by nathan oster
Marilyn McCoy, the new executive director of the Greybull Area Chamber of Commerce, shouldn’t have a problem selling the many attributes of the community to tourists or business leaders looking for a place to relocate.
In just a matter of a few years, she’s gone from being something of an outsider, a big-city girl accustomed to running in the fast lane of airline acquisitions and mergers, to a “nana” bent on slowing down and watching her grandchildren grow through their various extracurricular pursuits. Along the way, she’s fallen in love with Greybull.
The first of those grandchildren to pass through the Greybull schools was Dillon McCoy, who was a junior when Marilyn and her husband Mike arrived in town in 2009. Then came Paul Stewart, Samantha Stewart, and Dustin Fox. The youngest of the four, Dustin is heading into his senior year at GHS.
Marilyn said she and her husband initially planned to stay in Greybull until Dustin graduated.
That plan has changed.
They’re here for the long haul.
“We always talked about going to our ‘final resting place,’ and maybe moving just one more time,” said Marilyn. “We wanted to live in a small town; that much we knew. But then we considered all the other things that are important to us.
“When we did that, we looked around and said, ‘It’s here.’ This is where we want to live. This is where we want to stay. We’re remodeling our entire home, making it what we want. We are both very comfortable with the decision.”
Through her new role with the chamber, she’ll have a chance to shape her new community.
“Selling this town won’t be difficult,” she said. “We’ve been through the process. We’ve compared. A lot of retired people say quality health care is important; well, those things are available here. And for young families, it’s a great place to raise your children.
“There are so many positive things to sell about Greybull, I think it almost sells itself.”
Marilyn is from Tulsa, Okla. Her resume includes a short stint as a legal assistant, more than 20 years with Sabre, Inc., where she began as a TPF application programmer and worked her way up to integrated delivery director, and four years (2005-09) as an enterprise program director for Electronic Data System (EDC).
It was in 2009, when Marilyn took early retirement from EDS, that the McCoys moved to Greybull. Initially it was quite an adjustment. “It took a little time to get used to it,” she said.
A key moment in the transition came when Marc Graham, then the music teacher at GHS, asked Marilyn if she’d like to get involved in the music program. She accepted the offer, and over the course of the next several years, she volunteered her time and talent designing and cataloging over 10,000 pieces of music and playing piano for various school and community performances.
“That was a lifesaver,” she said. “I was used to working a lot, and under a lot of pressure, for sometimes as many as 15 to 16 hours a day. Then I came to Greybull and … it was kind of like, ‘What do I do now?’”
After her arrival in Greybull, she continued to work for some people in Tulsa, who wanted her to play a role in WPX Energy’s acquisition of ACMP Energy Company, but drew the line in June of 2015, telling them she was tired of going back and forth and wanted to get more involved in Greybull. In April of this year, Mike followed suit, retiring from his job as a regional sales manager for Hoerbiger, Inc.
In their 47 years of marriage, Mike and Marilyn have traveled extensively.
They’re ready to put that behind them.
Marilyn was getting her hair cut at Kay’s Korner Kuts Thursday when Kay Fleek, the president of the chamber, took a phone call. After she hung up and returned to Marilyn, Kay mentioned how important it was for the chamber to find the right fit for the executive director position held until recently by Selena Brown. Marilyn expressed interest and things fell into place quickly after that. The next day, the chamber’s board of directors interviewed Marilyn and offered her the job. She accepted soon thereafter and started on Tuesday morning.
Marilyn said she’s excited about the challenge and feels like her ability to get everyone to work together, which served her so well for so many years professionally, will benefit her as the new point person for the chamber. She also has experience in program management and working with budgets.
Marilyn said she knows a number of people, many of them retired school district employees, who have the time and are just looking for ways in which to serve their community. She envisions asking them to help along in the planning and carrying out of events.
While she hasn’t spent much time at the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting, Marilyn said she supports the museum, as well as all the positive things happening in the downtown area.
The chamber’s regular hours, for the short term at least, are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.