When I opened Drew & the Crew Motorsports and picked up the Suzuki motorcycle dealership line I was able to bring my son in as a full partner. We enjoyed a good 7 years of working together and growing customers right and left. We grew our market to become the number one market for several categories in the industry. Then at the start of the recession the banking industry was struggling to stay alive and recover their losses decided to restructure their flooring policies for motorcycle and off road vehicles throughout the USA. Because of the lack of substantial capital we were forced to close the doors along with many other small dealerships throughout the USA with only giant dealerships surviving. My son had to move to Colorado for a job and take care of his family. I started spending more time in another business my wife and I owned and got more involved in County and State politics.
After 10 hard years of building our other business into a successful business we were able to sell the business and give me the time to pursue my career in politics. Because of my business and government background I am able to see not just how things are being done, but the inefficiencies of government and at the same time understand the struggles in rural Arizona, especially for small business owners. With this experience I plan to be able to work at the capital and always keep my family, neighbors and friends in rural Arizona in the fore front of my thoughts when it comes to legislation trying to be passed and needing to be passed or even changed.
I remember when the AZ State Parks was looking at closing our local Roper Lake State Park. I met with the managing ranger to talk with him and look over the parks financial statements and see where the money was going. After spending some time with him and analyzing the revenue and expenditures from the park it was simple to see the problem, but a little more difficult of course to find the solution. Because of my business background and common sense I sat down again with the ranger to discuss the parks expenditures and at the same time talk about revenue in a little more detail.
Throwing money at the problem wasn’t the answer to fixing the problem because nobody had the money to develop a sustainable revenue stream at the time without creating another tax, “and I was dead set against that”. Many parks throughout the state worked hard and developed a one or two year influx of revenue and that wasn’t an answer in my book. We looked over the detailed list of expenses by line item again and realized that there were some costs that could be completed by or helped with by local entities with very little expense to the taxpayer, and at the same time create more efficiencies in the parks operation. With that information I met with all the local entity leaders and with their help we were able to put a multi-entity agreement together and brought the expenditure level below the revenue of the park.
I met with the State Parks Director and the AZ State Parks Board and our plan was received unanimously by the board and we were able to keep the park open and operating in the black to this day. The agreement is renewed every 3 years and as the park improves its revenue then we plan to dissolve the contract. Because of the business and common sense approach to the problem, the State Parks Board recognized and awarded me for innovative thinking and creating an agreement different and more sustainable than any other park project in the state. I thank my parents, colleagues, past employers and friends for teaching me the common sense business approach to solving problems and thank the Lord for helping me retain it.
Being raised in a farm and ranch atmosphere was the biggest blessing I have had in my life. It taught me how to work hard and you learn fast how to work smart. It was a life that I wished I could have raised my children in. We lived 20 miles from town but my parents made sure I was involved in sports and school activities and never missed many. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to do all my chores before and after any events I was involved in. It didn’t matter what time I got home from that football game or track meet, I still had to feed the animals and milk the cow.
I started driving tractor at 8 yrs. old and drove my first D9 Caterpillar at 12 yrs. old. We grew mostly alfalfa hay for Chino, CA and the Hackberry Ranch towards Duncan, so irrigating, cutting and hauling hay got priority over most everything at our place. We were pretty modern because we had a pickup with a phone in it, but you had to park in a certain place on the hill to make and receive phone calls and the horn would honk when someone would call. We had animals like most everybody, with hogs, chickens and cattle for our meat and of course the corn, vegetables and good ole watermelons. We worked hard and we played hard, we weren’t perfectionists but we worked hard till we got it right or would do it again till we did. This was where good work ethics and common sense were learned and developed. My dad always said that your word and reputation is all you got because money comes and goes and people too. I know we will probably never get back to those days but the rural lifestyle we do have we need to make sure we protect it and not let government destroy it by taking away our rural businesses and family operations because the city doesn’t always recognize the values of our country and state.
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Drew John for AZ House of Representatives LD14
I’ve always enjoyed business ventures. My father had an entrepreneurial spirit and I think it was passed on down to his 4 sons and 2 daughters. At one time, my brothers and sisters were involved in management and/or ownership of businesses in the Gila Valley and had a combined total of easily over a half million dollars in salaries per year. I’ve had many business ventures, some with family, some with partners, some as small corporations and many as sole proprietor and limited liability corporations.
Working hard long hours was the easy part because of being taught and raised with strong work ethics. But, dealing with regulations, employees lacking work ethics, taxes and the responsibility of providing for your employees family. Always writing their paycheck first and hoping to be able to take care of business operations and giving yourself a check has sometimes been a struggle. It is sometimes frustrating putting in 70 to 80 hours a week when necessary and then writing those checks for payroll taxes, estimated state and federal taxes and other overhead and still take care of what you went into business for, providing products and services to your customers. But of course that’s the fun and challenge of being in business and contributing to your community and family.