Richard Bryant Named Poole College’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
By Lea 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 were growing 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 back.
One of his favorite ways to give back is to North Carolina State University and the Poole College of Management. Bryant, a 1981 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in business management, has given his time, his expertise and his financial support to the university and the college in many ways over the years.
It’s just one of many reasons Bryant was named Poole College of Management’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Each year, Poole College and NC State recognize an alumnus for his or her career successes as well as support of the university. The award is presented to honorees at the NC State Alumni Association’s Evening of the Stars.
In receiving the award, Bryant joins the ranks of past recipients that include former Gov. James B. Hunt, Jim and Ann Goodnight, Gen. Hugh Shelton, and many others.
Bryant is co-founder and CEO of Capital Investment Companies, one of the largest independent financial services firms in the southeastern United States. He started Capital Investment Companies nearly four decades ago in 1984, just a few years after graduation.
Giving back in so many ways
Over the years, he’s served on NC State’s Board of Visitors and the NC State University Foundation, as well as boards of the NC State Investment Fund and NC State Endowment. He’s a founding member and former chair of Friends of Arts NC State and was also co-chair of the Achieve! Campaign Steering Committee for Arts NC State and co-chair of the Frank Thompson Hall Renovation Project.
And that’s just to name a few. Bryant is a founding member of the State Club, a lifetime member of the Wolfpack Club and has been a member of the NC State Alumni Association for more than 35 years. Bryant served as both a speaker and a mentor to students at the university as well.
Recently, Bryant and his wife, Suzy, endowed a scholarship to support student-athletes in Poole College of Management. The Bryant Family Endowment is awarded to undergraduate students in the Poole College of Management who are also members of any NC State intercollegiate athletics team.
The scholarship combines Bryant’s passion for the Wolfpack Club and athletics at NC State with the desire to support students who may be struggling financially to attend Poole College, he said.
Capital Investment Companies maintains an internship program that employs students from NC State. Bryant said he’s been extremely impressed with the caliber of students coming out of the university and Poole College.
“The class this year has just been incredible,” he said.
Carrying NC State’s impact forward with him
Today, Bryant is humble about his success and humbled by the receipt of the Distinguished Alumni Award. To him, it’s about coming full circle – giving back to a university that gave him so much.
“Going to State, that was magical,” Bryant said of being a student.
He’d come from Gastonia, which was a very small town at the time, and embraced NC State and what it offered. When he left for NC State, his dad told him “this will be the last carefree time of your life, so enjoy it.” And Bryant admits, he definitely embraced the “fun” side of college, joining a fraternity and enjoying a rich social life.
But he also buckled down in his studies and said he was just a hair shy of making the Dean’s List during his last year at NC State.
“I also gained a lot of friendships, and that shaped my life as much as NC State did,” Bryant said.
Combined, it all speaks to why he has given so much of himself back to the university over the years.
“It’s fun to give back to this university,” he said. “And 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 figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right path for him.
“I got out and changed to business, and my life just opened up,” he said. “I became a guy who enjoyed a lot of things.”
For Bryant, there was no favorite course once he made that switch. He loved it all, from marketing to macroeconomics to finance. Following graduation, he initially went to work for his father’s company, Bryant Supply Company in Gastonia, but said he began to take an interest in “how money makes money.”
Bryant quit the family business, moved back to Raleigh and worked for other companies for a little while, but it didn’t last long. He met his partner, Bobby Edgerton, in 1983 at the old Tripps Restaurant off Wade Avenue behind Meredith College and they sketched out their partnership on the back of a napkin. The rest, as they say, is history. Capital Investment Companies today has close to $8 billion in assets.
Along the way, Bryant met and married Suzy, whom he calls “the woman behind the man.” They have two sons, Miller and Andy, who each attended NC State.
At 62, Bryant said he’s “getting to be the old guy in the industry,” but he’s not complaining. He actually enjoys it.
All of this, he says, started at NC State.
“I learned who I was and who I wasn’t at NC State,” Bryant said.
He said he also learned about people, how they work, and the importance of lasting friendships. Like many, being away from home on his own taught him a lot of early life lessons.
It’s the advice he’d give to students today. “Know who you are,” Bryant said, and stay true to that person.