Owl Have You Know

Human Moments Are Not Always Pretty feat. Dan Purvis ‘05

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Episode notes

Dan Purvis says his passion for working for himself started in junior high when he began selling pieces of gum to classmates. Six companies later, it is safe to say Dan is a certified serial entrepreneur. 

Dan graduated with honors in electrical engineering and an undergraduate fellowship from Texas A&M and was a Jones Scholar at Rice Business, where he earned an EMBA in 2005. His career began at National Instruments in the upper Midwest. After returning to his hometown Houston, he began building a division for his new employer.  After his third successful sale, he co-founded Velentium in 2012, which took over as his full-time job. 

Velentium is a professional engineering firm specializing in end-to-end support for designing and producing therapeutic and diagnostic active medical devices, intelligent products, and automated test systems for the medical, energy, and manufacturing industries. And in 2020, Velentium faced an unprecedented ask: partner with a small medical device company and a very large vehicle manufacturer to increase emergency ventilator production from hundreds per month to thousands per week—in just 28 days.

Dan shares with host Scott Gale ‘19 the risks he took early in his career to get him to the level of success he is at now, the importance of “work/life fit” and the incredible story of how Velentium became a major player in ventilator production in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about Rice Business’ #1 entrepreneurship ranking four years in a row in Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Episode Quotes:

At the end of the day we are all just humans

30:11 - In competitive environments, somebody wins the bid, and somebody loses the bid. But then, when we get back to our humanity, we are all equal. We share this ball we live on. Right? And so, remembering to be empathetic, remembering to celebrate life events, remembering to look people in the eyes and remember things about them, remembering to be human, and not allowing even the busyness of a pandemic response, the ventilator project, to get in the way of that, I believe is really important.

Getting people involved in volunteering

03:34 - If you're thinking about going to Rice or just on your way towards graduation, you're going to have many moments in your career where you have the opportunity to step in, raise your hand, volunteer, and say, "That's me."

The origin story of Velentium

16:22 - The origin story of Velentium was not about running from something; it was about pursuing something. I had a dream of something greater, just something great. And so the idea that I could be at the helm of a culture-forward, family-first, unbelievably fast, highly technical organization. That was my dream.

On having valuable connections at Rice

09:33 - There's just an esprit de corps. There's a level of excellence. There's a level of connection within this town to the extent that you want to be a Houston business person. If you have a Rice MBA, you are connected to a very elite group of people that you can call colleagues and classmates. Certainly, fellow alum. And so, there's just a camaraderie at Rice that I enjoyed. But, deeper than that, there was a connection with the people of Rice that was really valuable for me.

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