Justin Hodges

Alumni Highlight: Cronkite School helped prepare graduate for entrepreneurial success

Monday, Sept. 18, 2023


Justin Hodge always knew he was going to be an entrepreneur.

Although Hodge originally wanted to pursue sports broadcasting at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the 2006 alum never wavered from his entrepreneurial goals. When Hodge was a sophomore, he switched his focus to public relations and took a non-media job, which set him on his current path.

Hodge is the co-founder and president of Muscular Moving Men & Storage, one of the fastest growing companies in the Valley that is owned by a Sun Devil. The company currently employs 125 staff members and operates out of a facility in north Phoenix that maintains storage space for 1.5 million pounds of furniture for customers, a gym and small convenience store for employees, and a fleet of moving trucks.

Hodge started Muscular Moving Men & Storage in 2008 with his co-founder, Josh Jurhill, when the two friends started posting ads on Craigslist. Since that time, the company has completed more than 30,000 local and long distance moves for a variety of clients, including homeowners, celebrities, industrial businesses, hotels and hospitals.

Hodge has been named to the Sun Devil 100 every year since 2018. The Sun Devil 100 highlights Arizona State University graduates each year who own or lead organizations from around the world that demonstrate innovation, growth and entrepreneurial spirit. 

In 2018, the Phoenix Business Journal named Hodge a 40 Under 40 honoree.  

“Even to this day, I never would have envisioned starting a moving company. But, in a lot of ways, you use those skill sets with public relations on a day-to-day basis,” Hodge said. “Being able to communicate with your staff. And, also, for your clients, too. You want to be able to communicate with them effectively.”

Hodge didn’t know anything about the moving industry when he took a job with a residential moving company while in college but eventually learned and progressed while working as a mover.

He began leading a crew before becoming the office manager.

“I learned the business. I learned how the rates work and eventually I started doing on-site estimates,” he said. “So, with all of this knowledge that I gained, I felt like I could do this and I don’t need somebody that I’m reporting to. I can do my own thing.”

His experience at the Cronkite School prepared him for the opportunities that would come his way, he said. 

Hodge used his public relations training when launching the company by writing press releases, marketing the company and conducting interviews with the media, he said.

“You don’t have a public relations company of your own. So I was the de facto everything — marketing, PR, broadcasting and journalism,” he said. “Public relations is a big part of what I do, from being able to go on radio shows and the fact that I’ve been prepared and have this base of knowledge.” 

Hodge remembered being challenged by both professors and classmates who were already advanced in their field of study. 

“I think my time at Cronkite required me to level up,” he said. “I’ve learned from my mistakes far more than I’ve ever learned from my successes.”

Hodge also learned some lessons as a freshman at Cronkite while interning at 944 Magazine. 

He interviewed a number of interesting people, including Mike Tyson, but was more drawn to the entrepreneurial aspect of running a magazine, he said.

“I saw this owner/operator run this business, and I can see that they were really successful,” he said.

Hodge wants to encourage students to explore and create their own path rather than just confine themselves to a predetermined route taken by others.

“I just like to see the entrepreneurial spirit continue to grow. I don’t want students to feel like they need to just be a cog in the wheel and continue to be at someone’s beckon call,” he said. “I love the spirit of somebody that really wants to create something.”