How many successful business leaders are asked to take a look back at their humble beginnings when they are just 26 years old? It’s hard to believe, but for Luke Riordan ’12, his business leadership began at a very very young age.
For DAYTA Marketing the journey began while Luke was student at Saint John’s during a summer internship. Luke approached an orthopedic doctors’ office in his hometown of Stevens Point, WI, and he offered to help them build their social media presence. What he created began to change their business, and so they offered to pay Luke for his services after he completed his internship. That’s how it all began.
Luke had tasted business, but he knew very little about growing a business. That’s when he engaged his uncle John. Luke describes John as a serial entrepreneur who had started many businesses during his lifetime. Together they began DAYTA Marketing out of the basement of Luke’s home, with a single desk that they purchased and had to assemble. They have since expanded and moved twice to accommodate their ever-growing team of employees.
Luke never forgot the value of the internship opportunity he had while attending Saint John’s University. Not only did it give him real world experience, but it also surrounded him with mentors and leaders who encouraged him and guided him and helped him build his confidence.
In just four years Luke and John have seen DAYTA Marketing achieve exponential growth, and today they have 25 employees and 10 interns. Luke will laugh and tell you that the average age of his staff is well below 30, and he prides himself on the fun environment they have created in the workplace. As an example, they regularly host potluck luncheons in the break room.
Luke will be quick to tell you that “first and foremost, we need a community to thrive. So I think it makes a lot of business sense to give back to the community. One of the reasons we have a robust internship program is that 45 percent of our current workforce started out as interns at DAYTA Marketing, including myself. That internship experience that I had at the orthopedic clinic, I mean that was huge for me. And to be able to provide internship opportunities to other students, that’s the key to education.”
I personally have seen Luke build his business at DAYTA and was one of his first customers. He is a remarkable young man who approaches every relationship as if it were the most important one in his life. He believes deeply in happy satisfied customers, and he knows that a fun and well-balanced environment at work for his employees will motivate them to go the extra mile to help their customers achieve their goals and dreams. I once heard Luke say that “at DAYTA we work to live; we don’t live to work.” I think that as a young man Luke has proven he has his priorities straight.
What does Luke’s future and that of DAYTA Marketing look like? Who knows, but it will be fun to follow. In the meantime Luke has already won recognition for his incredible accomplishments in building his business. Luke is a recent recipient of the “5 Under 40 Award” presented by the Times Media Group. And yes, he was the youngest of the five, by at least ten years.
In addition to Luke, Johnnie and Bennie graduates at DAYTA Marketing include Ellie Backes ’13, Jason Wolbeck ’13, Andrew Leintz ’11, and Nate Hoffman ’08. Their presence is the result of Luke’s dedication to providing a robust internship program that not only gives current Johnnies and Bennies the chance to jump into business, but it also gives them a stepping stone to work at DAYTA. But most important of all, it gives them a work environment that surrounds them with mentors passionate about helping them to succeed.