Some daughters, sons eager to follow parent’s path into workforce

When parents work for the same company as their offspring, there’s the chance to mentor, pass along secrets of the trade and offer sage advice.

Single mother Valarie Beel and one of her two daughters, Kayla, both work for Bank of America.

Valarie, financial center manager at the 2451 S. Fort Apache Road location, started as a part-time teller more than 21 years ago.

Kayla, 19 and a UNLV sophomore, is a teller at the 6610 N. Durango Drive location. The idea of following in her mom’s footsteps started in middle school.

“I’d go visit her at work and see the tellers running transactions, and I began thinking, ‘I want to do that,’” Kayla said.

She got to work as soon as she could.

“We always knew when Kayla turned 18, like literally, on her birthday, she applied for a job (with Bank of America), that was the plan,” Valarie said.

Once hired, Kayla learned that being a teller is not merely cashing checks and taking deposits. She asked her mother for advice right away.

“In my position, I’m constantly learning new things,” Kayla said. “I’m asking her stuff every day. It’s guidance more than anything.”

Valarie said she can relate, and she tries to pass on everything she’s learned.

“I was 17 when I began; I would have given anything for someone to have mentored me,” Valarie said. “Like, I told her, ‘You’re young, but start your 401(k) now.’”

At home, they talk shop over dinner. A lot. Valarie runs Kayla through coaching exercises and role playing.

“My other daughter will go, ‘OK, no more bank talk,’” Valarie said of Brittni, 16.

There is another advantage to working the same type of job. Valarie and Kayla share clothes and, since they have the same sized feet, they even share shoes.

“We, literally, have, like 100 suit jackets and a million skirts,” Valarie said.

There’s no word on whether younger daughter Brittni will join the cause, but there’s always hope … and the lure of a bigger wardrobe.

Sons step in

When Ed Johnson began his HVAC company, Lin-Air in 1970, he didn’t expect his four sons to follow in his footsteps. Sure, they had swept up the office and done other odd jobs since age 10, but they had other aspirations.

Brent wanted to be a police officer, Layne was set to become a firefighter and Brad was in college.

In 1998, Ed hurt his back, which led to other health issues. In 2003, he underwent his first surgery. He would go on to have both hips and his right knee replaced and his lower back fused. The sons stepped in to handle the business, at 5967 Harrison Drive, while he recuperated, and they ended up staying.

“Now he’s the bionic man,” Lance joked about his father. He’s got new hips and a new back, and he’s back at work, healthy and happy.”

Dad made sure they learned the business from the ground up, without privileges for being the boss’ offspring.

“We started out at the bottom, riding with the techs, doing everything they were doing,” said Lance, who is 36 and the youngest. “We crawled through attics and did the crappiest stuff you can do. … I know what it’s like to run duct when it’s 115 degrees.”

The only noticeable change in their relationship is that the three began calling Ed by his nickname, Double Ott, for double zeroes, his call sign.

“There’s nothing worse than to be standing around with four techs and go, ‘Hey, Dad’ when you need something. You didn’t want to call your dad ‘Mr. Johnson,’ that would be awkward,” Lance said. “At home, he’s Dad.”

While the business is busy year-round, “The first day that it hits 105 degrees, we’ll get 35 calls for service,” Lance said. “It can be stressful. Everybody want their job done ‘today.’”

All three sons were Eagle Scouts and served two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after high school. Ed said he expected that when each one returned home from their missions that they would have matured, so he treated them as men from that point on.

“Babying someone doesn’t help them grow or become better at something,” Ed said. “… I wasn’t worried about hurting their feelings. I never treated them like children.”

That said, when they have family gatherings, there’s no shop talk.

Ed said the best part of having his sons work with him is getting to see his grandchildren so often.

“I joke and say my grandkids are the blessing I got for tolerating them,” he said.

Editor’s note: This is the first report in a two-part series.

Contact Jan Hogan at jhogan@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2949.

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