Randy Stair’s relationship with time is patient endurance: he doesn’t rush or waste it. His favorite activities are fishing and hunting, forms of recreation where waiting is essential. Over his lifetime, he’s learned that patience and endurance yield their own rewards. He likes to play the long game.
His two decades of leadership at the PCA Foundation are a prime example. The foundation has grown from $15M to near $90M in assets under Randy’s steady hand. Randy recently announced his plans to retire in June 2019. If you ask him if he’s excited to retire, he’ll tell you, “No, it’s just the right time.” He follows things through to their completion, then when the time is just right, he takes the next step.
Randy began practicing patience early on, learning to hunt and fish in the rugged country of western Virginia. Under the influence of Christian parents at an early age, he began a deep relationship with the Lord that would develop his awareness of God’s activity in his life. “I was involved with learning the Bible since childhood, and became a Christian when I was very young.”
It was his parents who directed him to Bob Jones University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and started a lifelong friendship with classmate Rod Mays, who eventually became the leader of Reformed University Fellowship. Even more importantly, Randy met his wife Kathy as a student there.
As their college romance developed, they decided patience wasn’t a virtue when it came to their engagement, scheduling their wedding on the same day Randy graduated. Kathy graduated a year later. They settled in Greenville, South Carolina where he headed up campus security until he was able to land his first full-time accounting position eight months later.
As a young couple, Randy and Kathy made the church a central part of their life. During their time in Greenville, they were active members of Shannon Forest Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Al Lutz. Though Greenville was where they began their family, Randy and Kathy eventually found themselves in Ithaca, New York after Randy accepted a position with Park Communications. Randy worked nearly two decades for the company initially as a Vice President and Controller of Park which owned newspapers, radio stations, and television stations around the country.
Though Randy made a good career move to Park in Ithaca, they could not find a reformed presbyterian church there. As a result, they initiated a PCA church plant and became founding members of New Life Presbyterian Church where Randy served as elder and Kathy as a leader in women’s ministries. As his commitment to launching a PCA church plant grew, so did his responsibilities inside Park Communications.
While at Park Communications, Randy worked closely with Roy Park, the founder of the company who had previously built the Duncan Hines food brand. The entrepreneur was known for his demanding task-master style. “The job made me build up the stamina needed to see things through when other people would have said they had enough.” Randy’s patience and diligence eventually resulted in becoming the Chief Financial Officer of the multimedia conglomerate.
After Mr. Park died, the company was sold and Park and Randy were both relocated to Lexington, Kentucky. He and Kathy settled in at Tates Creek Presbyterian Church, another congregation founded and then pastored by Al Lutz.
“In 1997, I was 46 years old when Park Communications sold for the second time after moving to Lexington, and I didn’t want to spend the next twenty years of my life trying to chase a dollar. I was exposed to so many different dimensions of business and I felt I had gained skills—not just in accounting—that I could use for nonprofit ministry work.”
God was working in his heart to switch gears. Doors inexplicably opened for Randy after he resolved to work for a ministry that shared his same reformed beliefs. He sent his resume out and it found its way to the presidential search committee of the PCA Foundation. Randy had never heard of the Foundation before he was contacted by them but was excited to be hired as their president in January of 1998.
“On my first day at the Foundation, I flew down to Atlanta from Lexington, took MARTA to Brookhaven, took a cab to the office, and looked through the door. There was a light on and the door was unlocked, but nobody was there. I walked in and prayed the phone wouldn’t ring.”
The Foundation had $15 million in assets and was largely supported by other PCA committees and agencies when Randy joined. The Board decided to transition the Foundation to a self-supported entity, and it was Randy’s job to carry that out.
Randy focused the Foundation’s efforts on its Advise & Consult Fund® (a donor-advised fund), rebranding, and building a strong donor base. “Our assets are near $90 million as of 2018, and will eventually be distributed to ministries as recommended by the donors. The Foundation is stronger, better known, respected, financially sound, and run by an excellent staff. This has been a very enjoyable and rewarding time for me, to have used my background and gifts, to have done this job, and to see where we’ve come.”
Everything has taken time and commitment. It took time for Randy to find his first accounting job. It took time to work his way up the corporate ladder. It took time to help plant a PCA church. It took time to grow the PCA Foundation. Now, he feels confident God is calling him to retire. He’ll take time to enjoy being a husband, father, and grandfather, and ruling elder, and maybe even some time hunting, fishing, and traveling.
The two constants throughout his journey have been his wife, Kathy, and the local church. They have been active members of ChristChurch Presbyterian in Atlanta for over 20 years where Randy serves as a ruling elder. Kathy is involved at the denominational level training leaders for women’s ministry.
“I have to say that along the way I have been faced with a lot of challenges, many before I even got to the Foundation. I look back on my life now and I see how God has been preparing me for something in my future every step of the way.” It is no coincidence Randy’s life verse is Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . . .” (ESV)
Randy doesn’t know exactly what retired life will look like, but he knows it is time once again to follow God’s call and take the next step.