By Bill O’Driscoll
Clif Maclin is seemingly everywhere on the Northern Nevada business scene.
He mingles at networking events. He speaks before audiences. He’s a staple at the weekly 1 Million Cups Reno event, tossing probing questions to entrepreneurs showcasing their startup enterprises.
And he still, at age 73, maintains clients for his own consultant/strategist business, Maclin International Inc., in addition to devoting time to the board of trustees at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and with at-risk kids in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. (Maclin and his wife, Dr. Karen Gedney, are also NCET members).
Slow down? Not on his radar, he insists, and flashes his recently won — for the third straight year — gold medal for his age group in the Professional Natural Body Building Association’s worldwide competition in Las Vegas.
“I pump a lot of iron and run a lot of miles. Six days a week,” he said.
Such drive, he said, is rooted to his childhood when his parents set a high bar early on in the Maclin home in Chicago. From his father, a successful African American real estate developer in the 1940s, he learned not to let race get in the way of helping people.
“My father always said labels don’t tell you anything about people. You have to walk with them,” he said. “He always said, ‘The door of opportunity is open. Walk through it.’ “
As the oldest of four siblings, Maclin was obligated, often to his resentment, to set a good example, especially to his brother and sister 12 and 14 years his junior.
“They watched everything I did. They really did look up to me,” he said.
In the late ’60s, he served in Vietnam as an Army infantry officer, and returned with wounds that required hospitalization at the same time his aging parents were enduring critical illnesses. He made plans to attend Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and his mother asked him to take custody of his pre-teen brother, Kenny.
At the same time he was also battling the psychological effects of war. It had challenged his sense of right and wrong, morality, religion. The convergence of those challenges alongside his brother’s welfare provided a key turning point. He easily could have turned to drugs or worse, he said.
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