L.C. “Chaz” Neely ’62 credits his A&M education with much of his success over the past three decades. For that reason, Neely and his wife, Trisha, have continued their ongoing support to Mays Business School with a recent gift of $500,000, which will establish an endowed scholarship fund for Business Honors students. These funds will be matched by the Center for Executive Development at Mays to create a $1 million endowment.
“I am so grateful for my experience at Texas A&M and the influence it had on my life. I believe one gives back to the organizations that have such impact, and that’s why we chose to make this gift,” said Neely.
“It’s so gratifying to see our former students succeed in the business world,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “It’s even more wonderful when they take that success and invest it into the success of tomorrow’s business leaders, our current students. The Neelys have always been most generous to Mays Business School and Texas A&M University and we are thankful that they continue to support Mays in such a meaningful way.”
Neely is the founder and chief executive officer of San Antonio Steel Company, the largest business-to-business steel materials distributor in the Southwest. His most recent venture is Alliance Wire & Steel, an international partnership to manufacture wire-reinforcing mesh for concrete. His company also distributes items such as reinforced steel, barbed wire and agricultural and high tensile fencing.
Neely was named 1997 Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and in 2005 he was given Mays highest honor, the Outstanding Alumni Award. His business also appeared on the inaugural Aggie 100 list, the ranking of the fastest growing Aggie-owned or —operated businesses in the world. In 2006, the Association of Former students at A&M recognized Neely as a Distinguished Alumni.
Neely says all of his professional success can be traced to the unwavering support of his parents, which enabled him to become the first person in his family to attend college. “If I hadn’t gone to A&M, I might have been working at a service station,” he says, explaining his high school job washing cars and pumping gas at the family-owned business. “A&M had a profound influence on the rest of my life.”
The twin philosophies of bringing passion to his work and integrity to his dealings has driven Neely’s success, he says â€” in addition to the support of his family and valuable employees. In fact, the first three employees hired by Neely continue to work for the company today.
The Neelys have been married for more than 40 years and have three Aggie children and four granddaughters. They have long been supporters of Mays, most recently pledging $1 million in 2004 to endow a chair in business and in 2003 giving $150,000 in matching funds for a graduate fellowship. They are also generous to the 12th Man Foundation, Association of Former Students, Corps of Cadets, and the Texas A&M Foundation. Neely is a member of the Dean’s Development Council at Mays.