I was born in the tiny little town of Powell, Texas, population 105, in 1952. My family’s little shingle-sided house was along State Highway 31 and the Cotton Belt Railroad, and the constant hum of truck traffic and the clatter of the occasional freight train filled the rooms at night through windows open to the night air.
My parents lived in the “new” (1967) house they built next door until my father's passage in 2016. They were farmers and ranchers, and operated a general store on the highway. My early years were divided among school, the Baptist church on Sundays, hard work on the farm, and hunting, fishing, and camping every chance I got.
I graduated from Kerens High School in 1970, and obtained my Bachelor’s of Business Administration from North Texas State University, class of 1974. Finding no jobs available in my field of study save in sales (I am NO salesman), I returned to a summer job in highway construction and found myself the only laborer on the construction crew with an advanced education.
Some resumes I sent out landed me an interview with a contractor in Fort Worth and the interview led to a job, so in January of 1976 I joined JLB Contracting, a company that set a high standard of integrity and stability for over 50 years.
But the drive to have my own business led me to leave JLB for a new company I founded in 1984 with two partners. That company has now been in business for 33 years and also sets high standards. Although the downturn in the economy in the late 1980’s forced us to dissolve our partnership and continue our careers separately, I am proud of that company and what it has achieved
In 1990 I was able, with the financial help of my family, to found McClendon Construction Company, Inc. Although I considered working from several industrial locations in Fort Worth, my dream had always been to have my own business in my own hometown, and when I discovered the property I now own at 548 Memorial Plaza, near Fire Station 2 and the Burleson Cemetery, there was no need to consider any other option. I bought the property in 1992 and it remains our corporate home.
As the business grew, my office staff expanded from one (me) to now six employees, all Burleson families. And the construction workforce grew from the initial eight (again including me) to now over 50 employees. Although they live in several different communities, many of my guys are Burleson area residents as well.
Most of our work has taken place in Tarrant and surrounding counties as we build infrastructure projects for cities in the Tarrant County area. Our typical project involves moving into a run-down neighborhood built 50 to 100 or more years ago, and replacing the streets, driveways, sidewalks and landscaping so that the areas are revitalized and renewed. Some projects involve busier streets that are too narrow or rough to serve, and the complication factor rises as we figure out how to provide service to commercial businesses and through traffic while we build sturdy new concrete-curbed roadways. In recent years we have seen context-sensitive projects that involve streetscapes and improvements designed to create an atmosphere that encourages alternate travel, such as bicycling and walking.
I have always taken great satisfaction in a career that has brought continual improvement to neighborhoods and the people of our area. We get compliments on our work from time to time, and that always makes our day and assures us that our service beyond the requirements of a contract is appreciated. But even if nobody says so, we know when we’re done that we have contributed in our small way to making the quality of life a bit better for the homeowners, business owners, and commuters that our improvements will serve. And that means a lot to me.
In 2007, at the suggestion of a friend, and after making certain that serving on Council wouldn't preclude my company continuing to help build public-bid roadway improvements for our City, I ran for the open position of Place 5 on the Burleson City Council. Successful in the election, I began what has become a second career of participating in the many ins and outs of local government. I have found that my years of working for other cities has given me a wide variety of experiences in how other cities have dealt (sometimes well, sometimes not so well) with many of the issues Burleson faces. Changes to the City's charter in 2019 mean that I won't be a contractor to Burleson in the future, but I will still continue to enthusiastically serve the community as council member.
I have also found that being in the position of “decider” for the community has come naturally for me. Besides experience, I believe that the greatest assets one can bring to the task of governing are the ability to clearly see the many sides of every issue in order to understand and make an objective determination of what is best for the community, and then having the courage to stand up and speak about it. It is often not easy to say what must be said for the benefit of the whole community in the face of opposition, and, as I have said before, he who chooses to stand tall sometimes makes himself a big target!
I have been happily married to my wife Mary Lynn for 27 years, and we have three handsome sons. Our oldest, Jack, is 25 and lives in Glendale, CA. Jack is working part-time and pursuing his dream of a music career. Cole, 23, is enrolled at the Los Angeles Film School, studying audio engineering with hopes of a career in that field.
Our youngest, Austin, is 21. Austin is blind and nonverbal, and is on the autistic spectrum. Thanks to the tireless dedication of his mother and her staff of teachers, Austin has made great progress in his home school environment. He is a loving and very smart kid, and we look forward to the day when he can break out into the world and make his mark.
My daughter Angela lives in Austin with her husband Joel, and our grandson Milo is now 8. Angela holds a Master's in Library Science and is the Records Management Officer for Governor Greg Abbott.
When Angela was born, we began to look for a church home, and this led us eventually to the First Methodist Church of Burleson, which I joined in the early 1980’s and of which I was a member, voice in the choir, and supporter for almost 25 years. Our church home these days is Pathway Church, but I still have many longtime friends from our years at FUMC.
In the mid 1990’s I finally took action to realize a dream I have had since childhood: learning to fly. Some early private lessons led to the purchase of an old Cessna in a partnership with my dad, who flew for the US Navy in WWII and flew his own airplane until the age of 90.
The lessons led to obtaining my private pilot’s license in 1995, and then to my instrument rating in 1997, which allows me to use the small plane for reliable travel in most kinds of weather. The Cessna became dad’s plane, and I eventually acquired my current plane, a 1980 Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC, about 21 years ago. The Bonanza is a true cross-country airplane, recognized worldwide for quality, reliability, and safety.
In 2002 I answered a small ad I found in a flying magazine for a group called Air Lifeline, a non-profit organization made up of pilots and airplane owners who volunteer their time and expenses, using their own aircraft to transport patients with medical conditions that make travel to get treatment an onerous burden. Many live in remote areas that are not served by airlines, or have medical conditions that make long drives or airline connections too hard to bear, or who simply can’t afford the cost of travel for medical treatment.
I have averaged about six to eight such missions a year for this group, now known as Angel Flight America, and was given a 75th Mission award a few years ago. I will continue to serve the Kingdom in this way for as long as I am able. It is my way of giving back some of the bountiful blessings that I have come to appreciate through the grace of God.
Thanks for reading!
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