I Spy Someone making a difference.
Brick by brick, Massey helps build a great universityby Corrie Lee Lacey
Some say he’s built Coastal Carolina University from the ground up. Others say he’s carried the construction of this university on his back for decades. But regardless of what people give him credit for, one thing’s for certain: Philip Massey has been the project manager of just about every construction project on campus – and he’s not letting up.
From the original Student Center to the new Student Recreation and Convocation Center, Massey’s been busy since he was hired in 1976. And although he officially retired from CCU on Oct. 31, Massey was recently rehired as a temporary employee and plans to stay very involved in projects around campus.
Massey was born in Conway. His father, the late John K. Massey, was named an honorary founder of CCU in 1994. Philip started as an administrative assistant in the Office of Administration but was quickly promoted to deputy director of physical plant and later to campus facilities planner.
When CCU’s enrollment was only about 1,000 students, Massey took on a number of responsibilities. From coordinating construction of Kimbel Library to mail services, from transportation to inventory, he did it all. But as the campus grew, so did Massey’s commitments to construction, and he eventually took on the sole responsibility of director of Department of Design and Engineering.
For 34 years, Massey has coordinated construction projects on campus, big and small, including the Science Building, softball field, Wheelwright Auditorium, Williams-Brice Gymnasium additions, the Woods residence hall, the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration building, Athletic Administration building (Arcadia Hall), greenhouse, Student Health Facilities, Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts building, Bursar’s Office and Graham Bell Tower in Spadoni Park – just to name a few. He’s also responsible for parking lot paving projects, campuswide storm drainage projects, athletic and intramural field construction, athletic field lighting and exterior signage projects.
With each project, Massey assists in the selection of the architectural firm and helps the firm in the programming and planning. Once construction has begun, Massey plays the “middle man,” holding bi-weekly staff meetings with CCU’s administration. He “translates” construction and architectural lingo into a general “progress report,” and keeps everyone up-to-date on the development of the project.
“Philip’s diligence in preserving design standards and his project management oversight have been essential in the development of the beautiful campus we enjoy today,” says Sandy Williams, director of facilities planning and management.
But Massey’s time at CCU hasn’t been all work, no play. In 1986, Massey met Holly, who then worked in the CCU bookstore. Although Massey claims it wasn’t love at first sight – maybe third sight, he says – the two have been married for 24 years.
Philip and Holly Massey each have one child from a previous marriage – Holly’s daughter, Wendy, 31, and Philip’s daughter Beverly, also 31. The two also have a son together, Philip Tanner Massey Jr., a CCU alumnus. Tanner is currently a graduate communication student at the University of South Alabama and has an assistantship with the University of South Alabama men’s basketball team. Tanner will turn 23 on Dec. 12. Holly is currently the coordinator of CCU’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
When not working on a CCU construction project or spending time with his children, Massey enjoys working in the yard and singing.
A recent new member of the StarDusters, a local big band orchestra, Massey performs songs made popular by artists like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Massey says he’s always had an interest in singing, has sung at dozens of weddings and funerals in Conway, and is in the First Baptist Church choir.
He is also a member of the Association of State Planning and Construction Officials. He earned a degree in business administration in 1971 from Erskine College.
Massey says CCU has been a great institution to work for. “I’ve seen it grow and have been involved in its growth,” says Massey. “I’m excited about this University.”
Throughout the years, Massey has not only had quite an impact on the campus, but on community members as well.
“Philip’s knowledge of the history of our campus is tremendous. If you need to know anything related to campus infrastructure, call Philip,” says Wanda Lewis, assistant director of the Coastal Educational Foundation, who has worked with Massey for more than 21 years. “Philip is an outstanding person and a friend, and you can count on him to help make Coastal Carolina University a great place to work.”
“Philip knows the intricate details of every building we have,” says Stella Cooper, assistant to the athletic director. “He takes great pride in the fact that our campus is unified in appearance. And he has more information in his head than most computers are capable of storing – he knows when things occurred, why they were done a specific way, and the entire history of each building, parking lot, generator and light pole!”
“I’ve known Phillip as a friend and on a professional level for 14 years,” says Alan LeForce, head women’s basketball coach at CCU. “He is the same in both situations – loyal, hardworking and trustworthy. You cannot ask for any better qualities in a friend or a colleague.”
“Philip is also one of the biggest football fans that we have,” says Cooper. “If you’ve ever been to a CCU home football game and sit on the home side, that loud fellow you hear yelling at the referees is Philip Massey.”