BBA 1999 (Management)
McKay Insurance and Peace Tree Brewing Company
When a recent business venture presented itself, it took Megan McKay one day to weigh the merits of working with another niche business. A month later, she was off to Boston for her first brewery convention.
"It's really my dad's fault,” she says. "He had been reading about craft beers. They are a quality alternate to wine, plus they have great taste without the wine price."
One year after the idea germinated, the doors of Peace Tree Brewing Company opened in Knoxville, Iowa, and began distribution in April 2010. McKay currently has three unique beers brewing. The goal is to ship 750 barrels the first year, 2,000 the second year, and 3,000 the third.
Megan attributes her success to her 1999 management and organization degree and MBA received from Iowa in 2005.
"I felt great about my management background," she says, "but I wasn't as strong on the finance side. The MBA I received through the Executive MBA Program rounded that out."
Peach Tree blossomed because of the success of another niche business, McKay Insurance, where Megan works with her father, Dan McKay. There they have taken a chance on another demand not being met.
"We have normal insurance, such as home and auto," she says, "but we also have this funky little division where we insure silent sports, such as bicycle clubs and triathlons. We provide coverage to organizers of nonmotorized events."
McKay Insurance is active with silent sport insurance in all 50 states, including the popular RAGBRAI ride across Iowa. While they are known nationally, the goal is to plant seeds locally for other companies to grow.
"The town of Knoxville is dwindling," she said. "To have a viable business, we have to look outside to bring money in so we can keep employing people. Hopefully, we can generate enough excitement so other companies develop here as well."