Marie Macklin CBE is Founder and Executive Chair of The HALO Urban Regeneration Company. Marie is a prominent figure in the Scottish business community and throughout the UK who pushes the boundaries in both the public and private sectors to achieve incredible results. In July, Marie accepted an Honorary Degree at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Graduation and Awards ceremony, making her a Doctor of Business Administration.

The HALO brand is an imaginative, innovative and inspirational urban regeneration initiative to transform local communities experiencing economic challenges. The first HALO will be located on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and will create a unique urban park with a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter.The next HALO project is proposed for Belfast, with Wales and the North West of England to follow.

What is the coolest thing you have ever done?

On being selected for the Herald on Sunday’s Cool List, Marie Macklin CBE said: “The ‘coolest’ thing I have ever done is set up the HALO brand and its trademarks #RockStar, #RockMe and #RockAngels which will support the next generation of Scotland’s entrepreneurs who are starting or developing their own businesses. The HALO is about being ‘disruptive’ and ‘rocking the economy’ to create practical advantages for local communities. We like to think and act as pioneers and stretch traditional regeneration boundaries.”

Picture:  Robert Perry

Have there been any key moments of satisfaction for you with HALO?

“I was really proud to establish Scottish Power as the headline platinum sponsor of the HALO earlier this year in a ground-breaking £5m, five year partnership. It is really exciting that Scottish Power, part of the global energy giant Iberdrola, is committed to playing a key role in creating the HALO’s cyber and digital training and learning facility which will be at the forefront of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. The partnership with Scottish Power is going to change the lives of young people, not just in Ayrshire but across the whole of Scotland.”

Do you have a philosophy of work or life?

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s where you’re going and having heart on that journey.”

I’ve seen a picture of you with Barack Obama – how did that happen?

“It was a cool moment and an honour to meet Barack Obama at a Hunter Foundation event in Edinburgh, as he is all about creating positive change in communities and is dedicated to achieving this with the Obama Foundation.”

I read that you were at the front of the march in Kilmarnock to save the Johnnie Walker plant – what are your memories of that day?

“Out of the dark always comes light and that was a difficult time for my hometown of Kilmarnock. It was truly inspiring to see the community show its heart and determination when 20,000 people marched to save the Johnnie Walker plant. That day was the catalyst for me to create the HALO brand which will provide young people and the local community with sustainable long-term economic and social benefits.”

Do you have any news? Anything recent you would like me to mention?

“I was extremely proud that the HALO was able to be a part of the Hampden Park Ltd team, who worked ever so hard to secure its dream of keeping Hampden as Scotland’s National Stadium and the home of Scottish football.

“It was fantastic to hear that the SFA has decided to stay at Hampden Park, support the local community and of course keep Hampden Roaring!”

Read more at The Herald: The final countdown to the Cool List – who’s number one?

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