Dan Pena is a self-made billionaire with an estimated net worth of $500 million. Recognized as history’s most successful businessman, Dan’s company the Deya Direct Group has more than 1 million customers in over 30 countries. Born in Pueblo, Colorado he dropped out of high school at age 13 and began his career climbing electrical poles for $1.25 an hour. By the age of 18, he had earned his GED and left Colorado to work in Los Angeles as a lineman for General Electric. It was there that he first began thinking about starting his own company by buying up supplies of electrical tape on which he would double, then triple his investment by selling them door-to-door. He continued to experiment with this business model throughout his 20’s, using the profits to start several small businesses until he finally struck it big in 1989 when he opened up his first electronics supply warehouse called “Deya Direct”. Today over 170 employees operate over 30 warehouses across the country.
|Full Name||Daniel Steven Pena Sr.|
|Birth Date||August 10, 1945|
|Birth Place||Jackson, Florida, United States|
|Profession||Businessman, Motivational speaker|
|Net Worth||$500 million|
Early Life of Dan Pena
Born February 4, 1964 in Pueblo, Colorado. Dan Pena was raised by a single mom who worked at the local food processing plant.
From an early age he displayed an entrepreneurial streak, convinced that he could make more money selling athletic shoes door-to-door than his friends could by actually playing sports. He sold shoes until the age of 13 when he dropped out of school and began working as a lineman, earning $1.25 an hour climbing electrical poles for General Electric.
At 17 Pena moved to Los Angeles and got another job as a lineman where he spent his free time at the library studying business books. It was there that Dan first adopted his philosophy of “work smarter, not harder” by finding ways to make more money off the same amount of work he was already doing. For example: instead of selling one 8-pack of tools, he would sell 18 individual tools and make over double what he had before. Unfortunately, this formula didn’t always work – especially with his girlfriend’s father – who was none too pleased to see Dan come home with 9 cans of tennis balls.
At age 20, Pena joined the Marines and was stationed at Camp Pendleton where he realized he had a knack for motivating people after getting his platoon pumped up to take on any task. Unfortunately, this talent would lay dormant for another 17 years until – despite never having worked in sales – Pena began selling directly to contractors and putting together big orders that nobody else could match.
Development of Deya Direct Group – Incorporation – Expansion into 30 countries across six continents
In 1988 Dan Pena made $26,000 and grew tired of working as a lineman so he decided to reinvest his earnings back into himself by opening up a small distributorship called “Deya Electronics”. The first warehouse was 1,500 square feet and by 1990 it had grown to a 3,000 sq. ft warehouse while generating $60,000 in sales. In 1991 Dan incorporated the business as Deya Direct Group and opened up another store with 5 employees operating out of a 10,000 sq. ft building which generated over $100k in annual revenue. By 1992 his customer list was growing rapidly from homeowners to large contractors who would order from him instead of going through larger suppliers like Raytheon or Johnson Controls because they were offering better prices and faster service.
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By 1993 he had added several warehouses across Colorado bringing his total employee count to 30 and making over $1 million in annual revenue. Deya Direct was now no longer competing with other small but similar distributorship’s but large-scale warehouse distributors like MSC, Allied, Dayton Hudson and Global.
By 1994 Deya Direct had become a premier provider of specialty maintenance supplies with revenues reaching $3 million per year. By this time several people were coming to the company asking if they could open up their own branch of Deya Direct using Dan Pena’s business model which he agreed to provided they did it under the banner of “Deya” meaning “to give”. For every new branch that opened up – in whatever country – Pena got 50% of the profits plus 10% royalties on sales.
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At its height between 1994 and 2004 there were over 200 Deya locations operating across North America. In addition, during that same time several branches were opened up across Europe, the Middle East and SE Asia.
During his time as CEO of Deya Direct Group, Inc. Pena responded to a letter from former president George H.W Bush and received a response thanking him for helping search-and-rescue efforts following the Oklahoma City bombing and recommending him for future employment with FEMA.
Mentor many Fortune 500 companies: Emerson Electric, Johnson Controls, Eaton Corporation and others which he has since had business dealings with including some related to “going green”.
Dan Parka is an upstanding member of the community having done work with Habitat for Humanity as well as opening up his own charity called “Royal Family Kids Camp” along with singer Michael Jackson whose foundation donated $1 million towards its construction which has provided summer camps in Colorado, California and Jackson’s home state of Michigan for more than 1,200 children every year.
Deals with George H.W Bush – Reaches out after Oklahoma City Bombing – FEMA – Helped search-and-rescue efforts at the World Trade Center following 9/11 attacks – He also spent a week in Afghanistan living with troops to hand out presents to boys and girls from Toys For Tots
In 1994 Pena traveled to Sacramento along with his wife Linda because he had been invited by Governor Pete Wilson to help search-and-rescue efforts for victims trapped under the rubble from the earthquake that took place two years earlier. In addition he worked with local businesses donating money as well as manpower including construction company F&H Construction which helped build the new capitol building after it had been destroyed.
Deals with George H.W Bush – Reaches out after Oklahoma City Bombing – FEMA – World Trade Center 9/11 attacks – He also spent a week in Afghanistan living with troops to hand out presents to boys and girls from Toys For Tots
Just 4 months before 9/11 Pena’s company Deya Direct Group was contacted by New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani who asked if they could provide assistance for rescue efforts similar to assistance provided during the Loma Prieta earthquake which occurred that same year. Pena agreed to send several people along with $10k worth of equipment which included large tools, wheelbarrows, hydraulic jacks etc… Within 3 days Deya Direct had two teams ready to deploy and the mayor agreed to pay them $25k for their services.
Despite his past as a mercenary and having several military contracts Pena is very down-to-earth and prefers to live a simple life. He doesn’t like the idea of showing off or being in front of cameras because he believes that they steal your soul. In the rare times when he does agree to provide an interview his children are always present to make sure that no one asks any “off-limits” questions.
Pena also went into the real estate business in 1996, integrating his realtors with Deya’s other units across North America before selling off his interest in both companies to pursue other entrepreneurial endeavors. He has since invested much of his wealth into businesses including several high tech startups which are currently being developed at their Silicon Valley headquarters based around green technology and alternative energy sources.
Partnerships: Michael Jackson – Robert Downey Jr – Gazillionaire Ross Perot – Bill Clinton – Tony Blair
Entrepreneurship Education Foundation founded by Dan Pena supports entrepreneurship among disadvantaged youth through mentoring programs providing exposure to entrepreneurs, while also connected them with resources that help them pursue educational opportunities at top universities.