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Business is all in the McKinney Family

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mandy McKinney and her grandfather, Charles Ballard, visit with Condoleezza Rice during her Executive Management Briefing trip to Oklahoma. Photo / Genesee Photo

By the time 8-year-old Logan McKinney and his 4-year-old brother Lane enroll at Oklahoma State University, they will have been raised on 120 acres of land filled with roaming cattle. And they will spend their spare time showing pigs and riding horses — a promise from their parents Doug and Mandy McKinney.

Doug and Mandy will have spent their spare time perusing their passion of running a successful auction business, while she continues managing programs at the Spears School of Business and he continues working as a technical director in the oil and gas industry.

Mandy, a Del City, Oklahoma native is a program manager in the Spears School’s Center for Executive and Professional Development (CEPD). She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Spears School in 1997. Doug earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from OSU in 1995 and a master’s degree in agricultural leadership from Stephen F. Austin University in 2002.

It’s no secret that the McKinneys are an OSU family. Mandy’s brother and sister are OSU alums, and she also has several cousins who attended.

She and Doug, a native of Porter, Oklahoma, met at the Tumbleweed, a popular Stillwater dance hall. “I was standing with a friend next to the dance floor, looking to see who was there to dance with and suddenly a stranger took my hand and led me onto the dance floor. About halfway around, he asked me, ‘Wanna dance?’ ”

That was almost 20 years ago. The couple celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary earlier this year. “At the time, I couldn’t remember his name, so I called him my good dancin’ boy for about a week,” Mandy laughs. “We started dating, and the rest is history.” 

In 2010, they started McKinney Auctions. The McKinneys conduct numerous auctions, large and small, on site and hold a quarterly consignment auction at their newly purchased 120-acre tract of land in Wagoner County.

After the sale of their current home in Stillwater, they will build a house on the new property that will also serve as their main auction site. The McKinneys will raise cattle and keep their promise to the boys, allowing them to raise pigs and ride horses.

Doug is well known for his extensive knowledge in the agriculture industry and carries his expertise into the auction marketplace. He understands the value of personal property and can get the information needed to successfully buy and sell. “That’s what makes our auctions so successful,” Mandy says.

At auctions, Doug plays the role of owner, operator, head auctioneer and customer service manager. “To Doug it’s all about providing good customer service to the consigners and buyers,” says Mandy. “He may be approached 50 times a day by random buyers who have questions about certain items, and he takes care of them all.”

Mandy applies the skills she learned while obtaining her marketing degree and working as a coordinator in the Spears School. “I manage the office end of the business,” she says. “There are many details on the back end of an auction that no one sees,” very similar to a CEPD program. We take care of everything behind the scenes to make the big things happen. 

“Auction day at McKinney Auctions is 12 to 14 hours of controlled chaos,” says Mandy, who spends auction day in the registration trailer that’s been transformed into a high-tech mobile office with computers, printers and an Internet connection.

While Doug and Mandy are busy with their auction duties, you can find Logan and Lane exploring the auction yard under the watchful eye of Doug’s mother, Rita McKinney.Susan Mahaffey, Mandy’s mother, also helps with the boys when Mandy’s CEPD workload and auction calendars overlap.

But they aren’t the only family on site. “Doug’s dad Marshall also helps tremendously with the auction,” says Mandy. “We have cousins, Dale and Karen Powell, who are also heavily involved. Doug’s nephew Jarrod often helps. Also his brothers, Aaron and Steven, and his wife, Terry, also helps when they can. This last auction, my sister, Mayme Mockabee, helped me in the office,” she says.

There is no doubt McKinney Auctions is a family business. “There are so many to mention, cousins, aunts, uncles. If you are in the McKinney family, consider yourself roped in,” says Mandy. “I think we have included every family member into the business in one aspect or another and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love working with our family and couldn’t be successful without them.”

“Our ultimate goal for McKinney Auctions is to continue to grow and establish an honest family business for years to come.”

“I love my job here … It is hard work and challenging at times, but it is also fun and rewarding. The people are what make it such a great place to be.” — Mandy McKinney, with husband Doug and sons Lane and Logan. Photo Courtesy of Mikey Neeley/Spears School

As a young couple, the McKinneys lived in East Texas where Doug  was a county agriculture extension agent. But after 11 years in Texas, the desire for their infant son, Logan, to be closer to his grandparents drew them back to Oklahoma. 

Doug was hired onto the faculty with the OSU Animal Science Department as a beef cattle specialist and Mandy started as a program coordinator with CEPD. “We moved back home on Logan’s first birthday,” she says.

During her time as an undergrad at OSU, Mandy was a work-study student in the Spears School’s Support Services office. “I absolutely loved my work in Support Services,” she says. “So when we had a chance to come back to Stillwater after being in Texas for 11 years, we took it. And when I had the opportunity to come back and work at the Spears School again, there was no question, I had to take it.” 

When the family moves to Wagoner County, Mandy will be more than 100 miles from Stillwater. Fortunately, she’ll have the opportunity to join two other CEPD staff members at the OSU-Tulsa office. 

“I am grateful to CEPD Director Julie Weathers for allowing me the flexibility to work from the OSU-Tulsa office while keeping my same duties as program manager,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave CEPD, and we were so excited when she said I could stay.” 

“I love my job here in CEPD and the Spears School. It is hard work and challenging at times, but it is also fun and rewarding. The people are what make it such a great place to be,” she says.

CEPD hired Mandy as a program coordinator in June 2008. In March 2013, she was promoted to program manager. 

One of her roles is to coordinate the Executive Management Briefings in Oklahoma City. The program allows Oklahoma professionals to interact with the some of the world’s most influential business and political leaders to enhance quality leadership in Oklahoma City and the state. 

“Our hope is that by bringing these speakers to the state that our participants gain knowledge to use in making daily decisions as well as gain a better understanding of world affairs,” says Mandy. Since the start of the program in 1989, nearly 80 world-renowned speakers have traveled to Oklahoma City for the Executive Management Briefings. 

“What I enjoy most about EMB is meeting and working with the successful and interesting business leaders — some more memorable than others,” says Mandy, who remembers being surprised with Ben Stein’s choice of restaurant —the Waffle House — when he spoke in 2014.

“I also really enjoy planning the details of a large conference and watching all of your plans follow through to a successful program,” she says. 

The Center for Executive and Professional Development, the outreach branch of Oklahoma State’s business school for 62 years, continues to stimulate the state’s economy by providing over 210 different innovative executive and professional development programs to more than 15,000 people each year.

Weathers, who has led the Spears School’s outreach branch since 1994, says it’s through the hard work of Mandy and others that CEPD’s unique programs continue to make a difference.

“Mandy is a very organized individual who has great follow-through and a love for OSU and marketing our executive and management development programs through the Spears School of Business,” says Weathers. “She meets high expectations in offering quality programs with our faculty, conferences on specific industry topics, and our outstanding speaker series. She is a joy to work with, a great team member, and has a very positive attitude toward co-workers, faculty and clients in carrying out our programs in a highly effective manner.”

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