‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award – thanks for supporting me!
Last week our district SBA held the awards banquet for National Small Business Week, and I was given the South Dakota Young Entrepreneur of the Year award – what an honor! Obviously this has been a really thrilling experience, and one I really didn’t expect. I’ve received so many encouraging notes in the past few weeks, thanks for your kind words!
For those of you who know me well, in my short career I have had serious ups and downs. Learning to run a business young in life is very difficult, and the experience has humbled and challenged me deeply. At times it has rattled me to my breaking point, and at other times I have felt the sweetness of conquering a challenging endeavor. Today is one of the screaming fun days!
I’m also aware of the source of any talent and wisdom I have been given. Deuteronomy 8:18 sums up how I feel:
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
I’m not wealthy (we’re still in startup mode!), but I’m well aware of all that I have been given, and for that I’m thankful.
There have also been people in my life who have invested in me and shared of themselves. I want to acknowledge and thank some of the people who have helped me along the way.
First, my parents and family have been there through thick and thin. Dad allowed me to start my first company, Vetter Solutions (which later turned into DataSync), in our basement. He later helped fund DataSync before any investors would look at the company. Mom has always been supportive of me, and was there to encourage me when times were tough. The rest of the family encouraged me no matter what happened.
The team at DataSync has been relentless in working through the good times and bad. Startups are not easy, and there have been plenty of chances for them to find an easier job that pays more. I especially want to thank Michael Moser. That guy has put up with me for 5 years or more through countless strategy evolutions.
I’ve been fortunate to gain the wisdom of advisers and directors who are far more advanced than I am in business. They have helped guide me and have taken time to help me grow. Some of those people are Craig Anderson, John Hemmingstad, Rich Naser, Mari Beth Baumberger, Byron Schafersman, Colin White, John Sutton, Eugene McCord, Cris Friewald, Joe Galinanes, Todd Gagne, Will Bushee, John Brown, Paul Ten Haken, Tom Halverson and so many others (I know I’ve missed a lot of you!).
Last (but not least!), my friends have kept me grounded and stable through the jungle that is entrepreneurship. In the hard times they have encouraged me, in the good times they have helped keep my ego in check, and they have always been there to listen and offer insight. I won’t mention them by name here (for privacy reasons), but you know who you are!
In all the hubris of life, I’ve realized that “this too shall pass”. DataSync still has a steep hill to climb, and awards don’t make that easier. Another deserving person win this award next year, and I will be all but forgotten. But that is ok, I’m not doing this to win awards, but to do something worthwhile. But this is real and I’ll never forget this recognition. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way!