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KEDCO Talent & Entrepreneurship Stories: An entrepreneur’s journey from Chicago to Warsaw

Friday, April 29, 2022

By: Katie Dewitt, KEDCO Marketing & Communications Manager

Kosciusko County isn’t a new place for local resident, Dan Davin. He vacationed to his lake home on Webster Lake from Chicago for 15 years before he made the plunge last year to plant permanent roots in Kosciusko County with his home and business.

Dan and his wife Sheila owned and operated an IT company in a suburb outside Chicago for 25 years called MRP. They’d built a successful company, and were entering a season of life where they began talking more seriously about their next chapter, and where they wanted to be once they retired. Dan and Sheila knew it was at their lake home in Kosciusko County.

With that in mind, and in thinking about growth opportunities for the company, Dan approached his friend Allen Brooks of ServIT, a Managed IT Service Provider based in Kennesaw, GA about what it might look like to work together and merge as one company. “I approached Allen and asked what he thought about MRP coming to Warsaw, and bringing as many employees to the area as possible, along with processes and customers,” Dan said.

An enthusiastic Allen responded with, “Let’s try it!”

After a year or so of due diligence, April 1, 2021 was the first day MRP became a ServIT company. MRP – A ServIT Company is located at 117 Enterprise Drive in Warsaw. In addition to Dan and Sheila, four other team members have now relocated from Chicago to Kosciusko County. They’ve also hired more employees at the Warsaw location. “When we arrived in Warsaw, this was a two-person operation, and we now have 14-full time and two part-time employees,” Dan said.

When Dan first shared the news with his team in Chicago, with team members in different chapters of life––some with spouses and children, others with partners living in the area––he knew he’d have some convincing to do, and was fully prepared to highlight all of the bells and whistles of Kosciusko County. He also knew he had an advantage and that his recommendation would hold some weight since he and Sheila were already familiar with the community.

“I immediately showed them a cost of living calculator so they could see the roughly 25% cost of living difference between Chicago and Kosciusko County,” Dan said.

Dan also emphasized the growth opportunities available when becoming a larger company. He touted educational opportunities in the area, the variety of amenities including a unique variety of dining options, and of course fishing and other lake-living offerings with 100+ lakes in the county. Dan and Sheila simply enjoy the laid-back atmosphere in contrast to Chicago living.

When asked about how the team is settling in to their new home in Kosciusko County Dan said, “Every now and then I walk through the warehouse and ask my team, ‘Do you want to thank me now’? And they respond with yes, yes we do.”

Chicago transplant and ServIT/MRP Operations Manager Dennis Oakley said:

When deciding to move to the Warsaw area my wife and I had many concerns. My wife’s elderly mother lives with us and has some health issues, so adequate health care availability was a major concern. We did our best to research the options and felt comfortable with the variety of doctors. We looked at homes in dozens of towns and fell in love with Winona Lake. We found the perfect home there and couldn’t be happier with the area. My wife works from home where we have an office with a large window with a beautiful view. For me, the commute has been the best part as I no longer have a 40-minute drive to the office. Now, I drive for 15 minutes and there is very little traffic.

Life here is much less stressful and everyone we’ve interacted with has been kind and pleasant. The cost of living is much cheaper than Illinois and the quality of life is better. We’re so happy we decided to move here and look forward to being able to retire here.

Pat Dorigan, another ServIT/MRP team member who journeyed from Chicago added, “I’m pleasantly surprised by the variety of cuisine available at restaurants. I was not expecting that. And I found the greatest barber ever­­––John, over at the shop on Argonne––haircuts, and more importantly, great beard trims.”

Dan and Sheila took a risk by moving their home and their business. Allen took a risk by saying, “Why not? Let’s do it.” And Dennis, Pat and their families took a risk by packing up and moving somewhere unfamiliar. But when you live as though life is happening for you not to you you’re more likely to take that risk, make the plunge, and find something even greater. We thank Dan for sharing his story, and we warmly welcome home, all ServIT/MRP team members, and anyone else considering calling Kosciusko County, home.

“These stories from Dan and team members are great examples and testaments to why KEDCO is focusing efforts around building our entrepreneurial community, supporting growth of area businesses, expanding our talent pipeline, and highlighting the tremendous quality of life we have to offer in Kosciusko County,” said Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) CEO Alan Tio.

“KEDCO Entrepreneurship & Talent Stories” is a series of stories from the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation about every-day-incredible people––some with local roots, some who’ve chosen to come here, but all are inspiring others, living life and growing together in K-County.

KEDCO is a resource to help businesses and talent find their way, and make their home here in Kosciusko County. Hear more of Dan’s story by tuning in to Episode 22 of the Clearly Kosciusko podcast, powered by KEDCO. Find more stories and stay connected with KEDCO by following @KosciuskoEDC on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. Are you new to the area? Meet fellow newcomers and residents at KEDCO’s Outside the Fishbowl meetup.

Pictured is Dan (front and center) with his team at the MRP – A ServIT Company Warsaw location.