At age 43, Andrew Kotyuk, the current Mayor Pro-tem of San Jacinto, is a relatively young man who has given service to both community and country that a much older person would be proud to present.
Born and raised in the San Jacinto Valley, he attended public schools in Hemet, Mount
San Jacinto Community College in San Jacinto and Cal State University in San Bernardino. He looked forward to participating in high school and college sports until any idea of athletes was shot down due to a bike accident while still a freshman in high school. The accident left him with a fractured skull in addition to other injuries.
“My doctor said I would not be participating in sports again,” he says, “and my mother
enforced is ruling to the max.”
After high school, he joined with a dozen other recent graduates from Hemet and journeyed to the far north in Alaska to the Bering Straits where he spent the next two years working in the salmon industry. “We worked on the fishing boats, the docks and cranes,” he says, “but never got to go out on the fishing trawlers.”
In 1995 he enlisted in the United States Navy where he was part of a search and rescue crew. Despite previous doctor’s orders, he became an expert swimmer. For the next four years, he became a dedicated sailor. “When a new U. S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ship UHD First Class was commissioned he wanted to become one of 1500 man crew and succeeded, where he received numerous promotions and a Captain’s Excellence Award from the ship. Being aboard a flagship gave him a sense of pride and dedication. The ship took him into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico doing search and rescue during hurricanes and other natural disasters.
“I spent a lot of time in Latin American countries; Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican
Republic and others. We assisted with repairs and were qualified for humanitarian commissions. That was during the Desert Storm conflict.”
He married his high school sweetheart in 1997, and they were later divorced. He remarried in 2000 and is now the father of two. He met his second wife on a blind date but discovered that the two knew each other in high school because she was a friend of his sisters. He claims that “She wouldn’t give me the time of day in school.”
Shortly after their marriage, the young married couple moved to Silicon Valley during the Dot.com era. “They solicited me because of my knowledge and experience.” He worked in that field until the economy exploded in 2007-2008 and then moved back to the San Jacinto Valley.
“I always knew my future would be in finances.” He planned to become involved in the investment field. He applied for and was hired as an investment broker with the national firm of A. G. Edwards. The Great Recession created a chain of collapses; Edwards collapsed into Wachovia which subsequently collapsed into Wells Fargo he went through a series of movements. The firm of Merrill Lynch recruited him into their Indian
Wells, California offices after the firm met two conditions he required.
“It wasn’t just money in the sock. Through them, I obtained a Founder’s seat on the
Board of the MacAllen Theater in Palm Desert. Secondly, Merrill Lynch had a relationship with the University of Wharton in Pennsylvania, and I wanted them to send me to Wharton to get my Certified Investment Management Analyst certificate because Wharton is one of the most influential and schools in the business world.”
One of my professors came to him in 2011 and wanted to form a new firm. “He said,
‘none of that big bank stuff is for, and I don’t think it is for you either” That’s how his current firm, Alpha Wealth 2011 came into existence. “It was a new model that the Securities Exchange Commission had created where there were no commissions, just set fees. We are considered to be Registered Investment Advisors,” which meant transparency and visibility, “away from the bank model, which caused the recession.”
After seven years of working in non-profits and other community activities, he was urged to become involved in local politics. San Jacinto had a recall of its City Council in Andrew threw his hat into the ring and has been there ever since, serving two terms as Mayor Pro-tem and two terms as Mayor.
Prior to and during a political career, he has served as a board member and chairman
on many boards of directors, including but not limited to United Way, Ramona Pageant,
The San Jacinto Valley Academy, light rail commission and highway re-alignment
During his ten years on the city council, he has helped to cut spending, balancing
budgets and dealing with the audit to clear the city’s name after the recall.
“It was tough going for a while because we had a lot of push back on that one.” He
also led the way to creating a Power Authority for his city which lowered the cost of
electricity for the city, creating the L.E.D. light system, re-opening closed parks,
preventing a housing development from expiring, putting together an agreement with the Soboba Indian Tribe that led to the expansion of a new Casino to replace the old one, appointing three top-rated CEO for three different organizations; “Penny Harrison to head the Academy; Ron Johnson as City Manager and Stephanie Wiggins for the Metrolink (probably the first black female to become CEO of a National Rail Organization), reduction of gangs and gang violence in the city, helping to redo the downtown area to permit four-story buildings, created a public program.
His most promising, and challenging, efforts went into passing an ordinance that
permits the growth, sales, taxation, and control of Cannabis in designated areas of the
Andrew has been involved and led the road to progress in this Valley that has led to
San Jacinto becoming the third fastest growing city in Riverside County.
“I take pride in that,” he says. And well, he should. The Hemet – San Jacinto Chronicle recognizes Andrew Kotyuk as worthy of a profile in service to his community. Job well earned. Job well done.