Brian McLaughlin

Brian McLaughlinage 39

CEO, Redtail

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Brian McLaughlin loves working the booth at trade shows and conferences for his company, Redtail, which makes a customer relationship management system for advisers. But when people walk up to him, they don’t often know he’s in charge of a lot more.

He’s the company’s chief executive after all.

Mr. McLaughlin got his start working in information technology for a broker-dealer in 1997, while still in college. Two years later, he was building a prototype web application that would handle far more than the legacy system offered to synchronize data.

Four years later, Redtail was officially born.

“For me, it’s always been about solving creative challenges,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

Redtail started as a beta system with 25 users, but grew, mostly through word of mouth, to about 90,000 users. His company’s mantra is “create raving fans.”

He considers his greatest accomplishment building a business that helps build better businesses.

“Everything we do every day here has been about making advisers’ actual businesses run more effectively,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Doing that for over a decade is pretty cool.”

When he isn’t working, Mr. McLaughlin loves to photograph aircraft and weather. But his job really is his passion, and that’s why he often doesn’t feel the need to advertise his title at the booths.

“I don’t think people understand how much I love what I do every day,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

— Alessandra Malito

Fast Facts

  • First job was working at his dad’s hardware store
  • Wants to go tornado chasing
  • Wanted to be a pilot growing up
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