SHERIDAN — Patrick Akers is well known for his integral part in bringing fast-food Mexican cuisine to Sheridan. When looking beyond the owner bringing the Qdoba franchise to Sheridan, one sees a dedicated businessman, father and husband living out a life similar to many other Sheridanites with a wanderlust for the outdoors.

Before starting Qdoba, Akers opened and operated Starbucks in Sheridan. Being raised by parents also in the franchise business — they owned and operated a Dairy Queen — made Akers’ future in a similar business a simple decision. The push to own and operate a Qdoba, though, came with challenges of its own, the first being his age. As the youngest person to approach the company about operating a franchise, Akers first needed to prove his worth before the executives.

“Building connections since I was young, building relationships with my bosses and different employers,” Akers said of how he convinced Qdoba to allow him to own and operate a franchise. “A lot of it was getting them to trust me as a person. Being trustworthy, if they had deadlines that needed to be met, being ahead of those deadlines, being two interviews earlier than expected, being able to put together a business plan like how it would work and then just showing them I have these operation skills from Starbucks and also I grew up in a small business.”

Akers takes care of his staff and focuses on running a business with a “teaching mindset,” where passing on knowledge to breed future business leaders is a must.

“That’s one of my key things is every single day teach something new to someone,” Akers said. “That’s something that I’ve tried to teach the leaders in this store is that if you’re teaching every single day and you have a teaching mindset, life will be easier because you’re multiplying your effect.”

At this point, Akers is less involved in the operation of Qdoba than he was the first couple years, allowing him time to share his expertise elsewhere. He remains actively involved in the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce. He also passes on college baseball skills to his children and their peers while coaching little league teams for the past eight years.

The Qdoba franchise owner and operator moved from Fort Collins to Sheridan because he loves his wife’s hometown and aspires to grow the economy. He believes an important trait of successful community members is a willingness to donate time and money if able to further the growth and potential of Sheridan and its citizens.

When not running around chasing children, whacking baseballs and teaching the next generation of business leaders in the community, Akers steals away to the Bighorn Mountains to fish and recreate with his family.