Austin served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) from 2002-2004, spending time in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Zambia. It was during a time of civil unrest, the economies collapsing, food shortages increasing and lack of safety becoming more apparent.
Given the increasing food and supply shortages, the Mormon Church started shipping in supplies, which missionaries distributed to an ever-increasing population of needy individuals. Austin became aware of many other organizations shipping in various goods to assist the people. It became clear, however, that only a small percentage of goods was reaching the people who needed it most. Corruption and inefficiency were hampering a multitude of humanitarian efforts, with populations of people that desperately needed assistance that was not finding them.
Austin returned to school in the United States after his mission, but did not forget the plight of so many in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. He was resolved to do something about it.
In 2006, Austin decided to return to Africa for an anthropology study abroad to Namibia. He studied the Himba, and exotic and beautiful tribe in northern Namibia. Like in Zimbabwe and Zambia. As part of the study abroad, he toured the country, during which they visited extremely impoverished areas. Austin’s desire to help was solidified. When he returned to the country in 2009 to conduct his master’s thesis research, he brought stacks of new shirts for the children he knew he would visit. It was a very small effort, but the beginning of something bigger.
In 2010, Austin started Footsteps for Africa. Footsteps remains his biggest passion.
After working in Healthcare IT for 6 years, Austin joined Broadwell Air Domes (www.broadwellairdomes.com) as their Chief Strategy Officer. Broadwell is a large international air supported structures company with a presence in 11 countries. They are the largest sports facilities company in all of China. Along with his brother and business partner, Cam, he runs the North American market for Broadwell and is over international strategic partnerships and business development.