At his high school graduation in 1954, Drayton McLane, Jr. probably had no idea how bright his future was. McLane currently serves as chairman of McLane Group, L.P. and chairman and CEO of the Houston Astros.
McLane graduated from Baylor University in 1958 with a business degree and continued his education at Michigan State University where he earned his master’s degree in marketing in 1959. He then went to work for his father in the family grocery business and much to his surprise, was given the task of being a second-night-shift truck loader. Although McLane protested that he had earned his master’s degree, his father believed in the importance of employees gaining respect for him before he became their supervisor.
McLane soon was promoted to vice president of purchasing. He served fourteen years as general manager of operations before he was made president and CEO of McLane Company in 1978 and chairman of McLane Group in 1992.
The McLane Company has grown into a very effective distribution system that serves grocery stores, convenience stores and the fast food industry. McLane added 16 distribution facilities and sales grew 30% while he served as president and CEO. In 1990, McLane Company merged with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and McLane served as vice chairman of Wal-Mart.
While McLane is a very successful businessman, he is also very active in the community. He is currently serving as the vice president of the Executive Board, Boy Scouts of America National Board; vice chairman of the board of trustees of Baylor University and member of Major League Baseball’s executive committee. He also serves on the board of directors at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, Greater Houston Partnership and the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast. Additionally, he is a member of the Baylor Board of Regents and has been a major benefactor of the university. The new McLane Student Life Center is named in his honor.
During the course of his career, McLane has also received numerous awards and recommendations. Among those received include the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award in 2004 (for the second time) and being named Houston Community Partners’ "Father of the Year" in 2000. He has received the 1998 Food Distributors International Herbert Hoover Food Industry Award and the 1997 American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award and awarded an honorary Doctorate from Michigan State University. He was named Master Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993 by Texas A&M University and has received Baylor University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1992, McLane was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation.
McLane enjoys spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, and sons Drayton III and Denton. As a member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Temple, he is constantly offers his time and energy. When he’s not overseeing the Houston Astros Baseball Organization, McLane happily resides in Temple, TX.