There aren’t many cowboys left in Orange County, despite the area’s rich ranching history. Yet every so often, you still encounter one in these parts. They may not roam the streets of OC on a horse with a bandana around their neck and a holster affixed to their hip, but they contain the kind of independent mindset, steely resolve, and kind heart that is so well ingrained within the classic cowboy code. And make no mistake: Andrew Edwards is very much a cowboy. As Founder and President of the commercial electronics company Extron Electronics, Andrew is one of OC’s most recognizable executives in large part because of his ability to constantly think outside the box as he thinks about the well-being of his employees. His maverick approach has helped grow Extron exponentially, and it has also led him to fearlessly pursue passion projects like THE RANCH, the critically acclaimed restaurant and saloon that occupies the first floor of his company’s towering Anaheim headquarters. Of course, such pursuits do well to showcase the benevolent side of cowboy life; the story goes that the saloon’s idea was hatched because Andrew wanted a good place where he could two-step with his daughter.
Recently, we caught up with Andrew to talk to him about the ways he adheres to the cowboy code, how that code has been a part of who he is, and how his success is driven by the desire to do right by others.
OCE: What did you want to be as a kid?
AE: I wanted to be a cowboy.
OCE: What was your first job?
AE: Driving a horse drawn tobacco truck from the field to the barn back in North Carolina.
OCE: How many industries have you been a part of?
AE: I’ve been involved in four industries: Farming; Electronic service; Home Audio & Video; and Commercial Audio & Video
OCE: When did you figure out what you wanted to do?
AE: After about a year and half of college, I decided to focus on electronics technology. That said, even before I knew what I wanted to do specifically, I always knew I wanted to own my own business and call the shots one day.
OCE: When did you feel that you “made it” as an executive?
AE: I felt it when my company, Extron, became financially successful. Specifically, when we got to the point where we were able to weather the good years and the not so good years.
OCE: What do you enjoy most about what you do now?
AE: Planning the marketing and business strategy for Extron Electronics and THE RANCH.
OCE: What would you want to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?
AE: That’s tough to say – I feel that I am attempting to do everything I want to do now.
OCE: Is there a person or people that inspire you to remain at the top of your game?
AE: The employees of Extron, no question. They contribute so much to the success of the company, and they are constantly inspiring and challenging me to stay at the top of my game.
OCE: What are your favorite hobbies?
AE: THE RANCH. The Restaurant and The Saloon keep me busy in a good way. I also have a passion for country music, as you may be able to guess. I also love to come to my saloon to dance and play cowboy.
OCE: Where is the one city/country you love to travel to?
AE: My first love is to travel in the U.S. – down to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit my children and family. My second choice these days would be to head over to France.
OCE: If there would be anything you would love to own, what would it be and why?
AE: As a businessman, I have always loved owning a business that has engineers that can develop any product we desire. That allows us to be successful in the marketplace so that my family and my employees’ families can be taken care of financially.
Also, as I have grown older, I have become more aware of the consequences of age and health on myself and family. Because of this, I would like to own a hospital or clinic with the finest doctors and nurses available for the care of my family, friends, and employees.
OCE: What is the one thing you do own that reminds you of your success?
AE: Extron and all of its successes.
OCE: What is your one guilty pleasure?
AE: I have no guilt over any of my pleasures.