GroundBreak Carolinas is honored to spotlight Sam Young, a member of the exclusive group of 2021 GroundBreakers — five individuals who have gone above and beyond to make a difference for the construction community in the Carolinas. Young is Owner and President/CEO of Young & McQueen Grading Company, Inc., based in Burnsville, North Carolina.
A native of Burnsville, Sam Young has been a key leader and influencer in construction and development in the mountains of Western North Carolina for more than 35 years. Through Young & McQueen, he has provided extensive quality job opportunities for the residents of Yancey County and the surrounding region.
“Sam Young has grown his family-owned business from just a couple of employees performing small grading projects to what is today a large heavy-highway contractor building roads, bridges, culverts, walls, and more,” said Damien Hollifield, Senior Vice President for Young & McQueen.
Young & McQueen’s site development and highway crews can be found on university campuses, state highways, commercial and industrial sites, large housing developments, golf courses, health care and government facilities and hundreds of individual residential sites. The firm holds an Unlimited and Unclassified Contractors License in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“Young & McQueen has gained the reputation of being able to do the seemingly impossible when it comes to getting the ground ready to build on. Truly, the ability to move mountains has become the forte of Sam Young,” said John Anglin, Business Manager for the firm. “His impact on the local economy has been incredible for the past 35-plus years and continues to be a major factor.”
Sam Young’s impact extends beyond the construction activities of Young & McQueen. He and his family developed an upscale, master-planned mountain community that includes a private runway and golf course; he has built – and sold – a complete asphalt establishment, including two asphalt plants and the start of a third; and he owns a mining company.
Further, in recent years Young independently took on the task of revitalizing older buildings in Burnsville that have closed over the years – transforming them into new restaurants, office buildings, fitness centers and warehouses. His latest venture entailed converting an old office building complex into a top-of-the-line brewery (Homeplace Beer Co.) that was featured in North Carolina’s Our State magazine.
Young is passionate about developing the next generation of leaders. He has personally mentored his “extended family” of long-term staff, which has facilitated the company’s growth into one of the premier site and heavy highway contractors in the region. Committed to helping the industry flourish, he is a longtime member of the Carolinas AGC (CAGC) Board of Directors, serving on the NCDOT/CAGC Joint Roadway Committee and other committees.
“I started my career and work for Sam Young over 24 years ago as a kid right out of high school. Since that time, he has showed me many things that have made me the person and leader that I am and strive to be today.”– Damien Hollifield, Senior Vice President, Young & McQueen
Finally, Young’s work spills over into various charitable efforts, including spearheading a massive drive-in concert last fall that benefited the local Yancey County COVID-19 Relief Fund. The event, which featured the Grammy Award winning Steep Canyon Rangers, raised more than $50,000 and provided much needed assistance to local community residents and businesses.
The Young family has been in the “earthmoving” business since the 1950s. Sam grew up working with his dad Earl, who used his small bulldozer to supplement his farming income. Wanting to venture out on his own, in 1986 Sam recruited his sister and brother-in-law, the McQueens, and the company Young & McQueen was born. The patriarchs, Earl & Betty Young, played an essential part in Young & McQueen’s initial growth and success. Sam’s wife Kim joined the company in 1990 and is now the CFO; Joshua Young, Sam and Kim’s son, a supervisor with Young & McQueen, represents the family’s third generation in the construction industry.
Jim McQueen, a PGA professional by trade, was new to construction, but as fate would have it, one of Young & McQueen’s first projects was building a golf course. After the golf course completion, the McQueen family opted for the golf and development industry. Sam’s wife Kim joined the company in 1990 and is now the Chief Financial Officer.
“Sam Young is wonderful human. Fair, honest and kind. This is coming from someone who has worked for his family my entire career.”– John Anglin, Business Manager, Young & McQueen
To learn more about the GroundBreaker Awards and this year’s winners read our announcement article of August 11, 2021.