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Andrew Kessler, 25
Co-owner, Discount Dave’s
What did you do in college? Study? Sure. Party? Probably. Start a flooring company? Probably not. But Andrew Kessler did.
As a freshman studying accounting at Drury University, Andrew Kessler worked in flooring sales for a local closeout company. That year, the business closed, and Andrew and his father (the “Dave” in Discount Dave’s) purchased the equipment and inventory. Of course, Andrew says, 2008 wasn’t the best time to go into the flooring business, dependent as it is on construction. But by being a low-cost option and working lean and mean, the duo made Discount Dave’s a success.
The company now has two locations (Springfield and Mountain Grove) that employ more than a dozen people, plus six or seven installation crews. As the day-to-day operations manager for the business, Andrew keeps an eye on design trends and new technology in the industry, like brand-new, water-repellant “smart strand” fiber carpeting, a relatively new offering for Discount Dave’s.
Andrew and his business donate time and materials for Habitat for Humanity, Freedom’s Rest Crisis Center and Shanty Alms. He has also joined with the North Springfield Betterment Association to raise funds for the NSBA’s school attendance program through a silent auction and motorcycle ride.
Job title and where you work: Co-Owner Discount Dave’s
Education: Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Drury University, majoring in Accounting
City or town where you live: Springfield
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
I started selling flooring at 15 for a local closeout company. During my freshman year at Drury they were closing. My Dad and I decided to seize the opportunity and purchase the company as a way to build myself and to learn how to manage my own business. We opened Discount Dave’s within a couple months, and it’s been a great challenge ever since.
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
I love doing what I do because every day is a different challenge. There is never a day that I don’t face something different than what I dealt with the day before. One day I will be on the phone all day making sales calls and then the next I could be in the warehouse unloading trucks. It can be extremely taxing, but at the end of it all it is rewarding.
3. Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
Technically unmarried, but I have a really great gal that has been standing by my side through all the craziness of the business. I also have two dogs, Sampson and Bella.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
Currently I’ve got a Jeep that I like to take off-roading, especially at SMORR (Southern Missouri Offroad Ranch). It gives an opportunity to get out in the woods, and I’ve always loved trucks. Something always breaks, though, and I spend the next month afterward trying to fix it.
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
Directly no, but through the store we’ve been able to partner with Habitat for Humanity and recently Shanty Alms and Freedom’s Rest Crisis Center. I enjoy being able to help organizations which are in need of products or services we provide, it’s a great way to utilize the business for good causes.
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
7. How would you define the secret to success?
I don’t feel that I have made it there yet, but I was raised to work hard, and that is what has gotten me to point I am at.
8. What's your favorite thing about your career?
I really enjoy helping our customers find the perfect product to create the look they want for their home. Every person is different, and so are their homes, so every customer is completely unique. Each one is like a different puzzle to try and figure out what will work best given the situation.
9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
It has to be that the Springfield area has become fairly large but still hasn’t lost the feel of a smaller town. There is a strong sense of community here and everyone can connect in some way.
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Get it together already. There’s too much else going on to waste time.
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Ninja Turtle… or Batman.
12. List three traits that define a successful career:
Strong work ethic, discipline and vision; a person has got to have a goal and in order to reach it you must have a good work ethic as well as the discipline to see it through.
13. Why are you a 20 Under 30?
I like to think it’s because of the amount of hard work I’ve put in up to this point, as well as all of the great opportunities I’ve had.
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
Honestly this is just going to be a great year for us, we’ve added some great new product lines, and we have an awesome team. There’s really nothing we are currently working on that I’m not excited about.
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
One project in particular doesn’t stand out, but we’ve provided and installed some amazing floors.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
Friends and family make life worth living.
A day at work wouldn't be complete without Yelling at Red (inside joke)
Ten years from now, I hope I'm continuing to grow the business.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would build a spaceship.
The best part about being a 20 under 30 is self reflection.