|A 1972 graduate of Tara High School in Baton Rouge, McKay studied history and English at Louisiana State University, also in Baton Rouge. While playing on an American Legion baseball team sponsored by Audubon Ford, a Baton Rouge dealership, he was given the opportunity to work part time at the store while attending college.
McKay moved on to a few other stores and rose to sales management before striking out on his own. “On October 19,1987, I purchased my first dealership with a partner, which opened the day the stock market crashed,” he said. By 2008, he bought out his partner and today, the All Star Automotive Group includes 11 Louisiana dealerships located in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs and Prairieville, representing 13 franchises. Committed to giving back to his community, McKay champions many educational initiatives. “I was raised by two educators and attended public schools, so it was important for me to invest in the public school system,” he said.
To that end, he led the establishment of the Ascension Fund for Academic Excellence in 1991, which awards grants to individual teachers and schools to inspire excellence in public education. “Our original goal was $750,000 and to date, we have given $1.45 million in awards,” he said. “The current endowment balance is $1.5 million to fund future grants.”
McKay has also underwritten the Scholastic Read and Rise program to promote literacy in 24 low-income Baton Rouge-area schools. He is a major contributor to the McKay Academic Center for Excellence at Dunham School in Baton Rouge for students who learn differently; The Emerge Center in Baton Rouge, which is dedicated to optimizing independent communication and social interaction skills; THRIVE, a school that empowers students from underserved areas of Baton Rouge; and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s Hunger to Hope campaign.
His most rewarding civic achievement is establishing the McKay Automotive Technology Center at Baton Rouge Community College. “I led a 10-year, $51 million effort between the local government, East Baton Rouge Parish public school system, Baton Rouge Community College, automobile manufacturers and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to establish this center for auto technician training,” he said.
For his good works, McKay was proud to receive the Outstanding Leadership in Corporate Philanthropy award in 2012 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Baton Rouge Chapter. “It is meaningful as it recognized all of my efforts to give back to the community that has given me so much,” he said.