Don Daseke’s Mantra “Invest in People” Earns Him the Prestigious McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship

For his lifetime of entrepreneurial success, Don Daseke was recently awarded the McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship from DePauw University.


Barbara Daseke (left) joins Don Daseke (right) while he is honored with the 2015 McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.

A graduate of the DePauw class of ‘61, and a devoted alumnus, Don was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Barbara, and introduced by his grandson and DePauw University student, John Daseke.

During his acceptance speech, Don drove home two points: “invest in people” and “live by your passion.”

As a serial entrepreneur, Don Daseke has made his mark by building numerous businesses. His mantra has always been, “Invest in people.”  And it’s a recipe that has succeeded time and time again. His current business endeavor — Daseke, Inc. — has grown to become the second largest open-deck trucking company in North America.

This is a special day for me and my family,” Don said. “DePauw holds a very special place in my heart and always will. I’m thrilled to be receiving this prestigious honor. I love what I’m doing and the people I work with. Back in 1961 I graduated thanks to DePauw’s Rector Scholarship. People invested in me then. As a result, I’ve had a passion to invest in people.”


John Daseke (left), Don’s grandson and DePauw student, introduces Don Daseke (right) as he is honored.

Don’s entrepreneurial spirit, combined with his sharp focus and discipline, has helped him turn a lifetime of seeing a vision into making it come to reality. But he doesn’t do it alone … he shares the vision, guides the steps, keeps his word and rewards those who help him execute the vision.

Don Daseke’s Career:

Paper routeAge 9
Ice cream wagon11
Manager of drive-in restaurant14
IBM executive25
Founded a real estate investment firm, later called Walden Residential Properties33
Walden Residential Properties goes public in 199458
Invested in “Sage,” a telecom company61
Invested in East Teak Fine Hardwoods67
Launched the beginnings of Daseke, Inc.69

DePauw President Brian Casey (right) congratulates Don Daseke on receiving the 2015 McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.


Video: Don Daseke Shares His Entrepreneurial Insights

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