OEN NewsMeet Dave Sullivan | Perkins & Co

We’re pleased to introduce Dave Sullivan from Perkins & Co as this week’s Sponsor Spotlight. 


What’s the role that you and your firm play in the entrepreneurial community?
Perkins was founded by five young entrepreneurs in their 30s that I used to call the “young lions’ because of their drive. Their mission was to be an alternative to the Big 8 (at that time) accounting firms, and their focus was serving the closely-held, privately-owned businesses, not the big national companies. They wanted to provide the depth and focus of services that a big firm could provide to a large company and do that for smaller companies, and they did it. They also wanted to be a legacy firm and carry on to the next generation and to be heavily involved in the community in which we work and serve.

I got involved with OEN even before I joined Perkins because of my work at the Oregon Graduate Institute working with the technology industry and a lot of the startups that spun out of that. I have a passion for the entrepreneurial community and people who are driven to follow their dreams and to make a difference – there’s an energy in that. It’s fueled me, and it’s fueled our firm. I’ve seen OEN grow and emerge, and I’m really proud of what it does and what Perkins does.

What are your most common recommendations to first-time entrepreneurs?
First is building a great team. When we look at startups, we look at their management team and learn their story and background. We weigh that heavily in our judgment because when we start working with a young startup, they don’t have a lot of money, there are great anxieties, and it’s chaos in many ways, and so we believe it’s critical to establish a really strong foundation. That starts with their team, and we also believe strongly that they need a very strong professional service team around them.

Secondly, keep believing in your mission and what you’re doing, and just know it’s going to be a ton of work. You can’t prepare anyone for it. You just have to dive in and go for it.

Why do you think OEN has an important role to play in this entrepreneurial community?
It’s huge. To continue to be an advocate and voice and storyteller for entrepreneurs, to coalesce and bring the right people together, and to be the hub or the network or connector to the entrepreneurial community. There’s lots of alphabet soup, and we have to continue to learn how to work together, but as long as everyone knows their place and their strength, then play to those. OEN has continued to evolve and do that.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
One is that I’m generally a pretty low-key individual, but when I’m in the kitchen cooking, I become a bit of a tyrant. I can’t be distracted, so don’t talk to me while I’m cooking and, ideally, get out of the kitchen.

The other one is that my wife (Sally) and I traveled to Bali about 4 or 5 years ago, and we did the Seven Temple Hike where you hike a couple thousand feet to seven different temples — a very spiritual, ethereal, holy place. As we came down in the fog, we were the only ones coming down this steep path, and a white monkey appeared. I snapped two quick photos and thought, “Oh that’s cool, there’s a monkey right in front of us,” and our guide went ballistic and started screaming, “White monkey! White monkey! You don’t understand. The white monkey is mythical, and when it appears to people, it means that you are pure of heart and childlike.” It’s really rare for them to appear, and I read up about it and learned that the white monkey is this heroic figure that, when bad things happen or when creatures or monsters appear, saves villages and particularly children.

So you’re pure of heart and have a childlike spirit?
Well, I think that is true. Most people will tell you that yeah he’s naive and pure and he’s never going to grow up, so I guess I’ll own that!

Learn more about Perkins & Co at https://perkinsaccounting.com/

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