In His Own Words: Dusty Wunderlich of DCA Partners

The Northern Nevada Business Weekly recently asked me to do an interview about my business, hobbies and interests.  The Northern Nevada Business Weekly is a great publication that does good work informing the region about business activities, I am honored that they would include me in their publication.

In His Own Words: Dusty Wunderlich of DCA Partners

The basics:

Name: Dusty Wunderlich/principal at DCA Partners; president & executive director at the Growing Worldwide Opportunity Foundation (GWOF)

Number of years in this job? One year at DCA Partners, and three years at GWOF

Years in this profession? Seven

Education: BS in finance and masters of business administration from Missouri State University

Last book read? “The Currency Wars” by James Rickards Favorite flick? “Braveheart”

What’s on your iPod? Toby Keith, Goteye, Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, Johnny Cash

Spouse, kids or pets? I have a horse (Missouri Fox Trotter) named Stormy. She is a loyal friend on the trails when I want to get away.

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.

Dusty Wunderlich: DCA Partners is a strategic advisory firm serving as a trusted advisor to middle-market businesses throughout the western United States. In addition to advisory work, DCA Partners has an affiliate private equity fund focused on providing buyout, growth and restructuring capital to middle-market companies in underserved communities across the Western U.S. I focus on identifying opportunities for our private equity fund in the Nevada market and also serve middle-market businesses with growth advisory and merger and acquisition advisory.

The Growing Worldwide Opportunity Foundation is a public charity that focuses on international and domestic grass-roots humanitarian projects. Specifically, GWOF supports projects in the areas of fresh food/water, shelter, health, education and micro-capital/loans. My role for GWOF is in development of the strategic direction and execution.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession? Wunderlich: I broke into the finance industry by building a relationship on the golf course with a gentleman who owned a boutique investment banking firm in Lake Tahoe. After three months of playing golf and building the relationship he offered me a position at his firm.

NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career? Wunderlich: Relationships are crucial to success, and in building relationships always try to find ways to help others even when it does not directly benefit your business.

NNBW: Did the recession change the way you do business? If so, how? Wunderlich: My former employer shut down his firm during the recession, which required me to rethink my next career move. I decided to take the valuable experience from my prior firm and utilize it in the Nevada market, which led to my role with DCA Partners.

NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession? Wunderlich: I am contacted by quite a few students that want to break into investment banking and/or the private equity industry. I tell each of them to start building a network and personal brand that differentiates them from others. Specifically, I encourage people to build their brand online, write a blog and become an expert in a particular subject. Also build a network through attending industry conferences and taking interesting people out for coffee. It is crucial to have a strong Web presence and network in the current market in order to find opportunities.

NNBW: What was your first job?

Wunderlich: I was a cart boy at Ruby View Golf Course in Elko.

NNBW: Tell us about your dream job.

Wunderlich: I would continue doing what I am doing with DCA Partners and GWOF, but it would be self-funded, which would allow me to take on unique projects and companies that I am personally passionate about.

NNBW: What’s the most fun you have had on the job?

Wunderlich: I get the opportunity to meet passionate entrepreneurs on a regular basis, and in the process I also get to learn about interesting new projects and business models. Making valuable connections or advising clients or portfolio companies in a way that helps them grow is also a very rewarding and fun experience. Working through an acquisition is also a fun experience that forces you to strategically think about many variables and make decisions based on the information at hand and your overall instincts.

NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Wunderlich: Be your best and never quit!

NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work? Wunderlich: I am an avid golfer and mountaineer. Anytime I get a chance I escape to the mountains or the golf course. I also enjoy traveling and Crossfit.

NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

Wunderlich: I would have started my own company before I was 21 and tried to serve in the military. I think every young person should try to serve their country or start a business at a young age.

NNBW: What has been your biggest professional accomplishment?

Wunderlich: I had the opportunity to conduct business and speak on six continents before I was 30. This was an incredible experience and continues to serve me every day.

NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?

Wunderlich: PGA Tour professional.

NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Wunderlich: No, I enjoy what I am doing and want to continue to support well-run businesses and grass-roots humanitarian projects that make the world a better place.

NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended? Wunderlich: Toby Keith in Lake Tahoe.

NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?

Wunderlich: Somewhere remote in the mountains or on a pristine golf course.

NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? Wunderlich: I was born and raised in Elko and am a third-generation Nevadan. I truly appreciate the lifestyle, culture, people and doing business in northern Nevada. I am happy to be carrying on the family tradition of living and doing business in northern Nevada.