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He got paid for smashing car windows.

posted Jun 3, 2016, 3:32 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jun 3, 2016, 3:32 PM ]
You might know John Heier as an owner of California Signs & Marketing LLC. PSAR owns a controlling interest in California Signs & Marketing​. For REALTOR​S​® the partnership means ​improved services and pricing on sign design, printing​, inventory​ and installation services. John has been working in the sign business in 1982. His experience has helped make the partnership a success for the benefit of all PSAR members. “I’ve played every role there is in the sign industry,” said John. “That includes pushing my share of brooms.”
 
But did you know that his high school job was breaking car windows with a sledgehammer?
 
John was born in San Diego and grew up in El Cajon. He worked for a towing company while attending Granite Hills High School in El Cajon. “One of my duties at the tow company was prepping cars to be scrapped,” said John. “Scraping means removing any part from a damaged or abandoned car that could be recycled and later sold to a junk yard. Any engine part, wheels, tires, batteries, or anything of value.
 
“Then, before the car went to the crusher, I would do two things. First, we would hoist the car up in the air with chains and I would walk underneath it and use a pick axe to poke holes in the gas tank and oil pan to ensure that they were empty. This was to avoid explosions when the car would be crushed. Second, I would break every window with a sledgehammer to prevent flying glass when the car would be crushed. Imagine, a kid in high school getting paid to smash-in car windows. It was a great, fun job. They also had me teach classes about the towing business. Here I was, a 17 year old, teaching people in their 20s and 30s about towing.”
 
After graduating from high school (class of 1981), John attended Grossmont College and then began working in the sign business in 1982. From 1982 to 2008, John worked for three sign companies, Wahl’s Signs, Allup Signs and Champion Signs (Wahl’s acquired Allup and Allup was acquired by Champion). As general manager, John helped San Diego-based Champion Signs expand with satellite facilities in Fullerton, Burbank and Murrieta. “We serviced real estate offices from the Mexican border to southern Ventura County and San Bernardino County,” said John. “We covered 22,000 square miles daily-an area which is larger than nine U.S. states.”
 
In 2008, John and a friend started a new company, which was later acquired by Dee Sign Company. In 2012, Jeff Campbell (PSAR president at the time) called John on the phone. “Jeff told me that PSAR wanted to partner in an ownership capacity with a sign company, and that’s how California Signs & Marketing was born,” said John.
 
John met wife Debbie during a desert camping trip. They were married in April 1983. They have five grown children and five grandchildren. “It was a handful raising five kids,” said John. Their oldest, Matthew, now 32, was among 13 high school students wounded during a shooting at Santana High School on March 5, 2001 in which two students were killed. “Even with an unlisted address and phone number, we had reporters at our front door asking for interviews got phone calls from news organizations around the world, including Good Morning America, Geraldo Rivera and Montel Williams. We said no to all of them,” said John. “I think that mass killings and school shootings are simply copycats because of too much news media coverage.”
 
John and wife Debbie operate California Signs & Marketing with Bob and Christi Browning. John and Bob have worked together in the signage industry since the 1990s.
 
“Since our first day in business, on January 1st, 2013, we’ve been enjoying steady, constant growth,” said John. “Not hardly a day goes by that we don't have a new REALTOR® call us and place an order with us. We get repeat business because we focus on customer service and fair prices, which is where our competitors lag way behind. Our customers can’t believe that a live human being answers the phone instead of an answering machine.”