Lee B. Freese Excellence in Mentoring Award: Coy Veach

Coy Veach, PE, is a Freese and Nichols Vice President/Principal

​​​​​Congratulations to Coy Veach, Construction Management, North Texas, for receiving this year’s Lee B. Freese Excellence in Mentoring Award. Since starting with the firm in 1977, Coy’s path has crossed with numerous employees who have benefitted from his knowledge, expertise and mentorship.

“When I have a chance to ask Coy a question, I always learn something,” said Tina McMartin, Water Resource Design, Austin. “If I send something via email, a short dissertation typically comes back, within a few hours, nonetheless. He always gives options to consider and explains the WHY behind it all, so you can understand and best apply it in the future.”

Coy is a nationally recognized leader on project delivery methods. He has an extensive background in program management, construction management, risk management, quality management and dispute resolution. But what truly sets Coy apart is his humility and generosity.

“Coy never makes you feel dumb for asking questions or even making mistakes,” Tina said. “He just focuses on the solution and helps you learn for the next time.”

Tina nominated Coy for this year’s award. She first met him in 2010 when he advised her on one of her first big construction projects. From that point on, he became Tina’s go-to person for construction documents and claims.

For one project alone, Tina says she and Coy exchanged 100+ emails. She adds that his email responses, often sent late in the evening, are a testament to his dedication and generosity with his time. And his great sense of humor not only makes learning enjoyable but also helps retain the information when he shares a story along with it.

In one of those email exchanges, Tina asked Coy what the team will do when he retires. His response is a perfect example of why he’s the recipient of this year’s Lee B. Freese Excellence in Mentoring Award.

“When I retire, you guys will do what I did when my mentor left…continue to get smarter with experience. That said: A wise man learns from his mistakes; but he truly learns from the mistakes of others, so he doesn’t have to make them all himself.”

Coy’s impact will undoubtedly continue to inspire and guide many more in their professional journeys.

As part of Tina’s nomination, several Freese and Nichols employees, along with those who have worked with Coy outside the firm, contributed letters of support. Here are a few excerpts of what they had to say:

“The biggest reason for my support is that Coy’s dedication to those around him and his vast knowledge in his chosen field makes him a MAGNET for anyone looking to understand more about the construction field and how it operates.” – Larry Eckersley, Freese and Nichols

“His presentations and classes on project procurement and construction related issues provide lessons to everyone who attends them. His positive feedback as well as his constructive criticism is always aimed at improving the knowledge base of whomever he is addressing.” – Robert Allen, Freese and Nichols

“Coy has provided mentorship to dozens of technical and non-technical team members; he is always ready to send late-night (or early morning) emails to clarify, guide and inform us of various items regarding construction contracts, procurement rules, design issues or general strategy.” Matt Gaughan, Plus Six Engineering, LLC

“Coy has offered personal and professional development and mentoring to me since 2012. In my eleven years at FNI and since, Coy taught me and coached me how to work with all levels and stakeholders on a project team.” – Charles H. Erwin, Pronghorn Flats Consulting, LLC

Freese and Nichols established the Lee B. Freese Excellence in Mentoring Award to recognize outstanding efforts in the mentoring of Freese and Nichols’ staff members. This award exemplifies our LEADS values of Serve Always and Learn Continuously, as we serve each other in everything we do, and we create an environment where employees can thrive and be their best.