When Daryl McLane embarked on the search for his eventual replacement at his Parksville notary public office, he went to the son of Dudley Wickett, the man from whom he acquired the business in the first place.
And now it’s right back in the family.
“When I started looking into this I asked some real estate managers who might be a good candidate,” said McLane. “Roland Wickett, manager at Coast Realty, said he might have somebody in mind.”
The “somebody” turned out to be Anthony MacAulay, the husband of Roland Wickett’s step-daughter.
Following a two-year partnership as McLane and MacAulay Notaries Public, McLane has now handed over the keys to MacAulay with full confidence.
“He fit in good, right away, with the staff and with the clients,” McLane said of MacAulay. “It was a good choice. He’s going to succeed.”
MacAulay, who will turn 40 this year, was working as a dispatch manager at a large trucking company in Aldergrove when he learned of the opportunity to change careers and move to Vancouver Island.
“I came home from work one day and my wife said her mom and Roland were at the notary’s office in Parksville and he was looking for somebody to bring in. Was I interested?” MacAulay said. “There was no hesitation.”
MacAulay may have made the decision instantly, but the transition has been a grueling, five-year process that started with his earning acceptance into the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. and returning to school to earn his Master’s of Applied Legal Studies from Simon Fraser University.
He then moved here two years ago with his wife Sara and their young son to embark on a partnership with McLane.
Even before the MacAulays arrival, McLane knew he had selected the right candidate.
“When I was looking for somebody to take this over, I wanted to be sure I had someone committed to it,” McLane said. “I knew if he could pass that course, he was committed.”
McLane wanted somebody committed not only to the office and the job, but to Parksville. He might have found a successor more quickly and easily, he admits, but he wanted the assurance he was leaving his staff, his clients and his community — in short, his legacy — in reliable hands.
MacAulay was thinking along the same lines.
“Sure, I could go through that (partnership) for two years and then run amok for the next 25 years. Or pick up and go somewhere else. But it’s not all about money. You want to continue traditions. You’re connected to that client, to that community.”
His wife’s family had both roots and a summer home in Parksville Qualicum Beach and was already familiar with the community. And MacAulay needed little selling on the move.
“It was a no-brainer,” he said. “The quality of life, you have all the amenities and services here, without the crowds and traffic of the city.”
McLane is no late-comer to the mid-Island. He moved with his family to Qualicum Beach as a six-year-old in 1960 and has remained since, taking over Dudley Wickett’s notary public office in 1986.
Prior to attending the University of British Columbia to earn his own certification as a notary, he had fished off the west coast, worked as a chokerman in the timber industry and cut shake blocks.
MacAulay may come to work in a tie and jacket now, but he had similar beginnings, having worked on a commercial fishing boat, a sawmill in Fort St. John and as a long-haul truck driver.
“I’m a professional person now, but we come from similar backgrounds,” he said.
And now he and his family are enjoying the same quality of life benefits McLane grew up with, including ski trips to Mount Washington and boating outings.
MacAulay’s five-year-old son has started in hockey and soccer, and plays baseball in the same park McLane played in as a youth.
“The quality of life I thought it would be has just been confirmed since,” he said.
“And you can go home for lunch,” McLane added helpfully.
“Yes, I live just over there,” MacAulay replied with a wave of his arm before describing hour-long commutes through traffic around metro Vancouver. “In the Lower Mainland, time is your enemy.”
His first order of business upon joining McLane’s firm, was to coax a year of that time from the established pro.
“I pushed for it,” MacAulay admits of the recently completed partnership. “Daryl wanted a year. I said, how about two?”
MacAulay was quick to note he has benefited from McLane’s mentorship throughout the two years the men worked together. But that is not to suggest a two-tiered working relationship.
“When you become a notary, there’s no ‘beginning notary’ stage,” said MacAulay. “They expect me, and the courts expect me, to provide the same level of service Daryl gave for 30 years — on Day One.”
His notary office on Memorial Avenue in downtown Parksville, which maintains the McLane & MacAulay name, offers legal services including authentication and verification, swearing of affidavits, property transfers, wills and power of attorney.
And just as importantly, if offers the community and its clients confidence and continuity.
“I had a client come in two weeks ago who was Dudley Wickett’s client, then Daryl McLane’s client, and now she’s my client.”