Meet John, Braustin’s Newest Team Member
In our final installment of the “Meet the Team” series, John Wondra and I got a chance to talk about his background in the workforce—from crummy jobs to managing stores for top tech companies—and how he eventually found himself as the newest member of the Braustin Mobile Homes team.
John was born and raised in San Antonio, TX with his two older sisters. His parents, also from San Antonio, divorced when he was young and his mom worked to raise him and his siblings alone until remarrying a few years later.
He got his first job, like many San Antonians, at H-E-B, kicking off his time in the workforce bringing in grocery carts under the blazing Texas sun. After three months of the grueling work, John knew he wanted to pursue a job indoors and spent the next two years of high school working the register, as well other miscellaneous duties, at Double Dave’s, a pizza buffet.
At the end of high school, John headed off to Texas State University, where his older sister had gone before him and obtained her Bachelor’s degree. He tried doing everything the “right way” and even joined a fraternity, but, John says, “One semester in, I was like…this is not for me.”
“I ended up moving back home and went to community college,” John says, “My goal was to move out and get a job,” he continues, but realized it wouldn’t be sustainable while only being able to work part time. Still, with the future in mind, “I decided to apply at Radio Shack. I love technology and I’ve always been fascinated by it.”
So, living at home, working part time, and attending school, John was soon offered a full time position at Radio Shack. He knew he couldn’t do both school and a full time job, and, trying not to upset his education focused family, quietly accepted the offer and did not re-enroll in classes the following semester. “I knew what I needed to do and I knew what I wanted to do,” John says.
His full time opportunity afforded him the ability to live on his own and he excelled quickly at Radio Shack, soon becoming the Store Manager. A few months in, however, John realized that, though his own store was doing well, Radio Shack was going out of business.
“I started looking right away and managed to get a job at Apple.”
He enjoyed working there as well, but very quickly felt he had maxed out his potential for growth after achieving the “Expert” position, knowing Apple did not typically hire managers internally.
It was around this time that John’s senior manager—David Garcia—at the Apple store announced he was leaving to become the COO for a new company called Geekdom, which would be operating a shared workspace for entrepreneurs in downtown San Antonio.
“I had no idea what a coworking space was, but it had the word ‘geek’ in it, so I was like, oh that sounds cool!”
So when he received a Facebook message from David to come tour Geekdom, he jumped at the chance. He quickly accepted an offer to become the Community and Events Coordinator, with the condition he would commit to the job for two years before joining on with one of the exciting tech start-ups he was bound to be drawn to.
Committed to the timeframe he’d agreed to with David, he dove into his new role at Geekdom, working over 500 events his first year as well as hosting hundreds of Facebook Live interviews.
“I used to be terrified of public speaking, and little did I know my job would consist of me having to go on stage and talk about Geekdom… so I’ve learned a lot and I’ve done a lot and I’m very glad I had this opportunity,” he says.
So how does Braustin come into the picture, you might be wondering.
“Right when I got hired on [at Geekdom], Braustin Mobile Homes became a member,” John says.
Over the next year and a half, John watched as the Braustin team worked their way from a table workspace in the common area of Geekdom into an office, while simultaneously constructing a permanent lot on the south side of the city.
While on the look-out for his next opportunity, John says, “I wanted something I could see from the start and grow with.”
As his time with Geekdom approached its close, John began speaking more with Alberto at Braustin, attracted by both the passion and ambition of the team, as well as “the fact that they took an industry and are completely changing it. And not just to change it because they want to, but to change it for the customer–to really help them out. It’s all about the customer, it’s never about them.”
When asked, after all the electronic and technology based jobs he’s had, why he wanted to sell mobile homes, John says, “With Braustin, it’s not really even about just selling a mobile home, it’s about sharing the technology with the consumer to make it easier for them. It’s about ‘who can you help and how can you help them in the best way’.”
Having only started with the company two weeks ago, John won’t be unleashed on the phones until September 1st, “I’m just taking notes and I’m a sponge right now,” he says.