My Office: Trying to keep things in perspective

Before he leaves each night, Rick Dennen tries to straighten up his desk. He creates piles for what needs to be done the next day and what can be done later.

“I don’t like clutter, at home or at work,” said Dennen, the president, chief executive officer and president of Oak Street Funding.

He founded the company in 2003 after working in the venture capital industry.

Dennen often spreads his work on his floor to keep his desk relatively clean.

Currently on his floor is a chart for creating shareholder value, a gift to him from some of the partners at Deloitte, where he formerly worked as a certified public accountant.

“It reminds me of things we could be doing around here or what we should be doing. I use it to generate ideas for growth,” he said.

On a bookshelf, Dennen keeps a copy of his original business plan.

While business is a big part of his life, he stresses family is the most important aspect in life.

“I’ve learned that not everything is about numbers. When you die, the number of hours you worked won’t be carved into your tombstone, but your family will be standing around,” he said.

Why did you pursue accounting?

Dad was a CPA in South Bend. When I was in high school, I took accounting and decided on that major right when I went into college. I had a great respect for my dad and what he’s accomplished in life. Math was always a strength for me.

Why did you leave public accounting?

I was getting to a point where to make partner you are going to have to move. The industry was changing a lot at the time. My kids were young, and I wanted to spend more time with them.

What is Oak Street Funding?

Oak Street provides commission-based loans to help insuranceagents and brokers grow their business.

It was a niche industry that matched with the experience I had in public accounting in securitization consulting. We look at an agent’s future cash flow with the policies he has now and secure it with a loan.

How do you set examples of maintaining a work-life balance?

Technology allows you to stay in touch at any time. I encourage my employees to be involved in their families and cultural organizations.

 

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