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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Life Lessons from the Driving Force Behind Airlake Industrial Park

He was a farm kid who became a big city businessman. Growing up in tiny rural Dawson, Minn., Maynard Johnson knew that he didn’t want to spend his life farming. He wanted to go into business instead. Johnson’s business dreams were put on hold a couple of times – first after his dad became ill while he was in college and he had to go back to Dawson to run the family farm for a year, and then when World War II beckoned.
But eventually Johnson was able to have his flourishing business career, serving as the driving force behind the development of Airlake Industrial Park on 1,600 acres of land in Lakeville. From Johnson’s story, his grandson, Brant Skogrand, shares 15 life lessons that would improve anyone’s life in the book, “Maynard’s Memories: Life Lessons from the Developer of Airlake Industrial Park in Lakeville, Minnesota.”
“When I was a boy, my grandpa seemed larger than life. He was full of charisma and love,” said Skogrand. “Throughout the years, I heard about my grandpa’s successes. Hitchcock Industries. Lakeville, Minnesota. Real estate. Business partnerships. I knew that he was a big deal in some respects. I decided to find out what contributed to his success and discovered life lessons that could apply to anyone.”
Skogrand sat down with his grandfather for a series of interviews to hear Johnson’s life stories. Skogrand shares those tales in “Maynard’s Memories,” organized around the following life lessons from Johnson:
1.     Work hard and step up to leadership.
2.     Be there when your parents need you.
3.     Stand up for yourself.
4.     Be ready for life’s events.
5.     Get educated.
6.     People can succeed if they band together and cooperate.
7.     Go into business instead of farming.
8.     Think the world of your spouse.
9.     Leave a legacy for future generations.
10.  Take risks and trust your intuition.
11.  Don’t make friends with people just to do business with them.
12.  The secrets to success are knowledge, honesty and working like hell.
13.  Take care of your family and your spouse’s family.
14.  Struggles can become opportunities.     
15.  Take the time to enjoy life.
Johnson’s influence continues today. “Maynard is probably the single most person who has had an impact on me over my whole career,” said Jack Matasosky, owner and CEO of APPRO Development and owner and broker of CERRON Properties.
Skogrand is the chief communications officer for Skogrand PR Solutions, LLC. He also is the author of the books “19 Tips for Successful Public Relations” and “From Fringe Party to Serious Contender.”
Maynard’s Memories” is available on