Dan Gordon about Duane

Duane Ausherman has been my godfather since birth. He was a true and trusted friend of my parents before I was born. My family lived in a very rural area, so I was not exposed to much. When I was 13, I went on the first, of many, summer trips with Duane between school years. I got to meet many people, all very smart, interesting and some even famous. He changed my life in so many ways that I couldn’t even begin to explain here.

Summer 1979
This was quite a trip, one that would change my life forever. Fresh out of 7th grade, full of energy and curiosity, I had never been west of Arkansas, except for a trip as a small child. Like most 13-year-olds, I was naive to the ways of the world, but over the course of the next 3 summers that would change. This is a brief account of my first summer trip spent with my Godfather, Duane Ausherman.

This summer would prove to be one of the most enlightening and exciting experiences of my life.
From the stockyards of Kansas to Pikes Peak in Colorado, to the Great Salt Lake, to the Nevada desert, to beautiful northern California we traveled. From meeting aunts and uncles I had never met, to visiting the Queen Mary and Disneyland, to roller skating on the beach in Santa Monica with dear friends. At a real Wild West show in Colorado, I was taken on stage as a volunteer in a major part of the act by one of Duane’s friends, the star gunfighter.

We left the hot and dry western Arkansas hills in a small Toyota truck with California as the destination. My return trip would be on an airplane, my first and by myself. The plan was to take about ten days to get to the west coast where we would continue to travel, visit and explore. Much to my amazement, we didn’t stay at a single motel or campground the entire way. We stayed with friends and family in Duane’s vast network, with whom many I stayed in contact. Each one of these places held unique and interesting things to learn and people to meet. Everywhere we stayed the people where so nice and hospitable. I got to hear about, discuss and see all sorts of neat things from interesting people, all of whom had a huge impact on me. From people that fly airplanes, build custom motorcycles, travel the world, own businesses and even stuntmen, to name a few. This instilled in me a sense of drive and motivation. I also hiked mountains, rode ATVs and antique motorcycles, rode trains, flew on planes, swam in the ocean and helped navigate big cities, just to name a few.

I definitely came back to Arkansas a very different and much more educated 13-year-old boy. I could not wait to go experience the world, even more, the next summer.

We traveled to many places including Glacier National Park, Old Faithful, Yellowstone, Idaho, Oregon, California, and even into Canada. We spent some time at Fort Bidwell, CA. Duane’s remote motorcycle shop/museum. One of the highlights here for me was riding one of Duane’s three antique R52 1928 BMW motorcycles. Yes, he had three running motorcycles of that model.

This was also a great area to fly small planes in and out of, which we did in Duane’s airplane. I got to drive a lot this summer as well. Getting my license the following year was a breeze as I had more open road driving and riding experience than any other kid I knew.

Duane helped shape me into the independent successful business person that I am today. Duane has a great network of people and has always shared it with me. I trust him to help others as he did me, if only they are willing to open up to the vast possibilities.

Dan Gordon

Zak Vetter about Duane

Duane was friends with my parents before they were married, so I have known him my whole life. It is only in the last 6 years that I began to cultivate a close friendship with him. He was instrumental in guiding me into my first contract job, an area that both my family and I were completely ignorant. What would have likely been a job that I declined, Duane transformed into a 5 year job that was both satisfying, profitable and a valuable new line to my work history.
He was able to articulate how the contract environment ran which in turn, gave me the confidence to negotiate my relations with the companies that hired me and to cut my ties when conditions were not favorable.
Since then Duane has been a weekly part of my life in almost any area that he and I talk. He has a keen problem solving mind and a knack for thinking through the details that I overlook in my haste to complete a project. He jokingly calls calls himself a troublemaker for pointing out potential problems, but he and I both know that, if anything, he is preventing problems.
He carries a wide range of wisdom compiled from a lifetime of work all over the globe and the confidence that comes form having done most of it with his own hands, rather than attending a class on the subject. Once you recognize a person like that, you hold onto them and learn from them all that they will tell you.

Otto Kafka about Duane

Several years ago Duane made the comment, that if I was a young man, I would go to the Czech Republic and teach English.  That stuck with me because my family history is connected to the CR.

I attempted to make the arraignments through my University (UOP) to get a grant in order to go to the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the grant and I was unsure how I was going to be able to afford the trip.  Weeks later I was on a service call fixing a TV for a client and I talked about my future plans after college, which was to travel to the Czech Republic.  This client was a neighbor of Duane’s.  She called Duane and reconnected us.  We have worked together since that time and Duane has explained a lot about Czech culture.  I still have lots to learn.

 

Duane has a great network and got me in touch with the moderator of this blog, Vanessa Madrid, and her connections arranged two teaching jobs in only three days.  Duane had arranged for Vanessa to teach English in his old school some years earlier.  Now I will be doing a volunteer stint in that school and also a private school.  Host families have been arranged for me and I am so excited to start this “new life” that will unfold tomorrow.

 

You see, I am flying out today to Prague, the Czech Republic and my host family will meet me at the airport.  This is especially exciting because I have never even traveled outside of California.

 

Jan Havel about Duane

I was introduced to Duane by my wife many years ago and ever since the first moment have found this man fascinating � in his approach to life, business, and generous support of young people.
On my first trip to the West Coast, I spent a short night in Duane�s house in Galt before departing south in his old Volvo to travel around California with my wife. Since then we have met on numerous occasions, mostly during Duane�s trips to Europe. More importantly, we have been able to stay in touch via e-mail exchanging opinions on a range of topics.

In the early years of my digital agency Actum, Duane proved to be a valuable source of inspiration. Not only on specifics such as search engine optimization, which we frequently discussed. His website on BMW motorcycles is a benchmark in the industry and one of the most frequently visited sites for BMW enthusiasts who need repairs to their veteran motorcycles. Being home-made with simple tools, with very basic design and limited knowledge of internet standards, the site is a proof that content is what�s at each site�s core � a fact that was later acknowledged by the industry in a saying �Content Is King�.

I was happy to learn about Duane�s deep love of freedom and liberty. After introducing Duane to the theoretical foundations of the Austrian School of Economic Thought, I started receiving interesting links to articles and thoughts of Duane, which provided inspiration for my academic career, as well as critical insights challenging the official communication on US policies.

Duane stands out as an example of flexibility and ability to take on just about any job this planet offers. From supervising airport construction, to checking backup batteries of cellular network equipment, to test driving prototype cars, Duane was always able to bring in insights that helped him always exceed expectation. An example to be understood and followed.

One can tell a lot about a relationship when a phone rings or an email arrives. I am always happy to see a message from Duane and feel genuine interests in the content. That is a simple proof that Duane�s place in my life is of importance and value. Thanks, Duane!

Jan Havel
Prague, Czech Republic
Ph.D. in Economic Theory, Board Member of Liberal Institute, Founder and Partner in Actum and Actum+, largest digital agencies in the Czech Republic