Applauding Alumni: Brad Dahlhofer, BBA '01, MSB '04

Brad is founder and CEO of B. Nektar Meadery in Ferndale. He was inspired to pursue his brewing hobby by wedding guests who raved about the hand crafted mead he made for his wedding toast. After a couple years of planning, the business opened to the public in 2008. The following year B.Nektar Meadery was declared Best New Business by the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.

Here is my interview with Brad:

What degree(s) did you receive from Walsh?
I got my Bachelors of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems, then went back for a Masters of Science in (what was then called) Business Information Technology.
What was your job title before you started Walsh? and What is your title now?
I don't remember exactly. I was working my whole way through college. I started in computer repair, and ended up heading up new product development for a local dot com startup.
What is your job title now?
CEO, but now I'm in the alcoholic beverage manufacturing industry.
How did Walsh College help/influence you?/Best thing you learned from Walsh College?
I was working, so it was great to be able to have a school that I could attend at night. The professors had day-jobs, too. So they were actually working in the field.
What struggles did you go through during your time as a student? After graduation? How did you get through these struggles?
At one point I was working full time and taking 16 credit hours in a semester. I think I was working or studying nearly 18 hours a day. I loved what I was doing, so I didn't mind. I was a total computer/business nerd.
What have you learned/accomplished along the way to where you are today?
I thought I knew. And now all that I know, is that I DON'T know. The best lesson is when we learn that the lessons never end. Always be learning. By 30, I had already been in the industry (IT) for 12 years, and I hadn't learned that I was just beginning....until I got laid-off.
Where is your field/industry headed?
Well, when I got laid-off I jumped ship from IT and pursued a new business in making mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey. I don't think Walsh has a class for that, yet. :) But I can see how information technology has made it to all levels of my industry. Small businesses that can learn to leverage software solutions can make huge leaps in terms of information, social media, brand image, and on and on.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
I am pretty proud of starting a business on my credit cards, and still being able to buy diapers for our baby boy. Now he and his younger brother are growing up and we don't have to worry about being able to afford diapers anymore. Also, my wife is my business partner, and we still love each other and wouldn't have life any other way. So, what more is there, really? We're now the largest producer BY-FAR of our type of alcohol in the U.S., and I'm told, the world!
Why would you encourage people to attend Walsh College?
Get real. Most people need to get out and work before a college degree is really going to be appreciated. People that don't go out there and get some real life experiences first are doomed to come out of school clueless. Walsh encourages students to come back AFTER they get some dirt under their fingernails. You've got to respect a place like that. I wish I had the time to go back again. I'd be taking classes right now.

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