‘On-The-Board’ with Area Foster Children
Passion is a word often heard within the walls of Estrin-Hinds. It’s used by team members in all aspects of the business to describe the foundation of the company’s core tenets, on and off the job. Passion is evident in the homes and business dwellings built by the (26-year-old) company that define much of the beauty of the SoCal valleys and shorelines.
Once a month, if you head to Mondo’s Beach in Ventura, you may see passion-in-motion as John Villela, superintendent at E-H, volunteers for More Than Conquerors Surf, a faith-based non-profit organization created to share the challenges and rewards of surfing with MTC youth who live in foster care.
“Our mission is to provide an ultimate surf experience in a safe and fun environment, while encouraging personal growth and community,” said Villela.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I’ve lived in Newbury Park, California, my whole life, but it’s fair to say I did a lot of growing up on the beaches of the greater LA area. I fell in love with surfing and eventually opened a surf shop in Camarillo, CA, which I operated for 17 years.
Q: What can surfing teach us about life in general?
A: Surfing has a grounding effect. Most of the time when you’re in the water you are only thinking about one thing, the next wave. Sometimes in business and in life we need to slow down and realize that a healthy existence is comprised of more than just work. At E-H we have several core values and one of them is “staying on the board” a metaphor for remembering to keep our work-life balance in check. Surfing helps with that.
Q: Why do you think community service is important?
A: It has always been important to me in my faith to give back wherever I can. I always try to look for ways to help others. I’ve also been involved in a youth group for high school kids for over 10 years.
Q: Why do you support this organization?
A: My friend Elle Miller, founder of More Than Conquerors, came to me with this idea to start helping kids in the foster care system by sharing the thrill of surfing. I have literally had a kid whose temporary foster parent said they had never seen him smile in all the months of being with them until he stood up and rode a wave with me. When someone tells you something like that, you know you are making an impact, and once you start helping others it becomes its own reward.
Q: Are others within in E-H also involved?
A: Eric is also a lifelong avid surfer, so he gets what we’re doing and supports my desire to dedicate Saturdays to help the kids.
Q: Do you see a link between the More Than Conquerors organization and building better communities at E-H?
A: I feel that anytime you’re doing good things, only good can come from it. Being supported by my workplace in one of my outside passions helps build a sense of purpose and, of course, a better community.
Q: How long have you worked at E-H and in the industry?
A: I jumped feet first into construction in 2014 and have been with E-H since the beginning of 2017.
Q: What do you love most about your role at Estrin Hinds?
A: Running construction projects is like getting to be involved in an episodic version of a home improvement show. We are constantly learning and being challenged to rise to the next level.