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The Man Behind Allegiance Industries: A Q&A with CEO and Founder, Gary McLaurin

The Man Behind Allegiance Industries: A Q&A with CEO and Founder, Gary McLaurin

Q: Why did you start Allegiance?

A: In 1988 I transferred from Francis Marion to USC as a Junior in College. At that time, I had no job, no money, and was scraping by. My father owned a few office buildings in downtown Columbia and offered me a job – to clean the offices and bathrooms. In exchange, I received enough money to pay for rent, food, and beer.

Over the course of the next several months, word of my cleaning got around to a few other offices. Soon, I hired 8 of my fraternity brothers as cleaners. This was the start of Allegiance Industries.

When I made it to graduation, I had a choice – Go get a job in finance with my fellow scholars, or continue to grow my cleaning business. I chose to see how far I could grow Allegiance Industries.

For the next decade, I continued to sell, clean, and operate Allegiance. There isn’t a job in the company I didn’t first perform myself. Allegiance grew to a point where I knew I needed to hire and expand my leadership team. At this point, I hired John Sullivan to join the team and have his main focus be organizational growth.

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Q: Why did you decide to add Security Services to your portfolio?

A: I had a client in downtown Columbia that saw me cleaning. In passing, the client asked if Allegiance also performed security guard work. At that time, we did not have security capabilities. But I realized there was an opportunity to provide additional value to my clients. I identified a small local security company in Columbia and merged the company into Allegiance.

Q: What drove you to add electrical services to Allegiance’s capabilities?

A: On a similar note – I built up a client portfolio of manufacturing companies. I noticed a similar pattern…they all needed electricians. Over time, there was an opportunity that presented itself – a locally owned electrical company that aligned with mine and Allegiances’ values. Allegiance purchased the electrical company and the electrical division was formed in an effort to continue to provide convenient service offerings to our clients.

Q: Where do you see Allegiance going?

A: I’d like Allegiance to be viewed as THE leader in the industry.  I believe we have a team in place that cares about their work and it shows in the results we provide. I’d like clients to be able to know when they choose Allegiance, they’re choosing a company that’s going to do it right – I want people to feel a sense of comfort in knowing they chose Allegiance as their service provider.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of running Allegiance?

A: Working with the people in the company is the most rewarding part of the job.  Whether it’s the leadership team, or the front line employees – we have fantastic people in the company and I love watching them grow.  Over the course of running Allegiance, I’ve had the privilege of promoting employees from hourly workers to supervisors and managers.. and in turn, I’ve been able to watch that individual grow, their family grow, and their quality of life grow.  To know I’ve contributed a small piece of that growth is wildly rewarding.

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