TDIndustries is a leading mechanical construction and facilities service company in Dallas. MacDowell is the third CEO at TDIndustries, following in the footsteps of his predecessors–demigods in the servant leadership spectrum: founder Jack Lowe, Sr. and his son, Jack Lowe, Jr.
As the CEO since 2005, MacDowell continues to deepen TD’s commitment to servant leadership and to the “Great Place to Work” culture that plays such a key role in sustaining an environment in which employees are valued, respected, and appreciated. They’re also 100 percent employee-owned, and everyone is on a first-name basis. As a result, TD has made Fortune magazine’s prestigious 100 Best Companies list for 20 straight years.
MacDowell says the focus has always been about keeping people employed, even during the worst of times. He tells Contracting Business magazine, “We’ve learned through every down cycle in the economy of the need to react quickly, and look far enough ahead to be sure we have the revenue we need to keep people employed.”
Since culture matters more than anything at TD, leaders at every level ensure that their core values are lived out daily:
- Build and Maintain Trusting Relationships
- Fiercely Protect the Safety of All Partners
- Lead With a Servant’s Heart
- Passionately Pursue Excellence
- Celebrate the Power of Individual Differences
Communication is a key attribute of MacDowell’s servant leadership. He has set up formal and informal feedback mechanisms to get important and open feedback, a practice started by founder Jack Lowe, who used to invite groups of employees to his home for spaghetti dinners. MacDowell makes sure that all of his senior leaders have similar sessions at least quarterly, to listen deeply and keep communication open.
TDIndustries has had numerous buy-out offers. Each time, MacDowell concluded that selling out would kill their servant leadership culture. He says, “If we sold out to somebody else, they’d want to run the number up, flip it, and take it public. And I haven’t seen many of those operations preserve the cultures of the great companies that were bought out. We’re focused on generating the wealth through the employee stock ownership plan, without killing the culture.”