Uplifting Compton motivates Andrew “Harley-Drew” Thompson to devote his time and talents to the cause. In fact, both his company and his volunteer efforts focus on improving the city of his birth.
As the owner of Screamin Eagles Services, Thompson and his staff of 12 clean up illegal dumping and abandoned encampment sites around Compton. In business since 2014, the firm also performs building and parking lot maintenance, graffiti removal, freight hauling and demolition work.
His volunteer activities include partnering with a local Harley-Davidson dealer to present free workshops for youth to learn about motorcycle riding, care and upkeep. He also holds sessions to train young people about heavy-duty truck operations. Every class highlights the potential careers within each field.
Explaining the reason behind his efforts, Thompson attributes the example set by his grandfather, John McCoullum, who ran a motorcycle shop. In addition to repairing and custom-building bikes, McCoullum taught neighborhood children about the vehicles.
“I’m inspired by my grandfather. He’s the reason why I have the drive that I do now. I watched him take kids in the ghetto, bring them to his shop to show them how to work on motorcycles. When he had biker runs, he’d take kids with him to get them out of the hood, so they could see that there’s more to life than just being in the ghetto,” said the 36-year-old Thompson, a former Harley-Davidson worker.
“He let them see the value of being a man by taking care of your community and your family. He inspired me to keep that legacy going as I got older. [I try to] get them on the right track at a young age and train them and mold them to be great,” he added.
The variety of jobs in this area will help youngsters on the path to greatness, noted Thompson, who said positions range from mechanics to owners to sales associates and marketers. Truck drivers and equipment operators command lucrative salaries as well.
“My company owns bobcat tractors and I show youth how to operate them because there’s good money in the construction field operating bobcats and heavy duty equipment like that,” Thompson said. “I learned to operate heavy equipment through my uncle. I had hands-on training watching him at a young age and he was a great teacher!”
Thompson applied the knowledge and principles he gleaned from his family to his Screamin Eagles Services, which was actually a major factor in his starting the business. Troubled by the amount of illegal dumping in Compton, he purchased trucks and equipment and began doing volunteer cleanups around the city with the help of like-minded acquaintances.
Later, he learned that cities engaged private companies to remove graffiti and illegal dumping, so he submitted a bid and was awarded the contract to clean up junky sites and marked –up buildings in Compton. Recently, Screamin Eagles workers did such great work clearing an encampment by a railroad track that the train CEO publicly commended the firm on an outstanding job.
“[We’ve picked up] over 1,000 tons in the city of Compton. My goal is to employ more people from the community and actually help clean up encampments throughout the Los Angeles area,” said Thompson.
“I want to use my skills to change lives and inspire lives in my community and create programs. Everything I’m doing is because I’m passionate about it,” stressed the young entrepreneur, who just established the nonprofit Screamin Eagles Operations to garner support and funding to produce recreational, vocational and life skills programs for Compton young people.
“I just want to keep growing, elevating and spreading positive energy. I want the young and old to understand each other and work together for our future and our community.”
To learn about the free sessions, contact Andrew “Harley-Drew” Thompson on Instagram @ screamineaglesservices.