Fairfield University Dolan School of Business student by night, actor, entrepreneur and software exec by day
(Posted on April 03, 2012) When Dan Delventhal isn't taking graduate courses at Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business, he's an actor, film producer, eco-minded entrepreneur, and software executive specializing in "BCP in the cloud."
"It's worth noting that my ongoing MBA studies have helped me be more successful in a variety of areas - day job, hobby company, acting hobby, even in basic relations," said Delventhal, of Fairfield, Conn. "I am a big fan of the program."
A recent project in his busy schedule has been "Sensory Perception," a film entirely shot in Connecticut. A science fiction drama, it centers on a recovering drug addict who is trying to get his life back in order while having visions of the future. Delventhal's part in the movie is one of two principal appearances in area made films for him. His MBA studies have also helped inform him in his role as a producer of "Sensory Perception." His other side project, "Aphids," is an independent movie filmed at the former Cedarcrest Hospital in Newington, Connecticut. He plays a doctor in the drama, which is set to come out in the fall. Several years ago, he played knuckleball pitcher Charlie Hough in the ESPN production, "The Bronx is Burning," a drama about the 1977 New York Yankees. Long ago, Delventhal fell in love with acting, so the work has been personally fulfilling.
Most of Delventhal's time is devoted to overseeing global marketing and sales for the Trumbull, Connecticut-based RecoveryPlanner.com, provider of risk, business continuity and incident management software. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to found MowGreen five years ago in order to blend athleticism and environmentalism. Essentially a push mower lawn care service, MowGreen has avoided the equivalent CO2 emissions of cars driving a total of 500,000 miles, or 15,000 pounds of air pollution. That translates to 350 acres of grass being mowed without gas.
Below the Harwinton, Connecticut native talks about how a Marketing course helped him nail an audition, the importance of being a good steward of the Earth, and how Fairfield has helped him in the darndest places.
Q: I heard your Dolan School of Business Marketing education played a part in landing your first significant film role?
A: This is probably the biggest business takeaway lesson I learned at Fairfield and it's how I got my first role at the age of 48 playing Charlie Hough, a 29-year-old knuckleball pitcher in ESPN's "The Bronx is Burning." It's perhaps why I am a Marketing concentration too. The director thought I was too old, but I sold myself with enthusiasm and an action photo of myself. It convinced the project's professional baseball assistant to encourage the director to give me a tryout. Go forth with confidence and enthusiasm, but then deliver! What a difference that makes.
Q: Can you tell me about your film, "Sensory Perception," as far as how you got involved in it and what role you play?
A: "Sensory Perception" is a Screen Actor Guild ultra low budget independent film. After a few years of exploring my acting hobby, a friend I met working on the Steven Spielberg-directed film, "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skulls," shot in New Haven, invited me to audition for "Sensory Perception." I got cast for a principal role, Dr. Velcovich, a scientist in charge of a human cloning project central to the film's plot. It is a feature film with an appearance by Corbin Bernsen, who starred in the TV show "L.A. Law," and is now on "Psych." The movie will be premiering in Connecticut in the summer, and will be entered into film festivals, including the Toronto Film Festival this fall.
Q: Tell me about your studies and experiences at Fairfield and how they informed your acting and producing work on the movie?
A: I have been in the MBA program for five years and it has kept me productive and feeling on top of business issues, especially as a software executive, at RecoveryPlanner.com. While it has inspired me somewhat to become a producer of the film, it was also the quality of the script and team assembled for "Sensory Perception" that drove me to become a producer in addition to principal actor.
The balance of high integrity, community spirit and breadth and depth of business disciplines woven into the fabric of the MBA program have served to buoy my outlook and efforts. My many opportunities to present in the MBA program were like 'performances' in a way and a good preparation for acting.
Q: What has been your favorite Dolan School course?
A: The course, "Finance 500, Shareholder Value/Business Simulation," with Thomas Conine. Although rigorous, it was exciting, non-stop action, and really challenging, fun and rewarding. The atmosphere of mutual respect, with emphasis on broad spectrum interrelated disciplines, social ethics and work ethic make the Fairfield MBA a great leadership program.
Q: What have you gained from the Dolan School's courses for budding entrepreneurs?
A: Each course contributed a couple gems to improvement in my executive and entrepreneurial pursuits. It is hard to find time to develop the businesses, as busy as I am, so when I sit down in any of the MBA classes, I get parallels and kernels that improve my capacity as a leader/business developer. One management class focused on creating strategy, values, and mission. It helped me crystallize MowGreen's mission: "Get the Gas off the Grass, then, Grow More Food, Less Grass." I even made an online commercial for the company as part of a project for "MK 570" concerning creating ads that link to QR codes.
Q: What led you to value the environment?
A: Besides my Dad, an original "anti-litterbug" and conservationist, a lot of the environmentalist in me comes from the Lakota, Sioux heritage and community my late, older brother brought me into. The Lakota mantra is "We are all related," including all life. They respect trees and animals. That is the culture. Offer a prayer to the tree or deer before taking. Waste none of it.
Images: top) Fairfield University MBA student Dan Delventhal acted in and helped produce the upcoming independent film, "Sensory Perception"; middle) MBA student and actor Dan Delventhal was an extra in the George Clooney film, "Leatherheads"; bottom) Delventhal played knuckleball pitcher Charlie Hough in the ESPN production, "The Bronx is Burning," a drama about the 1977 New York Yankees. He's pictured here with 'Willie Randolph and Reggie Jackson' - actors Brian "Doc" Pollard and Daniel Sungata, respectively.
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Vol. 44, No. 247