Westmont Magazine A Local Perspective
When John Mullen started JM Consulting Group in 1987, he learned a lot from his first client. Hired to help a 37-seat restaurant rezone to serve 100, he soon realized the owner needed assistance in planning, financing, and construction as well.
In response, he expanded his company to provide full-service project management. Later he diversified by entering the telecommunications field. Today, the firm employs 275 people and works with clients throughout the United States and Mexico. A sister company, JM Develop-ment, constructs homes in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.
John’s vision for JM goes much deeper than building a successful company. His goal is creating an organization that honors God and draws people to Jesus Christ. He has carefully structured the business to give him time for ministry to the Santa Barbara business community.
“I have a team of talented people who are very entrepreneurial in the way they approach their jobs,” he explains. “That frees me to pursue my quest of sharing the gospel in a way that is relevant to people who don’t feel comfortable in church.”
For example, in April he worked with local business people to organize a non-denominational Good Friday service in the sunken gardens of the Santa Barbara Court-house. The well-publicized event drew a crowd of 1,200.
A graduate of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, John first got involved with Westmont when the college hired him to help develop the affordable housing project for faculty.
“I began to understand the vision and heart of the college at that time,” he recalls. “I saw it through the lives of the people there.”
Their faith in the face of major obstacles impressed him. Lacking water for the homes, Westmont entered a city-sponsored water lottery. John remembers his excitement when the college was drawn first out of 39 entries. “It was obvious that God was working,” he says.
After a grueling, six-year process, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve the project. “The local community overwhelmingly supported the college, which has built a tremendous reputation,” he notes. “Since then, it has been very natural to be involved.”
In addition to supporting Westmont financially, John has volunteered to serve on The President’s Asso-ciates Steering Committee.
“Several Westmont students have lived with us as well and helped us raise our children. They have been such a joy,” he notes.
John and his wife, Kim, send three of their four children to Santa Barbara Christian School, and they believe fervently in Christian education. He serves as the president of the school’s board.
“We have realized the power of combining education and spiritual formation,” he notes. “In I Thessalonians 2:8, Paul talks about imparting his very life, and that is what Christian teachers do.”
An elder and worship leader at Calvary Chapel, John is also director of operations there. He says the church benefits from the Westmont students who attend.
He encourages the college to become even more involved with Santa Barbara businesses and churches. His ideas include organizing a Faith and Business week to bring local residents to campus. “It would be great for students to learn what it means to live out their faith in the marketplace,” he explains.
John sees Westmont as a tremendous resource in his campaign to reach business people for Christ, and he hopes for an enduring alliance.