If anyone can take a few sparse ingredients and transform them into something meaningful, it’s Justin Horner. Among colleagues and friends, Justin is known for implementing tenacity and creativity to forge a path; they are also the traits that allow him to balance numerous commitments. Currently, Justin serves as Director of Business Development at DCA Partners, board member/committee chair at Capital Region Family Business Center, regional council member at Make-A-Wish, and most importantly, husband and father to his family of four.
Justin started his career at age 10 selling his mom’s homemade cookies to friends at school, and cleaning up local construction sites or mowing lawns after his homework was finished in the afternoon. “My family encouraged me to be entrepreneurial and find ways to earn and save for the ‘big ticket’ items I wanted like bikes, skis, and backpacking gear. I gained an early trust in my ability to approach clients with a value proposition, accomplish what I set my mind to, and to work hard for everything.” Upon graduating from the University of Oregon, he took a position with Umpqua Bank working with manufacturers, agribusiness clients, and tribal casinos. He thrived on providing capital, helping companies grow, and monitoring that growth. After two years, Justin was recruited to Silicon Valley to join a new and rapidly growing bank, Bridge Bank, where he spent three years providing senior debt to the region’s industrial manufacturers and service businesses.
In 2008, a confluence of unexpected events gave Justin the opportunity to rely on his entrepreneurial mindset yet again. He moved to Sacramento to be near his now-wife while she was attending medical school at UC Davis. When the economy crashed and took banking with it, Justin found himself unwilling to rely on an industry that was seemingly in peril. “It was easier to trust in myself and start my own consulting business,” he described. “It took me a few months to find my first opportunity. I tried everything I knew how to do. I was relatively young, I didn’t have any meaningful business connections in Sacramento, and the Great Recession was in full swing. It required a good deal of cold-calling, relationship building, and saying ‘yes’ then figuring it out.” With his trademark tenacity and creativity in hand, Justin built a successful consulting business that he grew until 2011.
In 2011, Justin married and relocated with his wife to Dallas, Texas, while she attended dermatology residency at Baylor University Medical Center. Justin rejoined Bridge Bank in the Dallas office and was tasked with managing and growing the Central Region portfolio for the Technology and Life Science division. Justin spent the next four years building the Bridge Bank brand and reputation in the major metropolitan markets across the Central and Mountain time zones while simultaneously completing his MBA with honors from Baylor University.
Justin relocated to Sacramento in 2015 to be close to his wife’s family after the birth of his twins. After settling in, Justin was connected with DCA Partners through a mutual connection. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to restart my consulting practice, start or buy a company, or work for someone else—it was an exploratory conversation,” he explains. Likewise, DCA wasn’t looking to hire anyone at the time, but after a series of meetings with Justin, the partners created a role specifically for him.
With a profession centered around analyzing the future and past, Justin prefers to unwind with outdoor pursuits that require 100 percent focus, forcing him to be present in that exact moment. Between mountain biking, big-mountain skiing, fly fishing, and hunting, he gets much-needed alone time and the occasional broken or sprained limb. When a busted arm prevents him from being overly adventurous, he heads to the kitchen and will spend weeks perfecting a new dish, much to the delight of his wife, Mary, and his twin 4-year-olds, Ellen and Ethan. “Cooking isn’t about having perfect ingredients in the pantry,” Justin said. “It’s knowing how to get the most out of the ingredients you have, and enjoying the process and people around you.”