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Running with Opportunities

Posted on 04.01.20 by Caylee Larkin in School of Business

Dan Bonbrake

Dan Bonebrake '92

Founder & President
Depin Inc.
ECORRCRATE
Major: International Business
Keizer, OR

Tell us more about your job: What do you do and what do you like about it?

I manufacture our patented ECORRCRATE, which is a corrugated crate that replaces the standard wood crate.  I love building a company from the ground up with great employees that are committed to the future with a product that is environmentally friendly and an improvement over the industry standards.  We are underestimated at every turn and now benefiting from all the hard work and long hours.  I have a few employees that have been there almost the whole time and its great seeing their growth along with the companies.

Tell us about yourself: How did you get to where you are? What should we know about you that is not on your LinkedIn profile?

 It's all about hard work and drive.  I failed and succeeded at different levels throughout my life.  I learned way more from failure than success.  I am an entrepreneur, and let my life lead me where it may.  I didn’t sit down one day and say, “I want to build crates!”  An opportunity presented itself and I ran with it.  It could have been almost anything.  I hated failure in the beginning but quickly learned that it is the absolute best learning experience.  You can either say, I failed and I’m done or you get back up, learn from your mistake and try again.  I definitely spent much of my early business life “getting back up”.

I have many hobbies, mostly relating to the outdoors.  At one point in my life I played professional paintball and traveled the US and even Europe to play.  That was a long time ago (just after I graduated from Linfield actually).  Now I enjoy fishing and hiking, especially in the high lakes of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.  I also enjoy photography even though I get very little time to do it.

I have many great memories from Linfield!  Some of the more memorable ones probably wouldn’t be my favorite.  Like the time we were playing catch with a football in Campbell Hall and I knocked a sprinkler head off!  We were on the 3rd floor and so when the hallway became flooded, it started to leak down to the 2nd floor and flood it, and then to the 1st floor, and then to the basement.  It was a weekend and the RA on duty was not answering their phone so we couldn’t get a hold of anyone to find out where to turn the water off.  In our young wisdom, we thought by taking the fire hose and shooting it out the window, it would release the pressure from the sprinklers and not flood as fast.  So we did.  It didn’t work, but oh what a sight for people walking by! 

I also took a Winter term course to study in the Middle East, but the Gulf War was about to break out so it got switched to Modern Chinese History and we went to China.  Absolutely amazing!

How did Linfield help prepare you for your career?

Linfield gave me a personal relationship with my professors.  Most all of them knew my name.  I regularly spoke with some of my professors after class on areas that I struggled, or just conversations on current events or related studies.  It is a lot easier to retain information or learn the concepts when you can ask personal one on one questions with your professor.

What advice would you give to a current student?

The single best advice I can give anyone is not to be afraid of failure.  You shouldn’t like it, and it should hurt, but learn from it and make yourself better.  What impresses me most is not solely someone’s success but rather someone’s success after they failed.  Did they run into adversity and get back up.  Did they learn from it.  Did they then succeed.  That tells me way more about them than just success.  The sooner that you can accept failure as integral piece in becoming better, the quicker your path to success.