Tom McGlone: Working to Change the Tone
If Rehoboth Beach resident Tom McGlone had known that his hometown of Collingswood, New Jersey was dry (no alcohol is sold, even in restaurants) he might have somehow arranged not to have been born there. In spite of the blue laws, he and his four siblings managed to grow up unscathed (to be fair, you can “BYO” to restaurants). He attended the local high school and enrolled at Drexel University in West Philadelphia.
Tom was always fascinated by numbers and mathematics. He finished college with a spotless 4.0 average, ranking seventh out of 300 students. He was snapped up by RCA Corporation even before he graduated, becoming a project cost analyst for their government/defense contracting division. He eventually moved to their Maryland satellite office. What he didn’t know was that they put him there as the point man to lay off other employees in response to defense cutbacks.
After a few years, Tom left RCA and joined another government and defense contracting company. More of the same, except at least now he didn’t have to fire people. But he was still bored. So when he heard about a vacant position at a place called Duty Free International, he jumped at the chance. DFI operates those “duty free” shops you see in international air terminals and at the Canadian and Mexican borders. Tom loved the work, especially the numbers-intensive process of taking them public. (He assures me that he never had access to any “duty free” alcohol, and I sense a bit of that Collingswood upbringing showing through.)
Tom does make a point of telling me that liquor distributors would often host “management meetings” to introduce the upper-level executives to their brands. More than once Tom was faced with sampling multiple varieties of scotch. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, except that it was at 8 a.m.! In spite of these obligatory tastings, the company became more corporate after they went public, and Tom saw a career change in his future. But more than that was about to change.
While he was at Duty Free International, he and a young man from Wales named Andy Meddick both happened to respond to the same ad in Washington, D.C.’s City Paper. The ad was for a brunch party. One thing led to another, and without further ado, the guys set up housekeeping barely six months later in Ellicott City, just outside Baltimore, Maryland.
Tom was hired as a financial advisor for the Baltimore office of the brokerage firm, Olde Discount. He quickly became the branch manager of the Detroit company’s Baltimore office. Andy worked in Fairfax, Virginia for a management consulting company, eventually becoming a computer guru for Marriott Corporation. In the meantime, Olde Discount was sold, and Tom took a job as a financial advisor for Prudential (which was gobbled up by Wachovia, and then absorbed by Wells Fargo).
Tom and Andy loved to escape to Rehoboth Beach, always staying at the old “Sand in my Shoes” B&B (now the Canalside Inn). Both men loved the small-town atmosphere, the lower/slower lifestyle and, in Tom’s words, “all the nice people.” So in 2001 they built a house right in the middle of it all on State Road.
Andy started Good For You Farms on Rt. 9 just outside Lewes; tilling the soil and selling his organically grown produce at farmers’ markets. The little farm eventually morphed into Good For You Foods, specializing in local produce and gourmet health foods. In 2010, while giving a lecture on organic farming techniques, Andy ran into Nino Mancari, the head chef at Rehoboth’s Salt Air restaurant. Nino was fascinated with the idea of incorporating organic produce and locally raised meats into the menu at Salt Air. One thing again led to another (isn’t that always the way?), and Good For You Foods and the surrounding farmland became Salt Air Farm to Table, providing locally grown meats and vegetables to the restaurant and the public. Meddick has since dubbed himself The Big Cheese at the Rehoboth Beach Cheese Company, marketing artisan cheeses and specialty foods online.
Tom was still associated with Wells Fargo, but it was time for him to create his own “brand” to promote his financial planning services. Thus was born Heirloom Wealth Advisors. He loves being in business for himself in spite of today’s unpredictable (to say the least) market.
Never once did it cross McGlone’s mind to venture into the political arena, but it’s obvious from the signs around town that that’s exactly what he’s done. Like most of us who call Rehoboth Beach our home, Tom loves living here and believes he can use his talents to “Change the Tone” by pulling people together to help make local government more effective.
Bob Yesbek is a Rehoboth Beach resident. Email Bob Yesbek