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Builders add to 200 years of tradition

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by Jan K. Allen

SBJ Contributing Writer

Rusty and Julie MacLachlan, owners of J. Russell MacLachlan Custom Homes have been in the home building business in Springfield for 14 years. Though Rusty earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Central Missouri State in Warrensburg he never had any doubt his life's work would be in the building trade.

The MacLachlan clan has been involved in construction for more than 200 years, so far as the family has been able to trace. And evidence indicates it's probably been much longer. MacLachlans were building castles in Scotland before America was a country.

For the last two centuries, the trade has been passed down, without interruption, from father to son each generation. It's hard to say when the first MacLachlan laid stone with mortar in the region of Cowal, Scotland.

Once in America, Rusty's great grandfather started building in the Chicago area, then moved to the Ozarks around the turn of the century.

He established his business in this region and built the Selmore Baptist Church soon after he arrived. The brick structure is still in use today.

Both Rusty MacLachlan's granddad and his dad continued the age-old family tradition, building in and around the Springfield area. Rusty and his younger brother Randy, who runs his own building business, carry on the family banner today.

Rusty MacLach-lan met his wife, Julie, at Warrensburg and started in the business as soon as he graduated. In the beginning, they built mostly spec houses, developing a name for themselves.

The couple take a team approach to their business: he does the building; she helps with book work and does interior design.

"We work together all the way through," he said.

The company has built more than 150 houses, mostly custom homes, in its 14 years of operation. With 24 homes in Quail Creek to his credit, Rusty has also built in Spring Creek, Cooper Estates, Stone Meadows and The Landing.

J. Russell MacLachlan has been chosen by the developers as one of four designated builders for the new Rivercut Golf Community project. The development is slated to begin cutting streets in February.

Several MacLachlan home designs are built on larger acreages as well, in keeping with the current trend in the upper-level housing market. Many high-end buyers are requiring more land and greater privacy.

The MacLachlans build in a range between $200,000 and $650,000. The bulk of these new homes are between $350,000 and $500,000, Rusty MacLachlan said. They currently have two houses under construction.

The couple attribute much of the success of their business to their faith in God, their relationship with their customers and their honesty in dealing with people.

"We really spend a lot of time with the people we build for," Julie Mac-Lachlan said.

The books for each job are open to the buyers, and they know where every penny goes, Rusty MacLachlan added.

The MacLachlan family attends Wesley United Methodist Church, where Julie and Rusty both teach senior-high Sunday school. For recreation Rusty Mac-Lachlan coaches soccer and baseball, while Julie MacLachlan coaches girls' basketball and helps with their daughters' Brownie troops.

They still find enough hours in the day to spend quality time with their three children: Megan, 12, Kelsey, 9, and Jackson, 6.

Rusty MacLachlan has served as secretary of both the Springfield Home Builders Association and the Missouri branch of HBA. At the end of 1997, he finished a three-year term as chairman of the board of trustees for his church.

To increase his knowledge and understanding of the housing market, MacLachlan obtained his real estate broker's license. Keeping up with license requirements helps keep him abreast of legislation affecting the building trade.

In citing his reasons for becoming a contractor, MacLachlan listed a "passion for building" he suspects may be hereditary. He also mentioned the pride and accomplishment of carrying on the family tradition.

But overall, his first answer was simple. "I really love it," he said.

He then recalled something his dad told him several years ago that has stuck with him: "If you love what you're doing, you'll never work a day in your life."

INSET CAPTION:

Rusty MacLachlan has been named

as one of

four designated

builders for the

new Rivercut

Golf Community.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Rusty and Julie MacLachlan take a team approach to the homes their company builds; he does the construction, she does interior design and keeps the books.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Rusty and Julie MacLachlan continue the family construction tradition begun in this region by Rusty MacLachlan's great grandfather.[[In-content Ad]]

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