Johnny Walker RV: A Family Affair
Shelly Johnson: The Core of the Business
By Debbie Hall
Growing up, Shelly Johnson was introduced to the concepts that she incorporates today as the office manager: a position that requires the ability to multi-task; interact with management, staff, vendors and customers; coordinate schedules; and manage the many day-to-day details.
“As a youngster I spent time at the dealership doing odd jobs that dad would find for us,” said Johnson, “From a young age he wanted us to understand the value of hard work. Of course, I loved RV’s, camping and the great times we had as a family centered on the business.”
While her brother and sister joined the family business right out of high school, Johnson began working at Kentucky Fried Chicken starting at age 16 and continued a 10 year career with the company advancing through its management program to become a District Training Instructor. In fact, the company paid for her tuition while she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. After graduation, she also had the opportunity to be part of a startup company in Dallas.
When Johnson turned 30, she returned to the family business and took over the position held by the previous office manager who was retiring after 27 years. “Veda was an incredible mentor, coach and friend not only to me, but to my entire family,” she said.
Many people have influenced her including her Uncle Bill, “a source of inspiration to my family,” and especially “my parents (who) were both amazing role models; my dad really influenced me in regards to my professional life. He is a very giving person who approaches life and business with a very common sense approach. He has shown my brother, sister and I how to run a business successfully while ensuring all of our employees are treated in a fair and respectful manner.” Johnson explained.
“We were truly a family that worked hard and played hard together. Although my mom was a stay at home mom, she worked hard at keeping our family running. She had an amazing can do attitude. She was the household plumber, electrician, gardener, etc. She definitely instilled that attitude in both my sister and I,” she said.
In return, Johnson has mentored her nephew, Michael, who recently graduated from college in San Diego and joined the family business. She has also been helping a family friend’s daughter achieve her athletic goals by working as a running trainer with the girl becoming a very accomplished triathlete at age 15.
Along with recreational activities, Johnson and her son with the Johnnie Walker RV business has been involved with DJs for PJs since its inception. Johnson also volunteers at the Shriners golf tournament.
As for advice for other women starting their careers, Johnson recommends, “I would encourage them to work hard. I truly believe that with hard work and a great attitude you can go far. The women I know who are most successful are open-minded and have the willingness to try new things. If you are able, continue your education. Even if college isn’t in the cards, you can always take courses that make you more valuable to potential employers.”
Johnson enjoys living in Las Vegas for the outdoor living available the majority of the year with opportunities to golf, ride bikes, and RVing. As Johnson said, “Whether to a sporting event for your child’s team, a major cross country trip, or just a weekend stay on a local hot spot, RVing is unlike any other type of vacation.” Blending family and business, Johnson demonstrates a Fearless Female can have it all.