69, President and CEO, McConnell Golf
Virginia Tech, B.S.
After building and selling two medical-records software companies for a combined $1.2 billion, McConnell started his golf business by taking over Raleigh Country Club for about $6 million in 2003. McConnell Golf now owns or manages 14 courses from Knoxville, Tenn., to Myrtle Beach, S.C. The business employs more than 1,000 people.
What are North Carolina’s key challenges?
Building infrastructure to keep up with growth in population, and finding ways to bring better jobs to rural N.C.
What is the most interesting issue in the golf business right now?
Figuring out which clubs will survive in a saturated market and how can we grow the game to attract new participants.
What is something people don’t know about you?
My business success began by my being fired by another employer. That created my desire to become an entrepreneur.
Key 2018 accomplishment?
We renovated the golf course at Charlotte’s Providence Country Club, which was well-received by members. [The course was acquired in 2016.] McConnell Golf invested nearly $5 million in capital projects at our clubs in 2018.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy working with our employees, enhancing the properties and seeing members smile, having fun at our clubs while creating memories.