In our spotlight this month is Dan Beardslee. Dan has been a critical component of Patti Engineering’s success over the last couple of years. As a Consulting CFO with Michigan CFO Associates, Dan works closely with our team to maximize the financial side of our business. He lends his substantial experience and expertise to make the most of our short-term financial needs while optimizing our long-term plans.
“I had a great impression of Dan the first time I met him and learned about his extensive business background and the fact that we shared the same alma mater,” says Sam Hoff, CEO of Patti Engineering. “Time has proven that the gut feel from my first impression was correct.”
In fact, not only does Dan share Sam’s college alma mater, he also shares Patti Hoff’s high school alma mater!
His career path, from mechanical engineer to small business financial expert, were launched from two realizations, while earning undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Dan entered Kettering University (then General Motors Institute) because he was “good at math and science and because I didn’t know what else to do.” After taking his first business class, an economics class, he realized that he may have found something he really enjoyed. He continued with his mechanical engineering major, but added an Industrial Administration minor as well.
Later, while earning a Masters of Science in management from MIT Sloan School of Management, he realized that he preferred working with smaller companies rather than large corporations. Dan points to this decision as just as pivotal as his major.
“What I enjoy most is working with an entrepreneur eyeball to eyeball, helping them and their business to grow and prosper,” he says.
Throughout his career, Dan has held different operational roles, but all are different angles of that same theme. Dan joined a seed venture capital fund, getting to know countless small businesses and their operations well. From there, he was President and COO of a small business that became the worldwide supplier for prosthetic feet. Later, he was Vice President and Treasurer at a pharmaceutical manufacturing organization. In 2000, he founded Beardslee Venture Advisors before joining Michigan CFOs.
His advice to people just starting out: “Don’t feel too much pressure to pick your long-term career path. Careers are a path, one step after another. Be very purposeful about picking the next step. A career is not a series of jobs; it’s a series of skills and capabilities.”
In addition to working in business, Dan has been an Adjunct Professor of management at Lawrence Technological University (LTU), where he’s taught Leadership and Entrepreneurship. “I’m a fan of leaders, I advise leadership, and every person can and should demonstrate leadership. One of the things I like to teach is that you can be a leader from the day you take your first job. Leadership is figuring out what needs to be done in a situation and how to do it.”
Outside of work, Dan enjoys music, kayaking, hiking, travelling and family time with his wife, Sue, his 3 children, and 2 dogs. He recently spent Halloween in Japan where his daughter teaches English and took a trip to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame with his son, both trips pictured.