By Megha Goel A quick Google search might not pull up many articles about the 19-year-old Frank Austin from Cleveland. He might not sound or look like Jobs, Gates, or […]
By Megha Goel
A quick Google search might not pull up many articles about the 19-year-old Frank Austin from Cleveland. He might not sound or look like Jobs, Gates, or Zuckerberg, but his story will leave you as inspired. A steely determination and a competitive spirit from an early age made Frank win the 2019 Youth of the Year pageant by Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. In a candid conversation, Frank shares how his passion, inspiration, and ambition helped him take the first steps towards success.
Frank grew up in Cleveland as the third of five children to his mother. Growing up, his grandmother was his greatest inspiration. “One of the greatest gifts that she left in my head is, ‘Love what you do and never give up if people refuse to support you’.” The young lad remembers, “I lost my grandmother in 2013. And before we even recovered from this, death happened again. This time we weren’t prepared. I was 14 and lost my mom. Everything changed for me.”
Loss of parents at an early age often leaves children responsible for their younger siblings. This was the case with Frank and his older sister. “My mother’s death required me to do more in life. I had to support my family. My oldest sibling, who was 18 then and a mother of two, essentially became the legal guardian and parent to six kids overnight. I wanted better for my siblings. I wanted to work hard, become wealthy, and not just work to make ends meet.”
Frank remembers, “My childhood was different from that of other kids. My days included rising at 5 a.m. to get my siblings ready for school and then taking two buses and a rail line to Max Hayes, a career and technical school.” He put in after school hours for two years as a lube tech at Liberty Ford in Maple Heights. The young talent is now doing a paid internship at the Ford Asset Program.
The unprecedented deaths of dear ones made Frank chase his dreams. He was always passionate about cars and speed: “The Fast and the Furious series introduced me to the world of automobiles, and I never stopped.” Frank spent his childhood watching and learning cars. He loved fixing problems in his grandmother’s minivan. With great enthusiasm, he shares, “I always watched my father and grandmother drive the car. I found reasons to go with them, and all I did was watch them drive. These were my first lessons on driving. And once I thought I could replicate what they were doing, I hopped into the car secretly one afternoon and drove it.” Frank adds, “It was not very safe or mature. It was the perfect adrenaline rush, and that day I was sure what I wanted to do.” No doubt, Frank wants to pursue a career in automobiles. He aims to specialize in high-performance auto parts in engineering and manufacturing. He dreams of becoming a professional racing driver.
Austin shared how trade school and not the traditional college worked well for him. “Going to trade school gave me hands-on experience and started working immediately after.” He was awarded a full scholarship to Matrix Trade Institute and a mechanics position in Liberty Ford’s service operations upon successful graduation from the 20-week program. “Trade school training is a surer path to success. Many jobs require specialized skills in a particular field and traditional- four-year-college degree is usually comprehensive. Training in trade school has made me industry-recognized. If I relocate, I will always have a job and be well paid. I believe that it made me perfect at what I was good at.” Additionally, Frank suggests, “It is not important that a trade school or a college would fit all. Every child has a different skill and a different way to excel. You should recognize your interest and just keep working hard towards it. Not doing anything should not be your goal.”
Frank does not know many race car drivers, but he states Liberty Auto Group CEO Michael Herrick to be one of his biggest inspirations. He adds, “He taught me lessons on investing in the future. He said that studying automobiles might be expensive and I should have saved for it.” Frank takes pride when he shares that he is in the process of buying a house. He gloats, “I’ll be the first after my grandmother to own a house. I have had a couple of meetings with the agent and have a couple more till I qualify for my home loan. Once I have my house, I will start saving for my training in race car driving.” Additionally, Facebook and Instagram mentorship groups help Frank time and again with discussions and lessons about different subjects.
“Think truthfully about how you can get the results and outcomes you desire in your life. I always focus on my end goals, where it could take me as compared to my present. This keeps me motivated. I know of people who give up when the journey becomes tough. It might be tough today and tougher tomorrow. But once you have achieved your goal, you will know that everything was worth it.”
The bright lad aspires to make lives better. He wants to be able to have a non-profit and help children live their childhood, “I have missed living my childhood days and I want other kids to take advantage of it.” He concludes with a message for parents, “Spend time with children and give them the knowledge and guidance they need. Don’t endow them with too much responsibility as a child. Let kids be kids.”
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