Chick-fil-A drive-thru propels engineer’s landscaping business

Chick-fil-A drive-thru propels engineer’s landscaping business

Ian MacLean didn’t intend to preside about a landscaping small business that would be celebrating two a long time in business this year. 

“God acquired us by a large amount of troubles to get to 20 decades, and defeat all the figures that you listen to smaller enterprises have to deal with,” he reported. 

MacLean, 42, is probable 1 of the handful of landscape company house owners with a degree in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

Aviation operates in the relatives. MacLean’s father, John, experienced labored for American Airlines, so no a person was stunned when MacLean attended the University of North Dakota to pursue a vocation in aviation.

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Then 9/11 happened. His aviation-linked diploma lost its luster as pilots have been laid off by the hundreds and the airline field retrenched in the wake of tragedy. 

MacLean returned dwelling to Southlake, and the initially careers he identified ended up in landscaping, an business he experienced worked in increasing up. 

Sensing a enterprise opportunity – MacLean notes he had a minimal in entrepreneurship – he commenced Highland Landscaping 20 many years in the past with 3 component-time workforce. The company has grown to include 45 workforce and various sub-contractors. His father, John, and brother, Jason, also are greatly associated in the business, and he puts his 3 youngsters to work when they are off for the summer or on a split. 

“As most entrepreneurs do, I was super arms-on early on,” mentioned MacLean. “I was carrying out the irrigation perform. I was planting the trees, shifting the boulders, operating the tools, and conference with the buyers, and coming up with proposals, strategies, and layouts.” 

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Continue to, as the little company principally labored smaller residential careers, it created a popularity for thoroughness and a aptitude for layout. That standing led to a little job that proved to be a breakthrough. 

Highland Landscaping was employed to landscape a miniature botanical yard at the Chick-fil-A on Southlake Boulevard. The design bundled seasonal foliage and flowers that were switched out as the seasons modified. 

“We ended up just beginning to use persons to do these positions we had been all accomplishing at the starting,” said MacLean. 

The Chick-fil-A franchisee at the time, Mark Guilbert known as MacLean and instructed he publish a smaller indication in the yard with the company’s name and call information and facts. 

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“I didn’t discover this out until eventually many years afterwards, but apparently we were holding up the generate-through line for the reason that individuals have been seeking to know who did the landscaping,” claimed MacLean. 

The inadvertent marketing worked. 

“Our mobile phone commenced ringing off the hook with people today calling us from the travel-thru,” he claimed. “That was a huge stepping stone for us.” 

That tiny signal also led to a agreement with the city of Southlake to decide on to landscape four roundabout intersections, a major project for the Hilton in Southlake Town Sq., the Brian R. Stebbins Park in City Sq., and a flurry of key residential and commercial assignments.

When the Chick-fil-A supervisor remaining to grow to be CEO of the Southlake Chamber of Commerce, he persuaded a reluctant MacLean to join the group, far too. 

MacLean commenced observing the impact of staying in the chamber experienced on his business enterprise and began to get other small enterprise proprietors involved, too. The chamber then approached MacLean in 2010 to be part of the committee that ran the organization’s Oktoberfest, a fundraiser for the chamber. He went on to chair the committee in 2012. 

MacLean says it was not a great deal of an Oktoberfest with attendance of about 25,000. 

“It was just a regular street fest, a avenue pageant,” he claimed. 

MacLean hired a new management business to concentrate on putting on a additional reliable pageant with German beer and foods. Organizers also extra three phases with live music and introduced in some German leisure. 

“We also appeared at how to partner much better with businesses, specifically the businesses that are concerned in this occasion,” he mentioned. 

The Southlake Oktoberfest has developed to be an event with an attendance of over 100,000 and named 1 of the major Okctoberfests in Texas and No. 4 in the U.S

To include to the authenticity, Southlake Chamber’s Oktoberfest has shaped a partnership with Altstadt Brewery, a Fredericksburg-primarily based brewery that employs common German brewing tactics. 

“They bought concerned initially about two many years ago, but they wished to improve their involvement,” said MacLean. 

The Octoberfest now has three phases with reside new music, about 30 foods sellers, 700 volunteers and participation from additional than 300 businesses. 

“Between the chamber staff members, the good committee we’ve crafted and plentiful blessings, we’ve grown the celebration into a behemoth,” reported MacLean. 

MacLean does not have a German heritage, but he and his household are  associated in their Scottish ancestry. 

That’s the cause his corporation is named Highland, as the MacLeans originate from the Highlands in the Western Isles of Scotland. The Highland logo is the MacLean clan tartan. 

“You’ll see the MacLean males sporting our kilts, and my brother Jason and I made use of to compete in the Highland Video games,” MacLean explained. 

Everyone who has observed the movie, “Entrapment” with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones has witnessed a little bit of the MacLean heritage. 

“That’s the MacLean Duart Castle they live in in the course of the motion picture,” he mentioned. “It’s where by they keep the international MacLean accumulating every several several years, and we have created the trek a number of occasions.” 

There’s yet another connection to the movie, just one Sean Connery. Connery’s mother’s maiden title is a MacLean. 

Fletcher Consulting president John Fletcher recalls assembly MacLean throughout a chamber meeting, sitting subsequent to him at an function. 

“He obtained up and spoke, and he was excellent,” said Fletcher. “Then he sat down and told me how a great deal he hated general public speaking. But he was a organic. He was good.” 

Fletcher obtained MacLean associated with a community Dale Carnegie Schooling group to do some expert growth. 

“Ian was already a wonderful speaker, but he gained the most-enhanced in his class, so he has turn out to be genuinely accomplished,” reported Fletcher. 

MacLean is a significant believer in the training he gained. 

“As an individual who does not essentially appreciate acquiring up in entrance of people today, that’s a complicated portion of leadership,” he reported. “Any management position that has a community speaking component to it can be a major hump that you have to have to get around.” 

The Dale Carnegie instruction assisted enhance his public talking and it also furnished further tools as MacLean began to ascend to bigger management roles. 

“It really served in studying to stay linked with the people you are foremost. That’s an critical side of management at any stage, not floating off into outer house,” he explained. 

There is also the make a difference of encountering opposition as 1 prospects much larger and more numerous teams, MacLean mentioned. 

MacLean applied Dale Carnegie’s No. 1 rule in people predicaments, “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” 

“You get started to experience distinct suggestions than your possess, and you’ve bought to be nimble and receptive to listen to them out, do the job with them and find a widespread ground remedy,” he stated. 

That Octoberfest achievements opened the door for MacLean to be approached by the United States Chamber of Commerce to provide on its Modest Enterprise Council. It virtually didn’t materialize. 

“When I read there was anyone from the U.S. Chamber ready to see me, I couldn’t feel of any explanation they would want to chat to me or vice versa,” said MacLean.

MacLean inevitably acquired concerned, serving on the organization’s Small Organization Council. He served as chairman of that council in the course of a tumultuous time for modest business enterprise: the pandemic. 

MacLean states it bluntly. 

“It strike the fan,” he explained. 

As a member of the Compact Small business Council, MacLean was already  common with the pretty unique marketplaces and businesses about the country. 

“When the pandemic hit, it was really unbelievable how the huge array of activities distinctive business proprietors were having in distinct components of the country,” he explained. 

Smaller companies were making an attempt to comprehend which corporations were  permitted to be open, which ones were being considered crucial, MacLean reported. These policies various dependent on wherever the small business was situated.

There have been a broad array of new and astonishing troubles, he stated. 

“In some conditions, people’s workforce just ran out the doorway and by no means arrived again, although other people stayed,” he said. 

The Modest Small business Council worked to assistance these firms uncover a way ahead. 

“It was like threading a needle, acquiring assistance, locating counseling, locating some relief and conversing to associates of no matter what amount of governing administration they wanted to talk to in order to get help and locate a route ahead,” he mentioned. 

What was a practical option for one little organization in just one market place was not an effective answer for a further smaller business enterprise in an additional aspect of the region, MacLean said. That is a single difficulty that MacLean believes the government does not get appropriate. 

“Small organization concerns are hardly ever solved by a just one-size-suits-all answer,” he said. “That’s why the federal authorities gets it improper so usually with small business concerns, since they can only develop 1-measurement-fits-all solutions.” 

MacLean has some guidance for younger people beginning their initial occupation, particularly if they want to end up in a management posture. 

“Don’t just do sufficient to just get by,” he explained. “Exceed that, and exceed it by as substantially as you perhaps can. Do that, and there’s a rather fantastic probability you’ll obtain yourself in a leadership function.” 




Daughters Ella, 14 Clara, 11 and Magnolia, 10


Bachelor of science in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering, 2002, College of South Dakota.

Volunteer experience 

Chairman of the Tiny Business Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2020: member of the Little Organization Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce assisted create and implement Mission in the Marketplace, a Christian religion local community event that has showcased former Baylor Bears soccer coach Grant Teaff and Dallas Cowboys and NFL Hall of Famer Bob Lilly Oktoberfest committee chairman at Southlake Chamber of Commerce

Initial job 

MacLean worked for a landscaping firm in North Texas. 

Suggestions for an individual learning to be a chief

“Try to be open and watchful for in which you are currently being led,” he said. “God opens doorways from time to time in a place where you never always see that coming, and there could be amazing things down that route.”

Greatest tips you at any time gained?

“I think some of the finest guidance I obtained was gleaned from modeling that was performed for me,” he stated. “My father has a quite powerful work ethic, and he instilled that in his four offspring. And so we noticed his really hard operate and determination to his perform our overall everyday living, and all 4 of us have adopted that in our very own way.” 

Highland Landscaping LLC

820 A Organization Spot

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Really worth Report. Speak to him at [email protected]. At the Fort Worth Report, information choices are made independently of our board members and economic supporters. Examine more about our editorial independence policy right here. This tale was at first released by Fort Well worth Report.