While some Gen Z’ers might gravitate toward the unknown and naturally choose that road less taken, Tristan Franzoy, son of Young Guns Produce owners Chris and Tammy Franzoy of Las Cruces, NM, has his heart set on something grounded not only in geographical history but also in the legacy of his forebears.
Tristan, a 20-year-old junior at New Mexico State University, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in personal sales. And though he is undecided on pursuing a master’s and where such a degree might take him, he’s sure of his place in southern New Mexico.
“If I don’t go on to get my masters, I plan on staying close and working in the family business for as long as I’m able,” Tristan told OnionBusiness in early June. As the fifth generation of an Austrian immigrant couple who planted their roots and raised 10 children in New Mexico in the early 1900s, Tristan can lay claim to some impressive family credentials. His great-great-grandparents, Joseph and Celestina Franzoy, started a family that has grown over the past 100 years to more than 700 people. And the 250 acres the couple first farmed has enlarged to more than 20,000.
Tristan said it’s been his family that has most shaped his ambition and influenced his decisions, bringing him to where he is today.
“From the very beginning they have been there to support me and encourage me in whatever path of life I choose,” this remarkable Gen Z’er said. “As for the job I’m currently in, which is helping in onion marketing with Young Guns, it’s my dad. I never knew what I wanted to do with my life growing up, but I did know I wanted to be like him.”
Tristan continued, “Now looking back, the reason why I am attracted to marketing and agriculture is apparent to me, and that’s because I have constantly worked to resemble the character of my dad.”
And there’s something – someone – else, he said.
“The reason I continue to go to school and work everyday is for my future family. I’m currently engaged to my amazing fiancée Meagan, and we plan to get married this September. Being that we plan on starting a family pretty soon after we’re married, all that I am doing right now is for their well-being.”
We asked Tristan what he considers the most gratifying parts of his education and his job, and his response was classic.
“In both my job and my education, the most gratifying aspect remains the same,” he said. It is “whenever I can get home and honestly say I grew or was stretched a little that day.” He continued “With each day of class or each day of work I gain a little more experience, and regardless of the fact that the majority of my growth comes from failure, I know looking back I will be grateful for each day and what they hold.”
Tristan is second-oldest of the Franzoy offspring, and his siblings are Jake, 24, Tyler, 18, and Jordie, 16. He takes his position in life seriously, aware of his surroundings and ready to meet his challenges.
“My biggest challenges so far in my work and education are finding the balance between school, work and social life. I want a lot of my time to go towards Meagan, but that’s hard to do with the schedules we both have. I’m all about quality time with your family and loved ones, so overcoming that has been a bit of a struggle. The way I combat that adversity takes some sacrifice, whether it’s sleep or giving up something else, but more than anything simply communicating is the way we make it work.”
Tristan said being open and honest is key.
“I believe one must always keep the line of communication open and always make an effort to make time for each other. One of the ways Meagan and I do that is have lunch as many times a week as possible and just take that little bit of time to be with one another,” he said.
With his mature outlook and deep commitment to family, Tristan is a bit removed from any “young people today” stereotyping, but he’s not without some Gen Z traits. One is an almost genetic affinity for technology. But he qualifies his attachment, too.
“In a shrinking world with ever-changing technology, it’s difficult to keep up if you aren’t a part of it,” he said. “Technology is very important to me and my success as a student and in my job. I most definitely use technology for research and learning. With that being said, I believe that there are plenty of things technology can’t teach you that you have to learn hands-on by actually being in it and doing it.”
What does he use? “The modals that are most important to me would probably be texting, calling and access to the internet in general.”
He’s not addicted to social media, though. Far from it.
“I have recently deleted all my social media, with the exception of Snapchat,” Tristan said. “So it’s not a huge part of my daily life at the moment. If I had to pick one favorite, it would be Snapchat or Instagram because that’s one way I connect with not just my friends but other people branched out across the world while keeping tabs on what’s going on in the world around me.”
He’s a serious student and a young man planning his future. But Tristan has that sports buff side, too.
“The main thing I do outside of school and work is hang out with Meagan, but I’m also into sports having played football and basketball in high school,” he said.
And there’s music. And people.
“I also enjoy playing the drums and just hanging out with friends and family.”
And there’s faith. Unshakeable. Undeniable.
“I’m very involved in my church, University Church of Christ, and my campus ministry, Aggies for Christ,” Tristan Franzoy said.
His values extend into every aspect of his life, including food. Where some young people might seek out the fastest and the cheapest, Tristan adds a few basic requirements to his shopping list.
“The things I look for when I go shopping, and the same holds true for my fiancée, are convenience, price, and health,” he said. “Granted these preferences change given the mindset of the consumer, but for me since I’m a college kid nearing my wedding, these are what I’m looking for.”
He said that “Meagan and events going on in my life” have shaped his shopping identity.
“I rarely eat at restaurants on campus mainly because I’m trying to eat healthy and not spend money, so the majority of the time I do meal prep before each week,” he said.
Though he’s definitely an individualist, Tristan said he sees himself as a typical Gen Z’er in some ways.
“I believe a strength of my generation is that we’re open to new things and are accepting of what others may introduce,” he said of how he’d describe himself and other Z’ers to marketers out to win them over to products and/or services.
“There is no problem approaching my generation at all, but the problem lies in how one approaches them. My advice to one wanting to reach them would be to approach them in a way that makes them feel like they’re a part of something. Relate to them and treat them as if they’re playing a crucial role in the vitality of this world. Encourage them and make an effort to relate with them.”
And after sharing his thoughts on how to reach out to his generation, Tristan Franzoy shared his thoughts on just living life to its fullest, what he wants to do. In faith. With humility.
“The ultimate goal right now in my life is to humbly and obediently live each day not for myself but for Jesus – to follow His direction, not to make my life better or easier, but in hopes of bringing love, joy, and peace into others’ lives or potentially this world. I aspire to live my life constantly and joyfully serving and loving others rather than wanting to be served.”
He concluded, “The most important footprint my generation can leave for the next to pick up and run with is that of acceptance and selfless love. My dream for my generation is that we could all experience the joy and love that is in Jesus Christ so that we, no matter the ethnicity, no matter the age, no matter the person, we, in whatever season of life, may be the foundation and the model of that joy and love set for other generations to come.”
He wants, he said, “To pour out unconditional love, a love that expects nothing in return, for the rest of our days on this Earth.”
You have a good start, Tristan. Fight the good fight of faith.