Meet Jon Bachura
Epiphany junkie, awesomeness evangelist, source of affirmation . . . the list goes on. Meet Jon Bachura.
At Fervor, Jon is: “I like to think of myself as a cultural catalyst,” he says. Jon often plays a social media role, and especially enjoys creating culture and marketing strategy. “I love people and connecting with them in multiple ways.”
Jon’s first job — at age 10: When expensive toys like snowboards and motorcycles started calling Jon’s name, his dad suggested it was time to get a job. So the two took on a Saturday newspaper route together. “It was like $10 a day or something, but it was great,” Jon says. “I wanted to work!” Soon, Jon and his whole family were throwing 300 papers, daily.
His teenage resume: All of his work experiences taught Jon the value of working hard for what you want. His next gig was at Charlie’s Famous Hamburgers in Wichita, and he ended up managing the burger stand and hiring a couple friends. He also worked at a Dairy Queen, started a hot rod shop in his garage called Voo Doo Customs, taught lessons in clarinet, saxophone and flute, plus a handful of group jazz improvisation classes. “I had a couple motorcycles by age 14, was into my second classic car by 16, rollerblades, saxophones and snowboards, the works,” Jon says. “And I’ve been working for small businesses and nonprofits ever since.”
What and where he studied: Jon received his degree in Music from Emporia State. He’s also attended Kansas State, WSU and Kansas City’s Penn Valley. Later, he spent a year completing an intensive graduate-level program in economics, philosophy and nonprofit managements. “I always wanted to be around people much smarter than me, reading high-level econ, philosophy and management and then figuring out how to apply it all to nonprofits. It was intense and difficult, and it was everything I ever wanted in an education.”
What brought him to KC: Jon took a break from college, and his first role in Kansas City was working the door at McCoy’s in Westport. “Fortunately, the other guy was like seven feet tall, 300 pounds,” he says. He moved on to wait tables. Next time you’re at McCoy’s, take a look for Jon’s baby picture hanging on the wall.
On a mission from God: One of his more unique jobs was the tour manager for the only licensed, touring Blues Brothers impersonation act. They were booked to play at a Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball game on Coney Island, and there was a widespread power outage. “The guys just wanted to hang out, but I said, we’re going, we have a contract.” It was a great game, beautiful day and his best memory of the tour. “The press box was on an outside patio, high enough that you could see the curvature of the Earth. Gorgeous, I’ll never forget that.”
The didgeridoo: Yes, you read that right. Also while in KC, Jon spent a lot of time practicing his music, figuring out exactly what he wanted to do. “And that’s about the time that I learned how to play the didgeridoo,” Jon says. “It was satisfying to play that one note, and I felt really awesome playing this big, hollow wooden tube.” This was when Jon decided not to be a full-time musician for his career. “Music is such a personal thing for me, and people can be so fickle.”
Family: Jon is married to Andrea, and they have one daughter, Alaina, who is six years old.
This one time at band camp: Jon and Andrea were students at Emporia State and reported to school a week early for, yes, band camp. Both were part of the marching band. Andrea was the drum major. When Jon was selected for a special improvisation solo that put him squarely in front of Andrea, right at the 50-yard line. “I was making eyes at her all week,” Jon says. Andrea broke up with her boyfriend by that Wednesday. “And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Before Fervor: When he married Andrea, Jon decided he needed a “real” job and worked for a family-owned business in Overland Park, starting in the company’s print shop and moving up to the VIP Customer Service department. He then shifted to the nonprofit world, where he participated in an intensive, graduate-level program in economics, philosophy and management.
Digs Fervor because: Jon refers to a favorite book, The Pedagogy of Freedom by Paolo Freire, to answer this question. It explores curiosity, knowledge and the process of learning. “The most fulfilling thing for me is when that light bulb clicks on for people. Knowledge is like capital that’s completely transferable and you can keep it at the same time — it’s the ultimate win-win. And that’s what I love about Fervor,” Jon says. “I get a chance to inspire that curiosity in other people, especially in clients. So much of what Fervor does is creating exceptional value in a short amount of time, so our clients can see what they’re doing in a brand new, innovative light.”
A community he loves: Jon enjoys being part of his church, Cur´ of Ars. “I’ve been adopted by the church community there,” he says. He participates in three men’s groups, and “most of them have known each other since grade school, so for them to take me in is huge. It’s a lifeline for me.” He also loves the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, a group close to his heart. His daughter was born with Down’s Syndrome. “The ladies who work there call themselves the DSG Divas . . . and I’ve become the first DSG Dude,” Jon says. “It’s a great way for me to give back, since they have done so much for us over the years.”
Outside Fervor, you’ll find Jon: With his daughter, Alaina. He especially cherishes daddy-daughter time on Thursdays, their #ThursdayThing. “And I love to people-watch,” Jon adds. “I love airports, I love malls. You learn so much about yourself by watching other people.”
How Jon knows Mike: Mike Farag’s mom was Jon’s third grade teacher, and they’ve been friends ever since. Especially in middle school, “Mike was always the team builder, always putting a group together to go do something and always loved to roll in a pack.”
Their first creative collaboration: “I still have it on VHS!” Jon says. “Mike and I shot a music video for our youth group in our freshman year of high school.” Theme? The world’s worst date. “Mike dressed up in a tux and took his date to McDonalds. He took her go-carting, but only had enough money for himself. In the video, his car breaks down. He takes her home early. We did everything you could do without being obscene.”
Where he heads for happy hour and what he orders for beverage tests: His favorite spot is McCoy’s Public House — yes, where he first worked in Kansas City. And Jon loves a good Maker’s Mark Manhattan.
Favorite KC restaurant: Unfortunately, his favorite Ichiban Sushi (near College & Quivira in Overland Park) is now closed. Chef Chang, he says, “was so passionate about the quality. it was always excellent.” But this sushi story has a happy ending. Chang is now the sushi chef at the spot Jon affectionately calls Shangri-La: the Hy-Vee at 95th & Antioch.
Favorite place for a cup of coffee: Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard in Leawood.
Favorite read: Jon enjoys biographies and documentaries. “I love truth,” he adds. One favorite is Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl — “he says, a man with a why can endure any how.”
TV favorites: Netflix documentaries. “The documentary What the Bleep Do We Know?! changed my life. It calls into question our entire perception of reality,” he says.
What drives Jon up a wall: Intolerance, “and that comes from people having a self-centered view of the world,” he says.
What’s big in his life right now: “Growing into the work I’ve been given,” he says. “I’ve been so blessed with all this opportunity, and I want to grow stronger in it all.”
Fervor wouldn’t be Fervor without . . . Jon as a counterpoint: “I think I’m a good counterpoint. Because Mike and I have known each other for so long, we have a lot of tacit knowledge and just work well together.”
Jon, in a few words: Quoting a lyric from De La Soul, Jon says, “I’m just an average guy with above average potential.”