By the time he graduated high school, industrial engineering senior David Hill already had his foot in the door of the business world. As a sophomore at Oakville Senior High in St. Louis, he and some friends started a web design company that was successful from the start, thanks to Hill’s ability to capitalize on specific customer needs.
“We marketed ourselves via word of mouth and through my employment at CompUSA. I ended up doing numerous wireless network installations for families that were purchasing the technology as it was coming on to the market, and the store hadn’t yet implemented support for that… It was a great niche.”
Hill began his journey after high school as a computer science major at UMR, but, he says, “I quickly realized that I did not want to spend my days at a computer, programming.” Following his interest in business, finance, technology and engineering, Hill decided to pursue a double major in economics/finance and industrial engineering, an emphasis area in UMR’s engineering management department.
While David’s company, Phusion Design, is still around today, his focus has shifted more to his education, which is, he says, preparing him to take his next step as a full-time industrial engineer when he graduates in December.
After he gains some industry experience, Hill plans to pursue other entrepreneurial paths. An avid stock market tracker, Hill continually studies the dynamics of the business world. He plans to pursue an MBA and says he will always be on the lookout for a business venture.
“I always have my ear open for business ideas and opportunities. I will be looking for my next opportunity, whether it is starting my own business, partnering in a business start-up, or just becoming an angel investor (providing capital) for a business.”
While Hill has proven himself a leader in business, he is also a leader among his peers, holding campus leadership roles in Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity; Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow; Engineers Without Borders; Student Council; and the Student Union Board. He is also active in the American Society of Engineering Management and the Institute of Industrial Engineers.
Hill believes being an entrepreneur requires two simple things: an idea and the motivation to see it through.
“I think everyone has the ability to start their own business. I feel a good entrepreneur only needs passion for what he is doing. The financial, business, and other skills can be learned or adopted with effort.”