Renaissance Man John Reardon
Nice Guys Finish First
John Reardon is a throwback, a kind of “Renaissance man.” His aptitude for choosing niche entrepreneurial opportunities with start-up companies, combined with his compassion for helping children in need, have allowed him to make a positive impact on the Old Town Alexandria community for the past 14 years. However, John is not the type of person to seek a claim for fame. In fact it is his very humble kindness that made interviewing John such a pleasure.
Currently, John serves as the Managing Director of Choctaw Telecommunications, LLC – a business dedicated to providing services to utilities and pipeline companies. As the Internet of Things has continued to dominate the press, while becoming an actuality in everyday items, John has strategically positioned himself at the forefront of this game-changing phenomenon. Through John’s guidance Choctaw Telecommunications has begun to capitalize on the niche market space for providing machine-to-machine long distance propagation.
If you suddenly find yourself pausing to understand what you just read, don’t worry: you are not alone. The telecommunications field is a complicated one at best. I simply mention John’s current work because it is as intriguing as the man himself. And, when it comes to professional accomplishments, John is no stranger to adapting the title “Jack of All Trades.” As a board member of Oxford Lane Capital, John recently had the opportunity to stand among his fellow board members to ring the opening bell on NASDAQ. To hear John speak of this amazing experience is to watch a little kid retelling the story of opening Christmas stockings. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see yourself projected to thousands of people from the Times Square jumbo-tron.
When John is not busy helping start-up companies reach the ever-elusive “green bottom line,” he is busy donating time, laughter, and music to sick children and families at DC’s Children’s Hospital. Five years ago John started CHARM (Children’s Hospital Artists, Readers, and Musicians), a charity that is dedicated to helping young patients whom are stuck in bed. Every Friday, John goes to the hospital and travels with his guitar from room to room to sing songs for the kids, give the parents a welcome distraction, and help the children forget where they are, if only for a few minutes. John started the charity because he “had spent a lot of time at the hospital.” He wanted to “show the children and families that people haven’t forgotten about them, that we still care.”
Over the years he has not only raised $10,000 but he has also “gotten fairly good at playing everything from the Itsy Bitsy Spider to the latest hits by Lorde and Bruno Mars.” The smiles, laughter, and ability to transcend a lonely hospital room into a place of happiness are exactly the points of CHARM. Through John’s guitar playing and the other artists’ reading, singing, and sharing, CHARM has given a gift that money could never buy to countless families.
John’s unique ability to brighten a child’s day can be seen through his dedication to his own kids. The phrase ‘a father’s pride’ can be defined by simply asking John about his two kids. Whether it is discussing their latest academic adventures, sports accomplishments, or speculating on their creative pursuits, John is clearly the proud father who looks to his kids for inspiration. In fact, it is due to his fatherly dedication that John was inspired to write and publish a children’s book in 2006.
The South Overlook Oaks started as short stories that he would tell his daughters as he tucked them into bed. The stories were based on interactions that John witnessed from his own front porch. And as time passed, the stories slowly grew into a children’s chapter book. The trees serve as narrators and John’s kids can be seen throughout the pages of the enchanting story. With illustrations to guide a young reader, The South Overlook Oaks is the perfect first chapter book for a child to read on their own. While skimming its pages I found myself drifting away from an office in Old Town to a peaceful neighborhood where the trees could talk and children loved to play. Unsurprisingly I am not alone in my reaction. Upon its publication, John promptly donated 40 copies to the Children’s Hospital. As time has gone by those 40 copies have become lovingly worn and smudged, as good books often do.
It is safe to say that while John perfectly fits the moniker of a “Renaissance man,” he is also a dedicated father, caring community member, and avid networker. Through both his professional and personal experiences, John has helped to better countless lives by connecting people together. This dedication to networking can be seen through John’s avid participation on the board of the Columbia Law School Alumni Association and his membership in a MindShare group that is comprised of over 500 CEOs in the DC area. John recently sponsored his brother-in-law, Steven Rao, CEO of Relevate, to join the MindShare group. When I asked John why he was so drawn to networking he simply laughed and stated that, “introducing people to people is part of the fun. Some people are good at it and some people enjoy it.” John happens to be both. Whether it is making Business-to-Business introductions or playing Top 40 hits at the Children’s Hospital, John Reardon has the uncanny ability of brightening everyone’s day simply by being his kind-hearted self.
Written by: Laura Parker