Written by Leah Hart
When Richard Bryant looks back on his life so far, he can attribute his personal and professional success to the core beliefs he shared with his sons as they grew up.
“It all comes down to working hard, showing up, having fun, living within your means, and giving back,” Bryant said.
It all comes down to working hard, showing up, having fun, living within your means, and giving.
One way to give back is North Carolina State University and Ball School of Management. Bryant, a 1981 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, has given his time, experience, and financial support to the university and college in many ways over the years.
It’s just one of many reasons why Bryant was chosen as the winner of the 2021 Ball School of Management Award for Distinguished Alumni. Each year, Poole and North Carolina State College honors alumni for his professional success as well as his support for the university. The award is presented to the honorees at the North Carolina State Alumni Association’s Star Night.
Upon receiving the award, Bryant joins the ranks of previous award recipients, including former Governor James B. Hunt, Jim and Anne Goodnight, General Hugh Shelton, and many others.
Bryant is the co-founder, president, and CEO of Capital Investment Companies, one of the largest independent financial services firms in the southeastern United States. He founded Capital Investment Companies nearly four decades ago in 1984, just a few years after graduating.
Giving in many ways
Over the years, he has served on the North Carolina State Board of Visitors and the North Carolina State University Foundation, as well as on the boards of the North Carolina State Investment Fund and the North Carolina State Foundation. He is a founding member and past president of Friends of ARTS NC State and was also co-chair of Achieve! Campaign Steering Committee for ARTS NC State and co-chair of the Frank Thompson Hall renovation project.
This is just an example. Bryant is a founding member of the State Club, a life member of the Wolfpack Club and has been a member of the NC State Alumni Association for more than 35 years. Bryant worked as a speaker and student mentor at the university as well.
Recently, Bryant and his wife, Susie, awarded a scholarship to support student-athletes at Ball School of Management. The Bryant Family Endowment is awarded to undergraduate students at the Ball School of Management who are also members of any NC State multi-college athletic team.
The scholarship combines Bryant’s passion for NC State’s Wolfpack and athletics with a desire to support students who may struggle financially to attend Ball College, he said.
Capital Investment Companies maintains an internship program that employs students from the state of North Carolina. Bryant said he was very impressed with the level of students leaving the university and Ball College.
“This year’s class has been amazing,” he said.
He carries the influence of North Carolina forward with him
Today, Bryant is modest about his success and fearful of being awarded the Distinguished Alumni award. For him, it is about a whole course – giving back to the university that has given him so much.
“Going to state, it was magical,” Bryant said of being a student.
He came from Gastonia, which was a very small town at the time, and embraced North Carolina and what it had to offer. When he left for North Carolina, his father told him “This will be the last respite of your life, so enjoy it.” And, Bryant admits, he definitely embraced the “fun” side of college, joined the fraternity and enjoyed a rich social life.
But he also indulged himself in his studies and said he was just shy of making the Dean’s List during his final year at NC.
“I’ve also made a lot of friendships, and that’s shaped my life as much as NC,” Bryant said.
Taken together, it all speaks to why he has brought so much of himself back to college over the years.
“It is interesting to give back to this university,” he said. “It’s easy because it’s fun.”
It’s fun to give back to this university. And it’s easy because it’s fun.
Bryant initially came to NC State to be an engineer, but quickly discovered that this wasn’t the right path for him.
“I went out and changed to work, and my life just opened up,” he said. “I’ve become a man who enjoys a lot of things.”
For Bryant, there was no preferred course once he made that switch. He loved everything, from marketing to macroeconomics to finance. After graduation, he initially went to work for his father’s company, the Bryant Supply Company in Gastonia, but said he began to be interested in “how to make money for money”.
Bryant left the family business, returned to Raleigh and worked for other companies for a short time, but it was short-lived. He met his partner, Bobby Edgerton, in 1983 at the old Tripps Restaurant off Wade Avenue behind Meredith College and they sketched their partnership on the back of a napkin. The rest, as they say, is history. Venture capital firms today have nearly $8 billion in assets.
Along the way, Bryant met and married Suzy, whom he described as “the woman behind the man.” They have two sons, Miller and Andy, both of whom attended North Carolina.
Bryant, 62, said he’s “going to be the old man in the industry,” but he’s not complaining. He actually enjoys it.
All of this, he says, began in North Carolina.
“I found out who I was and who I wasn’t in NC,” Bryant said.
He said he also learned about people, how they work, and the importance of lasting friendships. Like many, being away from home alone taught him many early life lessons.
It’s the advice he would give students today. “Know who you are,” Bryant said, and be honest with that person.