Social Responsibility: In conversation with R. Vernon Mangels
Chief Executive Officer of Anaheim RV Park (Headquartered in the USA) Founder and Board Member of Sergeant R. Vernon Mangels Education First Scholarship
“My grandfather was my biggest influencer. Throughout his life, I saw him give money away and support people in the community and the church. I want to follow his example and keep giving back.”
R VERNON MANGELS
R Vernon Mangels is Chief Executive Officer of Anaheim RV Park, a campground, located less than a mile from Disneyland (Camping in Mickey’s Backyard), in California. It is a thirdgeneration business, founded in 1956 by his grandparents. Joining the family business was neither his first nor only foray into entrepreneurship.
“I think I always had entrepreneurial spirit. From the mid 1980’s through the early 2000’s, I owned a naval orange growing business, a cell phone company, an A/V company and a series of women’s gyms. My actual career was in law enforcement – I used to joke that my day job kept me away from my companies!”
Under his stewardship, which began during the global financial crisis in 2008, Anaheim RV Park has transformed from a business that was struggling to turn a profit with decades of deferred maintenance, into one that has enjoyed growth and won industry accolades (it ranks as a number one attraction in the area on TripAdvisor).
Commercial success has been worth the asking price of intense personal commitment and fraught family litigation to gain full ownership. “I really did it all for my mother. She is genuinely one of the most compassionate and supportive women I have ever met. I have never known anyone to work as hard as her – she worked six days a week when I was growing up. I had to preserve and grow the family legacy for her sake, and for my two daughters.”
Strong financial results also meant that Mr Mangels could invest to support the business’s workforce. “About 85% of our employees are college students, so that means we have an automatic ‘revolving door’ when it comes to recruitment. But we take their career development seriously, as we know that even if they only stay with us for a couple of years it’s at a formative stage where they need to develop clientfacing skills.”
The business offers 401K plans to encourage saving and provides on-site chaplain support for employees and customers. In his personal time, he also supports many projects that further the causes he cares about.
“I’ve been blessed to live comfortably, so I support some important charities. One is Cops for Kids, a local charity that looks after the widows and orphans of police officers. I’ve also set up a scholarship to be offered to three graduating High
School students each year in the City of La Habra.”
He adds: “I also see a number of charitable projects in my future. I am preparing to start ‘Camp for a Cause’ – that will help retired people to travel in their motor homes to campgrounds, where they will host events to raise money for local charities, meet other people and do a range of outdoor activities.”
As a committed Christian, social responsibility and Kingdom building is at the heart of Mr Mangels’ belief system. He also believes his grandfather was instrumental in opening his eyes to the personal impact he could have as a business owner.
“My grandfather was my biggest influencer. Even as a young man growing up, he was my mentor. He was born in 1906 so he saw tough economic times for both himself and his family. Yet he built up a chain of barbershops and hotels. Throughout his life, I saw him give
money away and support people in the community and the church. I want to follow his example and keep giving back.”
The above article is an excerpt from BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report 2018.
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Picture source: LinkedIn