My funeral service career began at the young age of 5. On certain special Saturday’s, I would “go to work” with my father at Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home. After getting to spend all day at the funeral home with Dad, he would pay me the handsome sum of $1. Over the next decade or so, I slowly advanced up the funeral career ladder to car washer, lawn mower, hearse driver and pallbearer. During those years, my father did increase my wages…but as I recall, not by very much. Upon graduation from college, I worked as a CPA with the international accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co. However, even then, early every morning I would stop by our family funeral home to share a cup of coffee with my father on my way to the CPA firm.
Shortly before my law school graduation, my life changed as my father died unexpectedly. My siblings and I now owned our family business. For a number of years, I practiced law in my hometown while also providing strategic and business guidance for our funeral home. In 1994, I became a licensed funeral director/embalmer and exited the legal profession to lead Anderson-McQueen as its President/CEO. It was a turbulent, but exciting, time of changes, challenges and opportunities. As President/CEO, I had to grapple with a skyrocketing cremation rate, a declining population, and a much younger community as its average age plummeted from 52 to 39. Our “golden era” of funeral service as we had known it was over. Yet, through a number of innovative initiatives, our call volume increased 400%, our locations grew from one to five, and Anderson-McQueen became not only the largest Florida family-owned funeral home but a well-respected name throughout the country. We responded to “value migration” through multiple brand development. We celebrated cremation with the construction of our Cremation Tribute Center. We built relationships with our Pet Passages division. We increased revenues with our Life Tribute reception services. We embraced innovation by being the first commercial Alkaline Hydrolysis human crematory in the world.
During my death-care career, I held a number of leadership positions including CANA President and Board member, NFDA national spokesperson, Funeral Service Foundation Planning Giving Committee, and FAMIC “Talk of a Lifetime” Council. Furthermore, I am a former principal with the funeral consulting firm, Graystone Associates, and a certified cremation expert by the Florida courts.
As 2010 came to an end, so did my Anderson-McQueen leadership role and ownership as I sold my interest to my younger brother John. After passing the baton, I returned to law school to obtain an advanced legal degree in Estate Planning and Business Succession Planning. Today, I am privileged to be a founding partner of the law firm McQueen & Siddall, LLP, with offices in Florida and Arizona, and using my talents and expertise as an attorney-at-law, CPA, business consultant and funeral professional to serve as a “Trusted Advisor” to funeral home owners planning for their own succession.
I am blessed to call St. Petersburg, Florida not only my place of birth but also my “home”. I live on Tampa Bay overlooking downtown St. Petersburg with my wife of 25 years and enjoy spending my little bit of free time with her and my three daughters.