you in a different position, especially if you’re a high-profile retailer. I’ve kind of shied away from that.” In his work life, McCoy is the second-
generation president of McCoy Motors, Inc., the dealership on Switzer Canyon that his father became sole owner of in 1968. McCoy’s Flagstaff roots go even deeper – his grandfather came here on horseback in the early 1900s and worked in the logging camps.
“It was my dad’s ambition to eventually own a dealership,” said McCoy, who began working alongside his dad in high school – incidentally, at the age when he also earned his pilot’s license – and remembers selling his first car ever to a buddy.
McCoy went on to attend a year at The University of Arizona and also took classes at Northern Arizona University before choosing to concentrate on the family business. Today, his son, Greg, is the third generation to work in the family business and has been there nearly 20 years.
McCoy just chuckles when asked about retiring: “I’m asked that a lot, when am I going to retire . . .”
But to date, stepping down from any of his roles – as president or community leader – is not in his plans. There is still too much work to be done and, as McCoy says, the automotive business and his success has given him a platform from which to give back to the community.
Said McCoy, “I know that not everyone has that opportunity.” FBN