Daniel DeLonge isn’t afraid to take risks.
“My motto has always been work hard, play hard,” he said.
Despite a full load of classes, a full-time job, a wedding to plan, and only 18 years of age, DeLonge still managed to find time to start his own business, TkFast Inc., in October of 2002.
TkFast, technology delivery quickly, is an information-technology-solutions provider that works to integrate current technology into today’s businesses. Now the director of sales and marketing at TkFast, DeLonge has his hands full with sales, accounting, human resources, custodian and being the boss when necessary.
Steven D. Anderson and Jeff Moore, the other two founders of TkFast, were also full-time college students at the time at other local universities.
The three entrepreneurs joined together while working full-time at Best Buy West. DeLonge worked as the sales assistance supervisor, Anderson was the tech supervisor, and Moore was the lead technician.
“We are all Eagle scouts, we loved technology, and we didn’t really appreciate where we were employed,” DeLonge said.
By the summer of DeLonge’s sophomore year, TkFast was doing well enough to allow him to quit his job at Best Buy. His daily schedule was packed tight. With an early start at 6 a.m., he would get ready and attend classes from 8 a.m. to noon. Then after a quick lunch, he would work from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. for TkFast. He didn’t have much time for homework or socializing, but that was the sacrifice he made.
“Looking back, I am sure I missed out on plenty of good college experiences, but there are only 24 hours in a day,” DeLonge said.
Like many students, DeLonge learned that he needed to be able to balance school, social life and work time. Fortunately, his advisors, teachers and places of employment were very flexible with creating a schedule.
Planning for the future in full, DeLonge received his bachelor’s degree in management information systems and a triple minor in business administration, computer science, and marketing. He chose this major as his primary focus because he wanted to learn how to implement technology into the business community and help business succeed in today’s economy, he said. He graduated in 2007.
DeLonge’s road to Friends University started in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he graduated from high school, and – since age 16 – labored away at one of the local Best Buy stores. With not much religious influence and a chaotic family life, he decided it was time to leave. Searching for a non-denominational private college in a city that was growing and had a Best Buy, Friends University fit the ticket.
Having to relocate 800 miles away, feeling accepted at Friends University was encouraging, he said.
“I am a big believer that we are our environment,” DeLonge said. “Friends University provided a perfect environment with all of the necessities to promote growth and ensure success.”
DeLonge has stayed in touch with past instructors and now works with several people who currently attend Friends University. Several internships from the University will result in a full-time position at TkFast after they graduate as well, he said. DeLonge also serves on the Wichita Alumni Advisory Board and looks forward to continuing his experience with the University.
With good educational instruction and promotion of moral character, Friends University helped DeLonge prepare for the future, he said. His career goals include providing beneficial products and services, under-promising and over-delivering, and adapting to the market to ensure growth.
Still thriving today, TkFast has 10 people working in downtown Wichita. Despite the fact that they do no advertising, they have had double-digit growth every consecutive year and now secure more than seven figures in revenue.