McQ received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Virginia in 1981 where he was on the varsity wrestling team. McQ’s first job was selling paper cups for Lily-Tulip Inc. in Southern California. While doing this, he attended Pepperdine University nights and weekends to get his Masters of Business Administration degree. In 1985 he went to work for Mobil as a sales rep in the Chemical Division, and was subsequently promoted 7 times in 9 years through a progression of management jobs in sales, marketing, new product development, and operations.
McQ helped developed the concept behind the Internet Service Provider MindSpring with his friend Charles Brewer, who launched the company. As one of thousands of ISPs launched in this time frame, they believed that a true competitive advantage could be created by managing the company based on a set of guiding principles that they referred to as the Core Values and Beliefs. The CVB’s empowered employees to take action on customers’ behalf and established a unique and exciting work environment that became a model for Internet start ups. McQ joined the company as executive vice president of sales and marketing in 1995 when they had service only in Atlanta with 20 employees and 1000 customers.
A few months later he was named President and COO of MindSpring and in that position everyone in the company (except Charles) reported to him. McQ helped lead MindSpring through 4 public offerings and established MindSpring as the second largest ISP in the world, behind AOL, and ahead of noteworthy competitors such as Microsoft, Prodigy, AT&T, and all of the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). MindSpring acquired and integrated over 50 ISPs during this period including Netcom, Sprynet and PSINet’s consumer division. MindSpring also won every award given for quality of service including the JD Powers and Associates Award for best ISP.
MindSpring was the first (and one of the few) Internet Service Providers that was profitable. In 1999 MindSpring merged with EarthLink, and McQ became President and served on the Board of the combined company. He resigned from EarthLink in May 2002 and at the time of his departure, EarthLink (NASDAQ:ELNK) was a $1.5 billion revenue company with 5 million subscribers and 5000 employees offering services that included dial up, DSL, cable, and wireless access and web hosting.
In October 2002, McQ formed a music services partnership called Brash Music (originally called Sixthman) that is dedicated to breaking the adversarial paradigm of the music business through the same value based culture management that was successful at MindSpring. Brash Music is an ndependent record label with distribution through ADA (Warner Music Group).
In 2003, McQ formed Ellis, McQuary, Stanley & Associates, along with Bert Ellis and Bahns Stanley. EMS is a private equity investment and consulting firm based in Atlanta. McQ was most recently the CEO of UNS an Internet bulletin board service that EMS bought in 2004 and sold in 2006. He is also the owner of the Madison Grill restaurant in Midtown Atlanta. McQ is on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Chapter of NARAS (Grammys), and Inner Strength (Atlanta at-risk teen support).