Who, What, When, Why, and How
The Foundations | The Journey
My name is Dustin Rodgers and I am a semi-retired Ambassador of the KeeTooWah (Cherokee) West Terra. My wife Marileen and I are the founders of several companies.
This page is designed to answer burning questions you may have about my wife and me, and more important about our business philosophy and what we will call our incredible journey.
First, if your here your probably considering either; (a) joining; or (b) doing business with one of our companies. So you are likely here as part of your due diligence process to check us out, and we fully understand the need for due diligence processes. So no worries, nothing to hide, we believe in transparency and practice it except as regards personal matters or protected client information.
Okay, so where to start is always the thing.
Both my wife and I were born to very different realities than most.
Marileen: My wife Marileen was born to a Chinese Doctor and a family of six in Sacramento, California. Her father was financially solid, but due to his race and the prejudices of the 50’s he was the victim of an elaborate attempt to destroy him and his career. A journey he eventually came out on top of, but at the cost of his career due to the financial losses.
Never-the-less he was not poor by any means, when he passed his estate was well over five million. Mostly because he also was a very shrewd investor, and so Marileen grew up with the family taking care of many apartments they owned and an office cleaning business.
Dustin: My story is quite different. My mother was a very intelligent and successful accountant and entrepreneur. She divorced my father when I was very young, and I was told my father had passed away (20 yrs before true). While she married again briefly, the only change was a new little sister. For the rest of my childhood years up it was just the three of us and since my mother’s businesses are always swamped she was rarely home, working long office hours most of the time.
This meant I was home alone with countless hours to meditate and contemplate the world and my role. Alternatively, I would go to the office after school, and hang in the waiting room, asking all the successful business people how they make their money. I would also go with my mother on audits, where I would be learning about how business works from the backside stockrooms, etc.
Both my wife and I learned at a very young age that owning your own business is the only way to enjoy the world as we know it. Over time, this truth has only become more evident.
Marileen and I got connected when was 15, had a brand new 4×4 3rd prize winner monster truck, and manager of our family-owned health food store. My grampa convinced my mother to open the health food store and bakery, with grampa running the bakery and my mother hired Marileen to work in the bakery. It all started with extra long lunches and you can guess that we have been together ever since.
I had started my first business at 12, and as my mother and I parted ways the second time, Marileen and I went out to start our lives and our businesses. Being from business families we did not make great employees, so I had three short jobs and gave in so by the time we had been together a year, we were full in with our own businesses again. I started with a property maintenance business leveraging what I had learned from my Grampa, a general contractor.
Over the years we had about 30 businesses, mostly successful, but a couple we chose unwisely. Live and learn as they say. Our strength came in marketing, advertising, and sales. Our first adventure, ADS, Ltd. an advertising agency that morphed into what is JingleSPOT.net today a full-blown advertising agency. It all started with Marileen, a typewriter, and a phone book. She typed up mailing lists, and I sold bulk mailing (snail mail, no Internet yet, 1982) services as our first marketing adventures. Quickly we grew to handle display advertising for newsprint, and magazines as well.
Next radio advertising and we use dour marketing experience to open other companies, like “Dining for Two” which was our most successful programs ever for restaurants, averaging 5 per seating, $100+ sales and $20+ tips in 1983, I believe the most successful program f the times, and we started the process of franchising it. But the timing was bad, as Mrileen’s father was having health issues and we chose to save him instead. I always choose people over the business.
We have always had a strong philosophy about how and why we do business. It is important to us and guides us in all that we do in business. Basically, we feel that the role of business is that of servant to the community and a utility, resource, and protector of its staff and clients.
While not a classic think, ours is based on this simple concept: