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  • Rudy Mejia

Why the name Nickel Hayden?

Updated: Feb 11

When it comes to naming a company, it's like picking a tattoo – it has to mean something, and you're going to wear it forever. So when we decided to name our municipal advisory firm, we didn't just throw darts at a board. We named it after someone who's pretty much a legend in my book – Colonel James “Buster” Hayden. This isn't just a story about why we chose his name; it's about the man behind the legend, how he helped shape futures from El Paso to West Point, including mine, and how his wisdom is the cornerstone of Nickel Hayden.

The Man, The Myth, The Mentor

Colonel James Buster Hayden wasn't just any West Point grad (Class of 1945). He was the guy who saw potential where others saw dead ends. Helping young folks from El Paso get into West Point wasn't just a hobby; for him, it was a calling. And let me tell you, I was one of those lucky ducks. When I met Col. Hayden I was 15 years old. He was 80ish. But he saw the potential in me and remained a guiding mentor of mine through my time at the Academy and brief time in the Army.

Colonel Hayden's lessons went beyond the classroom. He taught us about respect and pride – not just the kind you have for yourself but for your country and those around you. Imagine a guy so dedicated that every word he said felt like it should be stitched on a pillow. He was all about making you a better person, not just a better cadet.

Lasting Words to Live By

The last time we talked, he left me with something that stuck: "Appreciate the now and do good by others." Sounds simple, right? But coming from him, it felt like I'd been handed the secret to the universe. It's advice that's become my north star, guiding me through life's ups and downs.

Nickel Hayden: Keeping the Spirit Alive

Nickel Hayden is our way of paying it forward, of spreading the Hayden gospel. We're in the business of relationships, sure, but it's deeper than that. We're here to make a difference, to treat people right, and to build something that's about more than just the bottom line. And yes, we actually believe that. Crazy, right?

In the world of municipal advisory, where it's easy to get lost in the numbers, we stand out by being those folks who remember your name and actually care about what's happening in your world. Colonel Hayden taught us that treating people right isn't just good manners – it's good business. And trust me, in this industry, that's a breath of fresh air.

At Nickel Hayden, we've built a culture that attracts people who want to do more than just show up for work. They want to make an impact, to leave things a little better than they found them. We like to think of ourselves as the good guys in suits – or, more often than not, in sneakers and jeans. Because why not?

Choosing to name our firm after Colonel James “Buster” Hayden was a no-brainer. It was our way of saying, "This is who we aspire to be. This is the legacy we want to live up to." His principles of mentorship, respect, and service are what drive us every day. At Nickel Hayden, we're not just crunching numbers; we're keeping a legend alive, one good deed at a time. And in doing so, we hope to inspire the next generation, just as Colonel Hayden inspired me. So, here's to appreciating the now, doing good by others, and maybe cracking a joke or two along the way – because, as the Colonel would say, "Why so serious?

—Rudy Mejia

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