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2015 Men of the Year Honoree: Martin Mac Donald

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A quote was shared with Martin Mac Donald 25 years ago, and it’s stuck with him ever since.

“It’s more important to be effective than it is to be efficient,” he says.

Despite these words, it’s obvious Mac Donald figured out how to exemplify both effectiveness and efficiency. He’s spent the last 21 years with Bass Pro Shops and now serves as Director of Conservation and Community Relations – roles that have taught him a thing or two about leadership.

“In summary, my leadership style starts with motivation and the engagement of individuals and partners,” says Mac Donald. “It radiates to the strategic business planning model of strategy and finishes with a sense to never give up and to focus on your vision.”

Professionally, that vision has led to action.

“I am a very outgoing person who has the ability to motivate individuals and to be able to put together a team in the accomplishment of a goal,” he says, noting one such accomplishment – the naming and founding of the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness Festival. “This event has a significant tourist impact on the Springfield area every year as thousands of participants come to the various events from around the country and even foreign countries.”

All told, the festival has brought in people from all 50 states and comprises five events: Tour De Bass, Dogwood Canyon Trail Run, The Zombie Run, Paint the Run and Marathon Weekend. The festival also serves as an umbrella for the Media Challenge and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Days, a partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.

“In 2014, it was estimated that 10,000 folks attended the event at Lake Springfield Park,” he says.

Mac Donald’s civic achievements are just as prolific. He’s a founding board member for both the James River Basin Partnership and the Upper White River Watershed Basin Foundation. Mac Donald also helped found the Ozark Heritage Foundation, which works to enhance the outdoor recreational services of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Dam Recreation Area. Then there is his work with the Oaks Committee, which focuses on putting together an outdoor plan for the state of Missouri.

Additionally, Mac Donald’s work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is especially noteworthy.

“I have personally raised over $200,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” says Mac Donald, who has served in various capacities for local groups that have been part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Team in Training program. “My goal is to get individuals to attempt to run a marathon and to finish the 26.2 miles, while at the same time connecting to the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by making a difference in the fight against blood cancers.”

He also notes that 90 percent of the Team in Training members have finished the marathon and met the fundraising goals for the society.

“The rigorous training program and the fundraising elements of the program changes the sedentary lifestyle of the participant and instills in everyone how you can accomplish hard goals in life,” he says.

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