Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday October 21st 2014

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#3 Julian MacQueen

Julian MacQueen
Founder & CEO, Innisfree Hotels

Work is serious business. For one local hotelier it is also somewhat spiritual.

“I’d say my mantra is…” MacQueen pauses and ponders the question for a moment. “—Work is worship if it is done as a service to mankind.”

Most visitors to the Pensacola area never wade into local politics. They don’t hear from elected officials or get wrapped up in the issues of the day.

Most people visiting our area come here to escape. They escape from their jobs and their troubles and their day-to-day concerns. They escape to the beach.

MacQueen is happy to help visitors escape. He stands ready to usher them into a relaxing Emerald Coast sunset.

“We take that responsibility seriously,” MacQueen said. “We feel like we are putting Pensacola’s best foot forward and are ambassadors.”

As founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels, MacQueen has emerged as one of the more influential players in the area’s tourism arena. He oversees six hotels in the Gulf Coast area—in both Florida and Alabama—and was recently named as the 2012 Business Leader of the Year by the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Though he now resides at the top rungs of his ladder, MacQueen began his journey at a humble station.

“I started as a busboy at 15 and kind of just grew up in the business,” he recalled.

After getting a psychology degree from the University of South Alabama, MacQueen went on to found Innisfree in 1986. The company has traveled an upward trajectory since.

“We just grew organically for the last ever how many years that is,” the hotelier said, adding that he intends to continue growing Innisfree along the Gulf Coast—“to the east and to the west.”

MacQueen feels that Pensacola is at a “tipping point.” He believes the region is at the doorstep of a new day and has “arrived at the point where we’re not being held back.”

“I’m happy to be a player in that process,” MacQueen said.