Port Arthur’s George McCoy maintains heart of an entrepreneur

Published 12:40 am Thursday, July 6, 2023

George McCoy built a successful career as an international entrepreneur, and now his goal is to provide similar opportunities to students at his alma mater. 

Baylor University is honored to receive a $1M endowed scholarship to benefit students studying at the Hankamer School of Business.

McCoy was born and raised in Port Arthur, and the refinery was a significant employer in the 50s, but McCoy wanted to expand his horizons.

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“I was going to college,” he said. “No one in my family had ever gone to college, but I was determined to go.”

McCoy was interested in Baylor University and soon found himself in Waco. He graduated in 1957. 

Following his stint in the U.S. Army, he started graduate school at the University of Texas. 

After finishing his degree in Austin, McCoy was hired by Continental Oil Company – now known as Conoco Inc.- to work in the headquarters in Ponca City, Oklahoma. 

After stints in Houston and Abilene, Wichita, Kansas and Oklahoma City, McCoy was transferred to the newly established International Division in New York City. This opened the doors for McCoy to travel across the globe. 

Shortly after moving to Manhattan, Conoco’s manager in Asia retired and McCoy was asked to take his place. 

In this role, he began traveling across Asia. On a trip to Malaysia, he stayed at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, where he came across an old friend, an entertainer named Freddie Tira. 

Tira was going to lunch with Robert, the maître’ d of the supper club, and who had also invited his sister, Carol. After the lunch, Robert headed back to work, but McCoy, Freddie and Carol talked for hours. 

“Before our time was up, I said to myself, I am going to marry that girl,” McCoy recalls. 

That he did. McCoy and Carol married in 1979 in Thailand. Four years later, the couple decided to form their own business.

“I had always wanted to be in business for myself,” he said. “This seemed like a good opportunity.” 

The goal was to provide an exchange of technology to Thailand. 

Thailand was stepping into oil exploration, and the McCoys could provide support with their knowledge and skillsets. Thus, the formation of OilTex Thailand Company Limited, where all the employees were Thai nationals.

The original plan was to open a repair facility to restore downhole drilling equipment. They soon built a factory, offices and a warehouse. Oilfield tool suppliers began to contact the McCoys for warehouse space for their products, and the couple became these companies’ sales representatives. 

Carol played a crucial role in this aspect of the business. 

“She is a very good salesperson, and I am not,” he said. “If I am selling you this cup of coffee and you say you do not drink coffee, I would say, ‘OK, forget about it. Let’s drink some Coke.’ Carol would sit there and talk you into liking coffee.”

Carol McCoy learned to speak Thai and could communicate with the staff and technicians. This provided her with a lot of experience and credibility. 

Soon she was traveling to work sites. Carol McCoy would not stand for anything that was less than perfection – which was a must in the precision machining needed for oil rigs. 

The McCoys stayed with their highly successful company for 15 years, training roughly 35 people along the way. 

In 1996, they sold an 80 percent of OilTex and moved back to the U.S. a year later but continue to maintain the 20 percent interest in their company. 

George McCoy was elected president emeritus of OilTex by the Board.

For George McCoy’s vision of introducing the service and repair of oilfield equipment—formerly, this service was carried out in Singapore — this new technology was recognized as a dedication of service to the Kingdom of Thailand. 

George McCoy was honored with a medal of this service from the King of Thailand. 

Since returning to the U.S., the McCoys have focused their efforts on providing resources to future entrepreneurs enrolled at Baylor to achieve their dreams. 

Written by Ashley Kim