Dan began working when he was 12. A classic paperboy, he began with the afternoon paper route because it fit his schedule. The route had 29 subscribers initially. By focusing on good service (which meant on the doorstep instead of the driveway for the most part) he quickly expanded the route to more than 70 customers - the largest in the area. At first he just had the big canvas bag and rode his bicycle. Later he had the baskets on the front and sides of the bike to hold his carefully folded papers.
The real money was in the morning paper route though and Dan purchased the rights to the morning route as soon as it became available. (A mogul at an early age.) The morning paper was a better paper and more convenient for his customers. With his monopoly on the local newspaper delivery service (the morning and afternoon routes overlapped), he had a whopping 200+ customers for Sunday mornings. The district manager for the evening route (who didn't make money on the morning papers) was none too happy. Dan left, and took nearly all of his customers to morning only delivery, leaving just 22 customers on the afternoon route.
As Dan got into cycling more, he was offered a job at the local bicycle shop. Mary Vaughn of the local 'Beach Peddler" bike shop took him under her wing. The new guy at a bike shop means moving lots of bikes off semi-tractor trailers and simple things like changing inner tubes for tires. He worked at the bicycle shop for several years.
After high school, Dan obtained a short job with his friend Doug Lucy to provide instruction in computer classes. Doug lasted longer than Dan did.
In college, Dan worked in the local computer lab and wrote various software programs. It was a good introduction to his first try at consulting.
Out of college Dan worked as a consultant to provide programming services. He specialized in low level communications routines and worked for companies like IBM, Bell Labs, Northern Telecom, and Sumitomo Electric. Some of Dan's code helped build IBM computers at their manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park, NC.
As Dan began to look at other options, he ended up getting a call from an emerging defense contractor in Washington, DC. Ironically, a friend of his from IBM had taken a job with the same company. He went to work for Advanced Technology (later merged with PRC and now part of Northrup/Grumman) and worked on R&D efforts for technologies like smart cards, voice recognition, and document imaging.
A few years later Dan was bored and frustrated and tired of the slow pace of defense contracting. He began looking at other opportunities and came very close to taking a job for a company that specialized in anti-submarine warfare. It was a big salary increase and meant that he would spend weeks at a time in the Carribean working on ships to test the hardware and software his team was going to develop. But it would have been really boring work. As Dan thought about it, he decided that wasn't right either. He decided to just go back and be a consultant.
One of the divisions at Advanced Technology immediately contracted with him. As he began to look at other customers, he decided to incorporate and founded his first company. Being just 22, Dan recognized that some were going to be concerned that he wasn't old enough to tackle their jobs, despite having more experience than they realized. To look bigger, he decided to include the names of others in the company name. Elam, Elbert, and Barley, Inc. (EEB) was born - named after Dan's small dogs. EEB focused on programming for communications software and quickly worked on early imaging systems to integrate them into existing environments. It was a tough start and the company just limped along. When an unscrupulous customer refused to pay their bills and Dan had to let his employees go, he decided to go back to simple consulting.
After working as an independent consultant for scanning and document management technology, Dan founded Imaging Consulting to go after larger contracts. The company was successful and he quickly recruited some of the industry's top talent to join him as Partners. The company grew rapidly and turned into IMERGE Consulting, one of the nation's top consulting firms for scanning and document management technology.
After a dispute with his Partners, Dan stepped down as General Manager. A few months later he reached an agreement to separate IMERGE into two companies. In March of 2001, Dan and his team added some new talent and introduced eVisory Consulting to the market. Dan serves as President, but some top notch talent keeps the company running.
Many ask what Dan actually does. He spends a lot of his time working with companies to examine their operations and help them reduce costs by using scanning technology, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and special software to push data to the web. Dan is one of the best known experts on this technology in the world. He works on the ISO standards programs and has appeared in publications like PC Week and USA Today. Dan has also helped companies like Intel, American Airlines, Adobe, and the IRS.