“This was back during the original Gateway 2000 days,” said Andrew. “All the companies you see now were just forming back then. I was impressed by Gateway 2000 and some of the others because they actually answered the phone every time you called. They didn’t have an automated system. It didn’t last long, but it impressed me back then.”
Two years later, when he was 15 and his family moved to Tuscaloosa from Albany, Ga., he saw an ad in a newspaper about an Internet service wanting someone to work in customer service. The company was a dial up Internet service provider with an impeccable reputation in town.
“I guess I won them over,” said Andrew. “They hired me to interface with the younger clientele. It was my first computer/Internet related job. It was a pretty decent job for a 15-year-old. I guess you could say, I fell in love at first byte.”
The job lasted until the company went out of business due to a buyout from a different Internet service provider. Before it ended, Andrew had worked his way up to network administrator.
Andrew opened Gamecock Computers on Aug. 1, 2010 and on Aug. 1, 2012 relocated to 104 Ladiga St., S. W., on the square.
“We do every aspect of computer repair,” he said. “We figure it out and fix it. We don’t think of ourselves as just a computer repair business. We are a customer service business that just happens to fix computers.”
Andrew also does professional web site designs for individuals, businesses and various government entities or “anyone who needs a broad presence on the Internet.”
Andrew said coming in daily contact with his customers has enlightened his world.
“Lots of people come in here from different areas, different regions, and they all bring something with them,” he said. “You learn something new from somebody just about every day. It’s been an interesting experience meeting all these people with so many different personalities. That is why we love Jacksonville.”
Andrew said he’s had “little businesses” as long as he can remember.
In Albany, he ran many Kool-Aid stands and found other interesting ways to make extra money from retrieving golf balls at the local golf course to cutting grass for neighbors.
“I didn’t get an allowance,” said Andrew. “I came from a single parent home and you had to pretty much make your own allowance. I am glad I had the opportunity to experience business first hand from such a young age, it has made all the difference.”
Andrew graduated from Mount Zion High School in Jonesboro, Ga. He was born in Auburn. He received a BS in economics from Jacksonville State University in 2010 and is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration there.
Andrew said he gets his dedication and motivation from his mother.
She was working on her master’s in early childhood education at Auburn University when she was pregnant with Andrew.
“She tells me the only day she missed in school was the day I was born,” Andrew said. “That’s where I get my drive for education and continuing to learn new things. Even in recent years, she’s still continuing her education.”
When Andrew receives his master’s next fall, he won’t be finished with his education. He will continue working at Gamecock Computers while attending law school at night in Atlanta. He is pursuing a juris doctorate.
“I can’t do a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. law school because of my business,” said Andrew. “I had to pick what they call a non-traditional school that is A.B.A. accredited. Since I used to live in Atlanta and I’m familiar with that area, I decided I can work here during the day and go to school there at night part time. I’ll be able to work that schedule better. It’ll be a strain but if you want something bad enough it’s worth it.”
Andrew said once he has the degree from law school in his hand, it will be like the finishing touch on his education. He’s planning on that degree putting him right where he wants to be -- eventually working in business law.
“I’ve always been interested in law, not especially family law, and I don’t want to be prosecutor or defense attorney due to the moral aspect of it,” he said. “I have a conscience, and so any way you look at those jobs, if you do your job right, it’s a bad situation for somebody.”
Andrew and his wife, Tessa McKinney Havens, have two children. Dorian is 11, and Madeline is 16 months. Tessa also has a BS in economics from JSU and is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration there. She diligently works alongside Andrew in the daily operation of Gamecock Computers. They are members of First Baptist Church Jacksonville and are proud residents of Jacksonville.
Andrew said a typical day for him consists of three things – family, school and work. Computers and business are his passions. He considers his customers family or friends, and he’ll always love Jacksonville. He would like to keep his family in Jacksonville and continue to rear his children here.
He and Tessa love the town, the university and the school system. Computers are in his blood and aren’t likely to leave. They’re hoping, once he becomes Andrew Havens, J.D., to continue to live among the many friends they’ve made here and even if it’s only now and then, fix a computer or two.