Senior David Sunnock has always had a knack for business. At age 11, he found himself making and selling “Dave-O’s Bean Dip” — a simple combination of Velveeta, refried beans, seasoned salt and red chili pepper.
“I made the bean dip for my family one time and they loved it,” David said. “They took it to Super Bowl parties and other gatherings, and eventually we started putting it into deli containers to sell. I sold so much of it. My dad and I designed a logo and we even had business cards and T-shirts made. The business blew up.
“My mom also played a huge role with starting my first business. As large orders starting rolling in, she even helped me make the dip. Her contributions and willingness to jump in made the business all that more successful.”
At age 12, the business marketing major dipped his toes into graphic design. Using Microsoft Paint, he designed band T-shirts for his brother. Two years later, he started using Photoshop and accepted a graphic design internship at a local church. From there, he’s grown his skill set and has continued to take on design projects, focusing most specifically on branding design.
As a social media and digital strategist at BluFish Consulting, a marketing agency located in Marshall, Michigan, David continues to pursue his career goals. David currently works part time at Blufish and will begin work full time after graduation. His role is to track national ad campaigns and analyze how to advertise and gain customers.
Professors and Cheerleaders
David attributes his business success in part to Mike Oyster, chair of the Business Administration Department and assistant professor of business administration, and Michael Weglarz, assistant professor of insurance and risk management.
“I feel more encouraged and prepared for the real world,” David said. “I had low self-esteem when I came to Olivet, especially when it came to my graphic design. Professor Weglarz and Professor Oyster told me that I knew what I was talking about. They’re really encouraging and tell me I’m good at what I do. They’ve taught me to be a confident person without being prideful — the importance of humble confidence. I really feel like a rock star when I talk to them. They’re my biggest cheerleaders. Whenever I need something, I go to them.”
Both Professor Weglarz and Professor Oyster have also helped David develop the spirit of perseverance and determination. Their advice has made a big impact on David’s professional life.
“No matter what your job is, you’re going to realize that you’re going to fail at something eventually,” David said. “You’re going to send out a thousand resumes. You have to keep applying to other jobs if you get rejected. Don’t take the path of least resistance. Be okay that you didn’t get the job. That’s one of the best things I’ve learned. It’s okay; everyone messes up. You have to be humble and work hard.”
Building “Cool Cities”
Olivet wasn’t always in the cards for David. After trying community college and then a larger university, he struggled to find his fit. It was his wife who brought him to Olivet.
“My father-in-law works here,” David said. “When my wife first introduced me to Olivet, I noticed the small classrooms, and I appreciated those. I love being able to talk to professors and talk in class. I loved the small campus, and I think that’s one of the reasons I came to Olivet. Professor Weglarz was the reason I kept going to college. He made marketing fun and exciting.”
David hopes to take the lessons he’s learned from Olivet and his professors and apply them to his future.
“What I really want to do is help rebuild Battle Creek and Marshall,” he said. “I want to make these cities cool. I wanted to go back to college to learn how to help people build businesses. I wanted to be able to teach people how to run their own businesses and just help everyone raise the economic status of each of these cities. I might start my own business eventually, but I’m taking it one step at a time. I’d rather build up my own city than go to a cool city. There are so many cool people here.”
Perhaps the most important lesson David’s learned over the past four years is to branch out.
“You learn so many skills outside the classroom and you just get to build relationships that prepare you for the real world,” he said. “You build connections. The amount of connections Professor Oyster has brought into class is just amazing.
“I remember saying that I wasn’t going to wear headphones,” David said. “I’m going to say ‘hi’ to people and compliment them as much as I could. I wanted to spend time talking to people instead of being on my phone. When you do that, it really cheers you up.”
To learn more about The University of Olivet, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.