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'Famous' Dave speaks of hard work, overcoming the odds

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Photo)
"Famous" Dave Anderson signed copies of his books for a long line of guests, including Ivy Tech Student Jenny Bailey, who said his speech will help to motivate her to work hard and achieve her goals. (Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN)
In the first installment of a speaking series for the Business and Entrepreneurial Services Center of West Central Indiana, "Famous" Dave Anderson addressed a crowd of nearly 200 at Ivy Tech on Tuesday.

"When the school asked me to come share my story, I was very grateful," Anderson said. "As an entrepreneur who has started with nothing and has overcome adversity in my life, I believe that my story can be motivational to other people, especially students."

Anderson, founder of "Famous Dave's BBQ," grew up in west Chicago, the son of two Native Americans.

Growing up poor, he said he had to work hard for his success.

His speech touched on variety of topics, but focused on overcoming odds, working hard and staying positive.

"Today, we are having an accelerated marketplace where things are happening so fast, you have to wonder, 'How am I going to stand out?'" Anderson said. "If you are not learning how to change yourself, this world is going to pass you by."

Anderson was approached by Ann Valentine, chancellor for Ivy Tech, as a prime example of what BES hopes to help instill in students -- leadership and hard work.

"The first person that came to mind was 'Famous' Dave," Valentine said. "We're very honored that he was able to come here and do that."

Valentine first met Anderson five years ago at the White Earth Tribal Reservation. His speech motivated her then, and she believed it could do the same for local students.

It seemed to work for Jenny Bailey, who heard about the presentation from her communications professor and enjoyed it so much she, along with many others, stayed after to buy Anderson's books and get them signed.

Bailey left high school several years ago prior to graduation, but has since started working on her degree. She said hearing success stories like Anderson's have shown her that hard work can pay off.

"We're able to do anything," Bailey said.

Anderson, in his speech, had a similar notion.

"Anybody, from anywhere, can achieve their wildest dreams," he said. "(But) you cannot achieve your dreams without changing the person you are today."

Anderson said it was hard work, and a drive to do what he is passionate about, that has led to him having such a successful restaurant chain with more than 180 locations that employs more than 20,000 people.

"I may not be as smart as the next person, but I'm going to outwork him," he said. "No matter what the challenges ... I wasn't going to give up. I was going to shoulder my share of the problem."

The BES Speaker Series will continue with speeches from Erin Edds, a founder of Hoosier Momma cocktail mixes, Ken Eitel, former owner of Eitel's Florists and BES Center director, and Brandon W. Johnson, best known for his "Leadership from the Heart" training series.

Dates have yet to be announced.

For more information on the BES Center, contact Ken Eitel at 653-7410 Ext. 5031, or keitel@ivytech.edu.

Interested parties can also visit here.



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