Darrell MacLean is the President of Southern Middlesex Industries, which provide services in the area of demolition and environmental protection. From his early years, he was involved with the heavy-equipment sector that pertains to demolition as his father had the same interests. Having started this business over 23 years ago, Darrell MacLean has been fortunate to see his revenues grow well beyond anything that he ever anticipated. Now, since he gathered enough money to support his family for many years to come, he is one of the most popular philanthropists in his community. Outside of his business, which also contributes to various projects that facilitate community development, he donates a lot of time and capital to the local schools, fire stations, and the police force in his hometown called Norwood in Massachusetts.
Can you describe some of your latest projects?
So, I had a few clients who hired my agency to deal with the so-called “sick building syndrome” recently. For those outside of this industry, that means that the building in which someone resides is giving them health issues. Ultimately, smaller issues can become hazards that may impact the long-term health of an individual. Our company’s goal is to prevent such an unfortunate occurrence by acting fast. One of the first steps we had to go through was determining what type of contaminant may be present in the structure of the building. Once we did this, we spent some time coming up with the right attack that will beat every line of defense, regardless of how resilient the bacteria might be. The next stage actually is to remove the contaminant, and that is what awaits us in the following few weeks.
What would be the health risks of living in a building that has been infected with things like mold, asbestos, or PCBs?
It depends on the severity of the situation. For example, one might have enough mold in their home to seriously damage their airways and cause some permanent damages. On the other hand, some people spend their entire lives living with mold and never even sneeze once because there is not enough of it to cause any reactions. Usually, we do our best to prioritize clients who explicitly tell us that they are struggling with a mold allergy and are unable to live at their residence.
You are also very active in the field of demolition, correct?
Yes. I originally started my career in demolition and then slowly shifted to the area of decontamination. If you ask me what my favorite projects are, I will always have to list the ones where a crane and a stone ball were involved. I am not sure why, but demolition has always been interesting to me. Not to mention that there is a lot more to it than simply breaking something. Although destruction is the bottom line, one must know how to break something down, where the materials need to fall, how to hit them efficiently, and so on.
Have you ever experienced any heavy metal poisoning with some of your customers or even employees?
I have not had any employees get affected by this condition as we have a very throughout and somewhat tedious process that nearly guarantees one will not be exposed to any chemicals that might be life-threatening. The clients, however, are an entirely different story. Over the course of my career, I probably got involved with more projects that originated from someone’s disease than anything else. People often fail to realize that the contaminant might be present in their water or food supply. Consequently, they consume their beverages or eat their meals completely clueless about the type of bacteria that might have entered their system.
Did you hire someone else to run your business while you spend most of your time at the client’s site?
Not exactly. I definitely hired more personnel to deal with things like payroll and creating schedules for my independent contractors. When it comes to taking care of this business, however, that entirely falls on me, and I expect no help from anyone. In all honesty, I find the business side of things to be one of the main reasons why I was able to remain loyal to one small sector for so long.
What would be official advice from Darrell MacLean for those looking to start a business like this?
I would advise everyone to be an independent contractor and work for someone else first. It pays off to see how things function on the other side and it can help you become a better boss one day. One of my biggest competitive advantages came from the fact that I know how my workers feel and what they might react positively to.