Wisconsin born and raised, Dan Levan is an old soul in a young body. He is described by his colleagues as diverse, well-rounded and cheeky and, in his spare time, can be found perusing the local thrift store for a good deal. He’s passionate about music (especially metal), books or movies with a good plot, and is wise beyond his years.
Aventuron's resident “strong guy” dabbles in writing, builds computers from scratch and enjoys all things tech related. He has big dreams for himself and Aventuron, and his passion for helping other people is paralleled by his thirst for knowledge. There’s not much Dan can’t do!
A little-known fact about Dan is that he has been playing the guitar since he was 8 years old, and his favorite genre is metal!
1. How did you make your way to Aventuron?
It's funny how things work out... sometimes even better than you hoped they would. After I graduated from UW-Oshkosh, I was in a weird place. I had two degrees in political science, which would logically lead a person to the east coast, but I still felt compelled to stay in the midwest. With all my close friends still in college, I snagged a job at a local credit union and very quickly realized that it wasn’t my thing. Going to school again has always been at the back of my mind, but I really didn't want to begin that journey during the whirlwind that was 2020. Kudos to those who did, though.
Anton, Nick and I graduated in the same class. We were also coincidentally quite good friends in high school. I knew that Anton and Nick had left their jobs to come work at Aventuron. I was intrigued, but skeptical about what could be so good about this little bike shop I'd never heard about before. I reached out to them to see if they needed help at the end of last summer, and boy, was I surprised to see what that bike shop on 8th Street truly is.
It’s been a dream and I absolutely love it. Every day is different when there’s so much to do and so much to learn. Spending everyday with your friends at a job that's genuinely fun, "going to work" in the morning doesn't really feel like work at all. And that's not to mention that Carl and Kate are arguably the most chill bosses on the face of the planet as well. They've been confident in me from the start (which is sometimes a concern as a new guy coming aboard, the need to prove yourself can lead some people to shy away from doing or trying things that might be unorthodox), and I am so grateful for their confidence.
This is an incredible opportunity, and I'm fully aware how fortunate I am to be a part of it.
2. There are so many facets to the outdoor industry, what’s your specialty or passion?
I have to be honest - I'm no fisherman. I tried it as a kid, but it never quite landed my interest. Likewise, I used to shoot archery when I was younger, but residual tendonitis from swimming in high school has prevented me from taking a shot at it again. If you need any fly fishing or archery-related expertise, my friend Anton would be ecstatic to help you out!
My outdoor interests lie in hiking, cross-country skiing, biking, competitive shooting, and swimming. I do hunt a little, and have been getting back into it after being preoccupied with finishing my undergrad degree. I've been skiing since I was a kid, and always look forward to those crisp winter days when the conditions are perfect for a ski through the woods. Likewise, I've been swimming competitively for years and have had the opportunity to try out a lot of different gear - let me know if there's anything related to water sports I can help you with!
When it comes to the outdoors, you can never stop learning. One area that has always interested me is cutlery. I'm a big fan of ED, bushcraft, and preparedness in general, but honestly, who doesn't just like a cool looking knife? If you ever have any questions about the blades we have in stock or perhaps have your eye on something different, feel free to reach out to me! I'm always happy to help people find the tool they're looking for!
3. Tell me a little bit about your new role.
I’m a Product Specialist, so my primary focus is on product management and web design. Together, Nick and I shape the website into what you see as a customer. We create product listings from scratch, determine the overall organization and flow of the website, manage inventory, and so much more. We all wear many hats here, so my role isn't limited to just digital work. I also work with brand ambassadors and vendors to maintain current relationships and bring on new brands to add to our lineup.
4. What surprised you the most about coming to work for Aventuron?
Just about everything surprised me. Before starting to work here, I was under the impression Aventuron was just a bike shop. I was very wrong. With only a small crew of about 10 people, we have a nationwide reach. We carry brands at the pinnacle of outdoor recreation gear, such as The North Face and Patagonia, and offer products spanning from high-end grills and cookware to fly fishing rods and premium bicycles.
The vibes here are the best. Everyone knows what has to be done, what their roles are, and how to work together efficiently. Every day is fun and there's no work related stress. We come in everyday ready to get things done and to have a blast while we're doing it, and that's how we roll.
5. If you had to describe for others the thing that makes you different, what would you say?
You can’t teach someone passion. The people that work here don’t just do this stuff as a job. In our free time, we're out doing the things that we sell products for. You can find us on bike trails, in a tent, out on a river, up in a treestand, or happily off the beaten path enjoying all that nature has to offer. These are things we live and love. You can’t replace the kind of connection you get with someone who cares about what they’re doing. No amount of time spent doing or researching something, whether it’s a year or a decade, can bring you the same connection as passion. I think that’s what makes me different.
6. What do you think drives you?
A 2004 Buick Lesabre Limited. It gets a lot of envious looks from the older folks at Piggly Wiggly.
On the real though, I’ve always had high expectations for myself and the things I want to achieve. When I reach a goal, I just set a new one. Being here at Aventuron, there are so many opportunities that you could expand your knowledge for years and still not know it all. There are endless ways to challenge yourself, and that's a beautiful thing to me. There’s no guidebook to what we’re doing here and that’s super exciting.
7. What are some things you’d like to accomplish in the next few years?
When I was in school, I didn’t really make time to try a lot of the things I wanted to, or even the things I normally loved to do. Now, I’m fortunate enough to have the time and opportunity to be refocusing on hobbies like mountain biking and archery. I've always enjoyed learning new things, so I'm excited to push myself to continue expanding my knowledge in the coming years in any way I can.
Not many folks are equally adept at tickling your funny bone and building something from nothing! But DAN CAN! We can’t wait to see what he gets up to next!