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Doug McElveen

McElveen Buick GMC
Summerville, South Carolina

“I believe that being successful isn't all about profitability. There is a balance. And the most rewarding aspect of being a car dealer is the positive impact our generosity has on the community.”

A 1981 graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia where he earned an associate’s degree in business science, Doug McElveen started full-time after college at his family’s dealership, which his father, Charles, founded in 1978. 

“As a high school student, I worked in the detail department and was a service writer during college breaks – my first steps toward learning all facets of the dealership operation,” he said. He attended an automotive management program through General Motors in 1983 and eventually managed the sales team. In 1988, his father became ill and McElveen took on the responsibilities of dealer principal, officially assuming the role as president upon his dad’s death in 1989. 

“I was lucky to work with my father for those 10 years,” he said. “I was inspired by his attention to detail and love for his fellow man. He made sure that I was taught this business from the ground floor and made me prove myself before advancing to the next level. I am thankful for his mentorship.” 

Today, his son Douglas (Gray) is the dealership’s digital marketing manager and the next generation to join the family enterprise. “My father and grandfather believed that when you work hard to keep a customer for life, everything else takes care of itself,” McElveen said. “That simple philosophy continues to drive our business.” 

McElveen is actively involved in his industry and has served on dealer councils both locally and statewide. He was president of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association from 2017 to 2018. 

He is also a leader in the civic arena and a major benefactor of the Medical University of South Carolina, providing funds for the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and capital campaigns. 

“My father would often say, ‘You give until it hurts,’” McElveen said. “And when our community needs help, they know that Mac Gives Back.” 

The Mac Gives Back initiative, created by McElveen, is the charitable arm of his company, which is focused on donating to local nonprofits, sponsoring events and making a difference in the community. Some of the organizations and events he supports include: Dorchester Paws (donation of vehicle and maintenance to animal shelter); The ARK of SC (Alzheimer’s family support services); Cocoa Cup 5k at Nexton (beneficiaries are East Cooper Community Outreach and the Lowcountry Food Bank); Shamrock Shuffle for the Summerville Family YMCA; Coastal Carolina Fair (premier sponsor of this family-friendly event that supports local charities); Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center (provides services for neglected and abused children); Coastal Conservation Association - East Cooper Chapter (stewards of marine environments); Buick Drive for Your Students (fundraiser for local high schools through test-drive initiative); American Red Cross (bi-monthly blood drives and annual giving); and many others.