Our View: Remembering a giant of the region’s business community
Patrick James McCarthy, known simply as Pat, did not invent the idea of a tri-county economy.
But thanks to a creative mind and a strong work ethic, he built a powerhouse construction firm that specialized in commercial-scale residential projects on a regionwide basis. Irreverent at times, always unflappable and with a keen sense of opportunity, his no-nonsense style fit perfectly into the corporate culture on the Central Coast.
He was just 66 when he passed away Jan. 29 after a long illness. He was surrounded by his family in his final days.
A lifelong Ventura County resident, McCarthy was born in Oxnard, graduated from Santa Clara High School and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in business administration and finance. He supported himself through college with a small business specializing in home repairs and painting.
In 1980 he started what became McCarthy Companies. Like the late Michael Towbes, another visionary businessman and Business Times Hall of Fame member, McCarthy believed in the dictum that if you could get to a site and back in a day’s drive, it was worth bidding on.
It was not unusual to run into him in a coffee shop in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara or downtown Ventura looking over plans with his children and business partners Sarah or Peter, meeting a client halfway to save time and mileage. His ability to see opportunity in a regional framework made for an instant bond between McCarthy Companies and the Business Times.
He was an advocate for volunteering his time with organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, was a leader in the Ventura County Contractors Association and served on various boards throughout his career, including the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce and Historical Preservation Society. He was also a gifted athlete who turned to volunteering to coach a new generation of young people when his playing days were over.
His family relates that as a dad he was full of surprises, but he was also a voracious reader who soaked up knowledge like a sponge. Together, he and his wife Bridget raised four children: Meggan, Sarah, Peter and Danny.
He leaves behind seven grandchildren, six siblings and two loveable Labrador retrievers. Condolences to his family and all who knew him.
TOMORROW’S LEADERS, TODAY
On Feb. 8, the Business Times stopped in on the Black History Month webinar on successful careers hosted by California Lutheran University and featuring members of the Black Leadership Roundtable convened by the Business Times last year.
Regina Biddings-Morro, vice president for advancement at CLU, guided the panel through lessons learned on the road to success. Among them:
Preparation is key. Panelist Richard Beswick of Cottage Health said being prepared for anything that comes up in a staff meeting helped him succeed as the only Black person in many organizations he has led.
Every failure is a learning experience. Travis Mack, CEO of Saalex, said that success doesn’t teach the same kind of lessons. You haven’t truly lost if you never quit.
The webinar, a first for students of color at CLU, was designed to help undergraduates at CLU chart a course to a career. One thing the students learned is that some of the most successful panelists found their career path by chance or unexpected opportunity.