Where It All Started
Established in 1989, The Dana Company has been helping clients with their insurance needs for over 30 years. This never would have been possible without Dana Ramundt’s courage to start an agency from scratch and on his own.
Hailing from small-town Eldora, Iowa, Dana grew up on a farm that raised over 150,000 turkeys a year, along with 100 head of cattle and a few hogs. Being an only child, Dana had a long to-do list and early on, he was working seven days a week to tackle those farm chores. Upon entering junior high and throughout high school he was involved in football, basketball, track, band, chorus, and was elected the student body president of his high school his senior year.
Dana always wanted to attend The University of Iowa, and he achieved that goal in fall of 1970. Originally thinking he’d ultimately pursue law school, Dana discovered the field of insurance and majored in Risk Management and Insurance in the U of I’s college of business which was one of only several such programs in the country. This path was able to blend Dana’s interest in law with his newly found passion for insurance.
Dana and his wife Pam have three adult children: Ben, Kate, and Betsy, as well as ten grandchildren (soon to be 11). Many weekends, you can find Dana pursuing his favorite hobbies – hunting and fishing or just hanging out at his farm.
Building the Reputation for First Class Service
From the start, Dana believed every client deserved the best we had to offer, regardless of account size, and that was a founding principle of his business. Everyone was to receive the same dedication and attention to their insurance related business which is still a core value for The Dana Company – customer focus is a top priority. Dana was always proud to declare “We are large enough to handle all your insurance needs but small enough to REALLY care.” Being a small business itself also gives The Dana Company the opportunity to be involved in the community on a more intimate basis and have a relationship with clients that many other agencies don’t provide.
To see a timeline in more detail, check out Our Story on The Dana Company website.
In 2014, Dana was chosen as the inaugural Tippie College of Business “Alumnus of the Year.” In 2015 he received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the University of Iowa’s highest honor. However, he is most proud of having been inducted into the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame in 2016 (without an asterisk behind his name), having been nominated and selected by his peers in the Industry. Dana’s hard work in addition to countless awards and recognitions has given him a lasting legacy. Today, The Dana Company is a thriving business that will only continue to grow.
According to Dana, his mother, Frances, had “the unique ability to be his toughest critic, and yet his greatest advocate.” Frances was someone who pushed him to get out of his comfort zone which made him believe he truly could do anything he wanted.
Dana also credits his high school football coach, Bob Thurness, with further instilling a higher level of work ethic combined with mental toughness and an attitude of “Never Give Up. Failure is not an option.” For example, Coach Thurness taught him the difference between “pain” and “injury”, which is essentially a frame of mind. This provided Dana the ability to look past the challenges that came with opening his own business, because no matter the obstacles he faced, he never gave up.
Finally, Dr. Emmett Vaughan, the University of Iowa professor who founded the Insurance and Risk Management program, as well as friend, mentor, and teacher outside of the classroom, introduced Dana to a field that he was able to turn into a legacy. Dana said “I’m the luckiest guy you’ll ever meet because even if I had known what I was doing when I became an insurance major, I couldn’t have found a better career for me than the insurance business.” Dr. Vaughan’s remarkable reputation throughout the Country created opportunities for Dana that few would have experienced. Dr. Vaughan passed away in 2004, and Dana was instrumental in convincing the University to name the newly formed Insurance program “The Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance.” at University of Iowa in Dr. Vaughan’s honor.
3 Things to Know before Pursuing Entrepreneurship
- Never confuse luck with skill!
- When creating a budget, reduce your income by 25% and increase your expenses by 25%.
- It is a huge commitment! Be prepared to work seven days a week and 12-15 hours a day, until it works by itself.
Dana has now passed the role and responsibility of President & CEO of The Dana Company to Cory Holland, who plans to expand on and continue the legacy of being a trusted insurance provider for years to come.