Doug McCrary is a Director of Investments at Harbert Management Corporation in Birmingham, AL, where he helps manage the investments of several funds dedicated to power-related assets in North America. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2003 and was a Feldberg Fellow in the class of 2008.
Doug was born and raised in Birmingham, where his family still resides today. He played sports throughout high school and ultimately served as captain of the basketball team. A musician on the side, Doug often performed in a rock band around his hometown.
He arrived at Vanderbilt in 1999 and decided on a double major in Economics and Engineering Science. The school’s Nashville (“Music City”) location allowed Doug to continue performing in bands, one of which received airplay on a local radio station. After graduating, Doug moved to Atlanta to begin work at Accenture, a global management and consulting company. After three years on the road, managing teams and projects, he decided he wanted to change careers and pursue his MBA. Doug was originally headed to Kellogg until he received the Feldberg Fellowship and quickly decided in favor of Columbia.
Doug hit the ground running at Columbia, driven by his desire to become more involved with finance and energy, an industry in which his father and grandfather spent their entire careers. While pursuing a career in investment banking, Doug undertook leadership positions in the Energy Club and the Follies band. In 2007, Doug received a summer internship in the Natural Resources group at Goldman Sachs and ultimately secured a full-time offer to start after graduation. He remembers being abroad on spring break with his Columbia classmates when phones started ringing. It was March 2008, and apparently Bear Sterns was in trouble. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis.
"Money is a great motivator, but it is rarely the great fulfillment of life."
Doug was fortunate enough to retain his job offer, but recalls the brutal work environment during his first year on Wall Street. At Goldman, he remembers that workforce cuts were always made on Wednesdays. Surviving each week while friends lost their jobs was an emotional rollercoaster. Despite this, Doug was resilient and seized every opportunity to learn from his colleagues, whom he credits as his most valuable resource during his tenure. Doug thrived at Goldman for over six years, earning a promotion to Vice President in 2012.
On March 27, 2014, Doug’s life would be forever changed as he was diagnosed with cancer. He vividly remembers walking home from the doctor’s office on the sidewalks of Manhattan and reflecting back on his life. By most conventional definitions, his life was a success. He had received an MBA from a prestigious, Ivy League school and had a promising career at a top New York investment bank. Yet all of his accomplishments suddenly rang hollow. He recognized that he had been working constantly for the past six years, forgoing time with his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Lucy, who was just six months old at the time. Since having surgery, Doug has successfully fought off cancer and is currently in remission. But the battle reminds him every day of what matters most.
“Money is a great motivator, but it is rarely the great fulfillment of life,” explained Doug. And just as he had before seeking his MBA, Doug made the decision that he wanted more. He reached out to the Fellowship once again, and through the connections he had made therein, he began making preparations to bring his family back to Birmingham.
What immediately strikes you about Doug is that he’s not motivated to talk about his accomplishments. You actually have to pull it out of him. When he talks about that part of his life, he is clear, polite, and modest, but lacks a certain energy in his voice. Alternatively, if you want to hear Doug smile, ask him to talk about friendships from Vanderbilt, Columbia, and about the Feldbergs. Ask him about his wife, Lisa, and their two daughters, Lucy and Samantha (born January 2015), the only two fans of his music these days. That’s when you can hear the passion in his voice. In the end that’s the real goal, and Doug McCrary will tell you he may not have achieved it all as of yet, but listen to him for a few minutes and you’ll realize he is well on his way.