Meet Ernest Gomez
Ernest was born and raised in San Antonio, TX until about the sixth grade when his family moved to Castroville. “We were living on the outskirts of downtown San Antonio… it just wasn’t the environment my family wanted to raise me, my brother, and my sister in.”
So his family purchased some land, had it cleared, and installed a brand new double-wide mobile home, getting their first taste of what Ernest calls that “small-city lifestyle”.
After high school, Ernest began attending college in San Antonio, making the commute from Castroville, until he learned about an opportunity for fully paid tuition if he transferred his schooling to Iowa—1,000 miles from his Texas home.
Despite the major shift in culture, Ernest enjoyed his time there—except for the food—and met the woman who would become his wife. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and began the quest to carve out his own path. Living in Iowa and traveling to other states, Ernest acknowledges, “I’ve always known that Texas is home.”
Marriage and an Unexpected Career
So he decided to settle down and get married back in Castroville. It was a rocky start, however, when the new couple found themselves in not the most ideal situation, living with Ernest’s dad and step-mom, along with his sister and her family, all in his childhood home.
His wife, Liza (Lee-za), raised in Moscow, Russia, in a small, quiet family, began immediately looking for a way to be in their own home. “She was not used to that level of crazy,” Ernest jokes, “Within five months, we had found a piece of property, we had bought a home, and we were moved in.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am without her, I know that much,” he says, in admiration of Liza.
Unbeknownst to either of them, however, their new home would lead also to a job opportunity.
“The guy who hired me to sell mobile homes was the guy who sold me my home,” Ernest says, and thus he began his start in the mobile home industry. After two weeks of learning the traditional sales practices, his salesman-turned-manager left the company and Ernest was serendipitously shifted into a new division, “That’s when I met AP [Alberto Piña]. And that’s when I learned what it was to truly help people, as opposed to sell to them.”
Ernest recalls this time in his life as interesting, to say the least. He worked with Alberto and Jason for only about four months before Alberto would be laid off and Jason would follow him out. (Read more about that here and here.)
“With [them], I felt a purpose. I saw a dream. I saw a vision,” he says, “When everything changed, when we lost AP, and new people came in, that vision was quickly demolished.”
Ernest, now with a mortgage and wife to support, continued working under the new management, but had lost his drive and passion for the work. “My enthusiasm wasn’t there.”
It would be over two months before Ernest would get the call from Alberto to tell him about the new company he and Jason were starting.
“They had let me know and they gave me some time to think about it,” he says, “it didn’t scare me. I trusted them. I had seen what they’d done and seen what they could do, but, more importantly, I had seen what they brought out in me.”
So Ernest joined in with Braustin and hasn’t looked back in over a year and a half. He says his choice was simple really, “It was either be at a job where, hey, I can make money, or, be at a job where I can create something new and help the entire state of Texas in the process.”
When asked what life looks like for him now, Ernest says with a new member added to the team at the beginning of August (we’ll meet him next week) everyone is getting back to basics. “We’re all getting back to the roots of who we are as a company.”
Every day starts no later than 9 a.m., with a daily 10 a.m. team meeting. “The rest of the day is really just helping people,” he says.
As we closed up, I asked Ernest what kept him going managing such long hours (sometimes up to 70 hours a week) with such a young start-up company.
“Working with Braustin, I truly feel like we make a difference,” he says, “The families we help… they love us. Not so much for the house, but because of what we’ve helped them accomplish for their family. And so that’s what helps me every day, is knowing there’s a family out there who needs help, and they want to be helped the right way.”
When Ernest isn’t working with families at Braustin, he can be found enjoying his “small-city” mobile home with his wife or exploring the world—his most recent adventure being the World Cup in Russia!
It was certainly a pleasure having this conversation with Ernest who has such a friendly and high-energy personality.
Next week we’ll close out our Meet the Team series by introducing our newest member with a background unlike anyone else’s so far. Stay tuned!