Business Leaders of Valencia County
LOS LUNAS — For Andrew Spears, success isn’t about money or even notoriety. It’s about making sure his clients and the community is well taken care of.
Spears, who has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones since 2014, always wanted to be someone who people could count on, not only for financial advice but for help in any way they need. He moved his office from Albuquerque to Los Lunas in 2016.
The Louisiana native grew up in Kansas. He enlisted in the U.S. Army while in college, and retired after 20 years of service. Even before retiring, he had a plan — a goal he made for himself while he was in high school. He always wanted to be a financial advisor.
“Whether they’re planning for retirement, saving for college for children or grandchildren, or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, we can work together to develop specific strategies to help you achieve your goals,” Spears said. In his spare time, Spears volunteers as an assistant baseball coach at Rio Grande High School, and is president of the Greater Valencia County Chamber of Commerce.
“I have a passion for kids,” he said. “Everything I volunteer to do has something to do with kids.”
Because of his big heart and time dedicated to the community, Spears was recognized by the Bernalillo County Commission as the South Valley Resident of the Year.
Not only does Spears coach high school baseball, he’s using his knowledge as a financial advisor to teach younger children the value of money. He just finished teaching Junior Achievement at Sundance Elementary in Los Lunas.
“I volunteered to teach financial literacy at the high schools, and I got assigned a kindergarten class,” Spears said. “It was really nice, and the curriculum is very good. It’s needs verses wants, and it’s a five-week program.”
Regardless of helping kindergartners, high school students or someone getting ready to retire, Spears said his passion is to change generational wealth.
“Every kid that graduates that I coach, I give them the first $50 and educate them on how to invest, how to save,” he said. “It’s about changing their mentality.”
Spears’ other passion is helping people who can’t help themselves.
“I’ll drop everything for them,” he said. “I’m very sensitive, so when I see someone in need, it strikes me.
“Money doesn’t drive me; but helping people does. If I take care of people, the money will take care of itself.”
Spears, who is also a member of the Los Lunas Kiwanis Club, isn’t sure when he began caring so much, but realized it may of started during his three tours of duty in Iraq.
“I felt a real closeness to them because they don’t have what we have,” he said. “And then I look at what we have, and I wish I could just tell every kid to save $20 a month and they’ll be OK at the end.”
Spears is happy to serve as the chamber’s president, saying while it’s a position out of his comfort zone, he’s enjoying being able to be a part of an organization that assists and supports local businesses.
“This is not a social club,” Spears says. “It’s an all-volunteer board who works hard.
“At the end of the day, Rhona (Espinoza, the executive director) is always out there doing something for the community. She’s good at motivating us and the community.”
When the chamber changed its name and focus from Belen to Valencia County, Spears said he was excited to expand their reach.
“This is about helping local businesses. We are here for each other, and want to make sure we all succeed. This is a great community and, if we do it together, it can be done.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.