Q&A With Stemmons Nominees Bill Cox, Following His Father’s Footsteps
Carey Cox Co VP Bill Cox is on his way to filling the big shoes left by his dad, 2001 Stemmons Service Award winner Carey Cox. Bill and his brother David are at the helm of the family business, whose early bet on McKinney suddenly seems genius. Now, Bill is one of the four nominees for the 2015 Stemmons Award. We sat down with him for a Q&A about why the area north of Dallas is booming and how he stays grounded in the community.
Pictured, Bill, Carey and David Cox.
Bisnow: Based in McKinney, your family company is starting to see some of the benefits of the urban sprawl northward, right?
Bill: We’ve been here since 1977, when my dad started an industrial brokerage company. We have a big presence in the Collin County industrial market and do the bulk of our work here. The relocations and expansion of companies like State Farm, Liberty Mutual, FedEx and Toyota help the entire region, including McKinney. That leads to more jobs, and more jobs lead to more construction. All of those things help the residential community as well as commercial real estate.
Bisnow: Your company has a history of development, too.
Bill: Yes. We’ve been instrumental in multiple business parks and developed Interchange Business Park and Powerhouse Business Park, specifically. And we’ll do more build-to-suits in 2016.
Bisnow: Are you expecting that northern shift from Dallas to continue?
Bill: We hired some key people because of the opportunities we see in the market. There are some development opportunities within our market and the additional team members allow David and me to pursue them. We’re looking at some office/flex opportunities right now. As the market bubbles up in the next 12 to 18 months with corporate relocations, there will be opportunities. McKinney has about 5M SF of inventory, but as the growth moves north, we want to be fueled up and positioned to take advantage of it.
Bisnow: Part of the Stemmons Award is about being part of the community. What causes are you involved with and why are they important?
Bill: There is a saying that holds true: To whom much is given, much is expected. It’s true. It should be. I learned from my grandfather that you need to give back to your community. You need to serve and expect no compensation for your efforts. My entire adult life has involved serving on various nonprofit boards, serving this community. I am a member of the McKinney Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow for over 20 years, and I currently serve as Club Foundation chairman. We, as a Rotary Club, and me personally as a member of the committee, are heavily involved in the planning and development of an All Abilities Park in McKinney, a place where children with special needs will have the experience of being able to play alongside other children. This park will have equipment and special features that will change the way society views recreation and how parks of the future will be designed. It is one of very few such parks in the region.
Bisnow: Your dad was instrumental in founding the Collin County Community College. How do you keep his legacy alive?
Bill: For the last nine years, I have served on the Collin College Foundation board of directors. Currently, I serve as chairman of the Collin College Foundation board. The Foundation is one of the key components for scholarship fundraising at Collin College. The number of potential students with financial need is staggering. In 2015, the college awarded one-third of scholarship applications received. It is critical for our well-being that we support those that want to go to college.
Bisnow’s rapid fire questions for Bill:
2016 Goal: Stay focused with eyes looking forward and continue to represent our clients with passion.
Market Insight: People talk about what inning are we in. Prognosticators all have different ideas/thoughts/predictions, etc. Our position is that the market will continue to be robust as long as new jobs are being created, lenders continue to compete for new deals, and people "aim before they fire."
Bullish on: Collin County and McKinney. It’s our turn.
Favorite Food: Mexican and all the trimmings
Last Vacation: Cancun with 14 teenagers. (Does that count?)
Family: Wife Wendy, son William Carey Cox III (Trey), and daughter Caroline
Alma Mater: University of Texas
How long have run the company: 13 years with my brother David
Career Highlight: Being able to work and spend time daily with my dad Carey Cox. He taught us hard work was good for you. He was right. And, being able to successfully raise a family in the same community I was raised in. We are a fourth-generation McKinney/Collin County business family. That’s special.
First Job: City of McKinney Municipal Golf course.
Best present ever received: $1 for Christmas 1986. Best lesson I ever learned. I don’t wish another 1986 on anyone.
Dessert you can’t resist: Homemade pecan pie and vanilla ice cream
Secret Talent: Was a highly ranked dirt bike racer in a younger life.
Pictured: Bill, far left, with fellow past chairmen/women of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce.
Be sure to watch for the next installment of Q&A with the NTCAR Stemmons Service Award nominees. Here is nominee Jack Gosnell's.