For a self-professed “C” student, Mark Haney sure is pursuing a lot of majors these days.
He’s heading up Haney Business Ventures, a collection of entrepreneurial ventures in surveillance systems, real estate, limousine rentals and more, all based in Rocklin. Haney Business Ventures also is paired with Allegiant Giving Corp., a nonprofit geared toward helping military veterans and promising teens.
And maybe for extra credit, Haney hosts a one-hour Saturday morning radio show, Entrepreneurs Unlimited, to talk about turning ideas into successful business realities.
“I run into people who tell me, ‘I listen to your show,’ and I’m like, ‘What?’ ” said Haney, amazed at the show’s reach. “The master plan is to help as many people as I can.”
Haney, 53, said he emerged as an entrepreneur, radio host and consultant to other entrepreneurs after reaching a crossroads in life six years ago. He’d just sold a security company that’s main clientele was in the casino industry. He was too young to retire but also interested in thinking bigger.
His next phase started with forming Allegiant, with the idea that all businesses should find a way to make their communities better. He still follows the company’s mission statement: “With future generations in mind, I will help create opportunities for my family, friends and community. As they succeed, I succeed.”
Son Marcus Haney said Allegiant emerged during a family ski vacation in Lake Tahoe, while he was on leave from the Marine Corps. His experiences serving in Afghanistan, he said, inspired his father to start a nonprofit that supported veterans. After he left the Marines, Marcus said, he joined Haney Business Ventures as director of strategic partnerships.
“He’s the first guy in here and the last to leave,” Marcus said about his father, describing his schedule: up at 3 a.m., at Crossfit at 5:15 and leaving the office at 7 p.m.
After forming Allegiant, friends and family started coming to Mark Haney with start-up concepts for a security camera company, a real estate firm and a construction firm. Armed with some funding from the previous company sale, he invested in these new enterprises. And he put out a shingle as an entrepreneurial consultant, looking to take a good idea to the next level.
Each business he’s supported so far is a reflection of its own CEO and their style, Haney said. But they all have in common the factor he looks for in new possibilities, what he calls the “rock star CEO” who talks big and works hard to back it up.
“Guys who make you want to move,” he said, because of their infectious energy. “They have to be able to make things happen.”
Regularly, Haney said, people approach him with new concepts, ranging from a new social media app to a pest control company. But he said he’s most interested in companies that, in addition to being led by rock stars, focus on three core areas: real estate, construction or business-to-business. And he said he wants experience in the field; he’s not likely to invest in a nurse who’s always wanted to run a coffee house and bakery, he said.
Companies under the umbrella of Haney Business Ventures include Haney Garcia Realty Group, Placer Concrete Construction, Limitless Limos and Surveillance Systems Inc.
Haney and some colleagues were talking about an upcoming fundraising event for Allegiant when his newest interest began to take shape. Haney was asking radio veteran Kent Brown about the radio business, when another friend, management consultant Greg Van Dusen, said he could help Haney learn about it firsthand, through a contact he had. Within weeks, they’d put together their first show, with MMA fighter and entrepreneur Urijah Faber.
Haney said over time, they’ve established a regimented process for the show, which is heard on KHTK-AM 1140 at 9 a.m. Saturdays. Haney said he and co-host Tom Sisneros first discuss a dilemma faced by business owners and leaders, then segue to a guest who talks about possible solutions to the dilemma as well as their own background. Guests have included accomplished entrepreneurs such as EnvisionRx co-founder and sports investor Kevin Nagle and venture capitalist Jack Crawford.
In the last eight minutes of the show, the host and guest discuss what they’ve learned from the conversation and how it addresses the dilemma posed earlier.
Sisneros, who spent years working in radio as a host and DJ for music stations, said he’s seen Haney’s personality emerge since the show began in July 2015.
“There’s a lot of talk show hosts, and I don’t think he’s modeled himself after anyone,” said Sisneros, who’s currently director of vendor relations and marketing for Surveillance Systems Inc., a security camera company under Haney Business Ventures. On the show, he said, Haney mixes personal anecdotes with practical advice, as well as humor with admonitions for listeners to seize the day. Sisneros said he tries to play the harmless sidekick role, laughing in the right places and moving the conversation forward.
“His mind never shifts off,” Sisneros said. “And he loves watching people grow.”
But the best thing about the show is that listeners are hearing from someone who’s done it, Sisneros said. In addition to personality, Haney has credibility.
His son, Marcus, said he’s learned from the show as much as any listener. After briefly running a tech company after leaving the Marines, Marcus said he knew about the transactional side of business. From his dad, he’s learning about the people side.
Haney said he’s enjoyed hosting the radio show more than anything he’s ever done, if just for the feedback. He said one letter he received said the show gave the writer the inspiration to start his own electrical contractor business.
With a platform capable of reaching millions, Haney said he feels like he can do more to push economic development in the Sacramento region with his show than with his company. A Kings’ season-ticket holder, he said he believes the local spirit shown in the battle to keep the team lends itself to showing other would-be economic leaders what’s possible in their own backyard if they’re willing to try.
“My goal is to help 100 entrepreneurs become millionaires,” he said. “I really like what I’m doing. It’s going to open doors I haven’t dreamed of yet.”
Education: Oakmont High School
Career: CEO of Northern Video Systems, 1992-2010; Chief dreaming officer and “investrapreneur” of Haney Business Ventures, 2010-present
Personal: Wife Stacey, daughter Ashley and son Marcus, grandchildren Riley and Rocco
An effective business leader: “Understands his team”
Passion: “Being on the water”
Fantasy job: Head varsity high school football coach
Toughest professional decision: “To be myself”
Biggest misunderstanding about your job: “How I’ve never worked a day in my life”
First job: Newspaper carrier for the Sacramento Union