MR. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
Holding the key to success in life is a valuable thing. Just ask Auto Recycling CEO, published author, motivational speaker, and consulting guru Ron Sturgeon. This Dallas/Ft. Worth resident has held the keys to more than 56 of his dream cars, a lavish spread, and the doors of destiny—all while closing business deals in excess of $20 million. How has he done this? Peer benchmarking. Don’t know what that is? Ask him.
By Mike Landers
Name: Ron Sturgeon
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
Orchestral movie score music swells from Ron Sturgeon’s office stereo system, and the feeling of grandeur it invokes is only strengthened by the vast hundreds of thousands of dollars that surround the office at Ron’s DFW Elite Toy Museum, in the form of both vintage toy and functional modern automobiles. Totaling nearly 3,000 in number, half the extremely rare vintage toy cars in Ron’s collection (some valued upward of $15 to $20K apiece) sit catty-corner to the real garage, filled with a Ferrari 599, F430, 458 Italia, Mercedes SLS, and Audi R8, among others. While one of his companies, DFW Drive Your Dream, allows customers the opportunity to experience a life behind the wheel of super cars they can only dream of, it appears Ron is actually living his dream. Having a multi-million dollar mansion in the quiet, nearby suburb of Colleyville, Texas, with a 10-car garage only further validates Ron’s aura. Even Ron’s dogs live the life of kings—Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, that is. With their own private-access chateau on the property and their own blog, these canines live the “Every Dog Has His Day” motto seven days a week. Upon greeting us, Ron’s candor is as colorful as the Robert Graham shirts that have become a staple of his everyday wears, and his bubbly lexicon of business verbiage infused with his warm, mid-Texas drawl make for more than an interesting afternoon. While his business ventures have been extremely calculated, his conversational demeanor is not; and as casual as Ron can make you feel, there is something motivational about his energy nonetheless. Contagious. Infectious. Inspiring. These adjectives are in heavy abundance in conversations regarding the value of Ron’s highly influential presence—something he can credit to his perennial work ethic and drive. If a well-learned student of the school of entrepreneurship is a man of many hats, then Ron is the constantly capped head of that class. Ron has enough slashes in his business titles to necessitate a small billboard, and his nickname, “Mr. Mission Possible,” is fitting. From growing a tiny VW repair shop into one of the largest auto recyclers in the country and selling it to Ford Motor Company for more than $10 million, garnering nearly a million square feet in commercial real estate in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as a landlord, raising millions in private stock offerings, completing a sale of his business (the same one he sold and previously re-acquired from Ford) to Schnitzer Industries in excess of $20 million in profit, publishing a handful of books, and touring as a consultant and motivational speaker, Ron has certainly more than earned his stripes in creating and living the American dream. Keep in mind that this dream was realized without a huge inheritance as startup money.
Ron’s beginnings were not only humble, they were tragic. The loss of his father in high school left him and his twin brother fending for themselves as they were pushed into the real-world pool of sink-or-swim survivability. With only a high school degree and $2,000 to his name, Ron began the 12-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week regimen that he is only now starting to wean himself from—a regimen that’s yielded returns he could have hardly imagined when he was selling clutch replacements and brake jobs for $46 a pop in his first business: a VW repair shop.
As successful as he has been in business, Ron has been equally successful in life, and having his three sons follow in his footsteps into the auto salvage business has certainly been the cherry on top. Sharing his home and his dreams with his current girlfriend, Linda Allen, and her son, Kip, has helped the reluctant Ron to finally slow down his grueling business regimen—albeit by only one day a week. T
The couple shared their home with us and 293 other RSVPs at a party Ron threw in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The fully catered event featured a live band, a costume contest, a Titanic-themed cake, and Ron’s roomful of Titanic memorabilia; which housed a fork and ashtray from the real ship, and a Marconi teletype machine that appeared in the James Cameron-helmed movie. Access to the party only came by way of a reprinted RSVP boarding pass collected and overseen by Ron’s museum curator and longtime friend, Rodney Ross, who assisted us in getting to know Ron, as did his administrative assistant, Jennifer Knittel. His concepts of creating peer benchmarking groups amongst his auto recycling peers not only helped unify the auto recycling industry through small business mentorships, it also made it a stronger industry altogether. When he’s not housing model ship collections belonging to Malcolm Forbes, offering his consultant duties to multi-million dollar corporations, managing his multiple businesses, or driving his dogs around town, Ron is a living, breathing example that tenacity, above all else, is what really pays off in the business world. Want a mansion with a 10-car garage? Want a million-dollar car collection? Want to sell the same business twice for more than $30 million in the process? Then read up, because we found a guy who was able to do just that, and then some.
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