By Aaron Tooyak
One out of two new businesses fail. APU alumna Dustin English is among the winners of today’s outdoor apparel industry and his success can be threaded back to APU’s educational structures.
Dustin graduated in 2009 with his Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Studies (OS). Now, he is the Director of Product Integrity of the outdoor apparel brand, VOORMI – a lead innovator of technical fabrics based in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Dustin and VOORMI found their niche through a dissatisfaction of the current market offering that created an opportunity to be seized.
“Experience driven education”, is one of APU’s strong suits in the opportunity rich environment of Alaska – both on campus and in the field. His time spent planning, organizing, and executing expeditions combined with his result-oriented work ethic of “getting out what you put in” has allowed VOORMI to flourish. He attributes his success of implementing these skills in business to his time spent at APU.
His experience as an OS student “developed and encouraged a leadership mentality”. While still enrolled as a student, Dustin became a guide for the Alaska Mountaineering School (AMS). There he had the chance to climb Denali and test VOORMI technologies and prototypes on eight separate occasions, summiting the mountain twice.
Brian Skean, 2009 OS graduate, was also a part of this educational adventure and is now head of Retail and Logistics Operations at the new startup. Brian commends APU’s “constant diligence and attention to detail” that has carried its way into his day to day achievements with clients and customers.
These alumni tried and tested their knowledge to build a product and brand. Their work has been featured in Entrepreneur, Outside, and Wired to name a few. Dustin and Brian are examples of students who have successfully turned their passion for the outdoors into the professional, entrepreneurial world.