My Library and Courses
Last Update: Monday June 21, 2021

Key Idea: Hire Seniors

Retirees and the Baby Boomer generation represents a huge pool of potential workers with mindset that can help you grow your business.

Key Question:


John Hawkins likes hiring people who are over 50 or 60 years old.

Most of these people don't have to work -- they want to work. They work because they enjoy being active, like the structure work brings to their lives, and they find Cloud 9 fun place to be and good work to do. Plus, the "seniors" can do the work. The job of driving at Cloud 9 is not physically demanding and the most important qualities looked for in a driver is willingness to serve and entertain. With unemployment being so low now, and with many employers looking for people with computer skills, Cloud 9 has jobs it can fill with people who are not as desirable to others. This is a win-win situation. Labor is the most expensive part of any business and if you can find a way to hire, train, and retain your employees it puts you ahead of the competition.

Think about it

Is there a place for young seniors in your company?

Clip from: Cloud 9 Shuttle

San Diego: Meet John Hawkins and learn about his company, Cloud 9 Shuttle; he threw out conventional marketing wisdom, pulled the company out of bankruptcy, turned employees into owners, and installed key technologies. It just doesn't get any better than this. Not that it has been easy for John and his team; it has been very tough. Yet, this is the great American success story. He may not have made billions of dollars, he did save a business and he instills confidence being a good citizen is good business.

Upon arriving in America's Finest City with her beautiful, cloudless skies and moderate weather, you quickly discover that there are ubiquitous clouds at city's airport, Lindbergh Field. Here, the clouds are "Cloud 9" vans, a shuttle service from the airport to anywhere.

But it wasn't always so perfect in this perfect city.

This is a turnaround story. It's a branding story. And, it is a love story. To begin this story we went to the airport to meet the man who knows San Diego better than anyone. John Hawkins just loves this community and her people. And because of his service, when we asked about a business to study, everybody recommended John -- the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Mayor's office, Economic Development and many others. 

Go to the Key Ideas & Videos of this episode
Go to the homepage of this episode

Cloud 9 Shuttle

John Hawkins, CEO, founder

3550 Kurtz Street
San Diego, CA 92110

Visit our web site:

Office: 858-505-4900

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Hire Seniors

JOHN: You know, people think that we take money from people--businesses take money. I think we collect wages. We don't pay wages. We provide added value for services rendered. We collect, collectively, a pot of money and distribute it to the people who generated that wealth.

HATTIE: When you retired, why didn't you just stay home and do nothing?

Employee #2: I'm not that kind. I just can't stay home and do nothing, and I like to talk to people and meet people, so I came out to Cloud 9 and it was really not Cloud 9 at the time, but another shuttle company.

HATTIE: Right.

Employee #2: And I decided that it sounded like a good opportunity for me to get out of the house for some days of the week and...

HATTIE: Well, now, did you have any idea you were gonna have so much fun?

Employee #2: No, I didn't. It was really kind of a mystery about what the job was all about. But they train you before they put you out on the road so that you can learn some of the basics. And from there on you just learn how to be a good driver.

JOHN: You know, the thing that seniors, I think, possess is an absolute love of life 'cause they've seen a lot of it and maybe they know they ain't gonna get that much more of it. You know, and I think that they want to live it to the fullest. They are just the best people that--you know, they're--and that was the generation, you know, whose parents or who even personally experienced the Depression and World Wars and hard work. These are honest, hardworking, good people. You've just got to love 'em, and, you know, you can't get enough of them because honest day's work, honest day's pay, all the right stuff. And I think as Mike Thornhill shared, these people--they're there because they want to be there, not because they have to be there.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Cloud 9 vans are new, clean and always in top condition because safety comes first.

Employee #3: It's astounding. It really is. The quality that goes in--they spare no expense. The reason why we have my family ride it is because of the preventative maintenance program that they have. The average mechanic here has got 25 years or better. I've been doing it 20 years.

HATTIE: And you think that...

Employee #3: There will always maintenance . . . always need a mechanic.

HATTIE: Is this as good a company as you've ever worked for?

Employee #3: It is; the maintenance team is the best. The very best. I really mean that.


Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!