A Quick Overview
Ed Van Deman ’69 graduated from Davidson with a BS and mathematics and his sights set on New York City. After working with the Matthews Center (then the Career Development Center), Ed got a job with KPMG in New York, where he met his wife of 48 years and started his career in public accounting. After a few years in New York and a few years in Chicago, working in public and corporate accounting, Ed ended up in Silicon Valley, as the CEO of Financial Navigator, managing high-profile portfolios.
Initially, Financial Navigator struggled, so much so that at one point, Ed realized, “no one, including my wife, thought we were going to succeed. Everyone thought it was a matter of time.” That’s when Ed buckled down. Instead of just targeting clients, Ed focused on getting his product produced and recommended by the Big Eight. Leaning on his liberal arts education, Ed has learned that empathy and understanding others’ motivations are the keys to good business and entrepreneurship.
“The more you understand where people are coming from and their motivations, the more you can forge relationships that are mutually beneficial to all the parties.”
Soon, Financial Navigator’s business was booming, so much so, that a company out of Mumbai, India acquired it, allowing Ed to make his return to Davidson College. Just when Ed was selling Financial Navigator, Jay Hurt began his venture of establishing a center for innovation and entrepreneurship on Davidson’s campus. Ed has jumped at the opportunity to reconnect with his alma mater and is heavily involved in the Hurt Hub’s community, serving on its advisory board, hiring students through the Gig-Hub program, and acting as a strategic advisor in many capacities.
A testament to Ed’s business procedures and leadership, after a couple of years with the new owners, many clients and employees asked Ed to return to Financial Navigator. Ed re-acquired Financial Navigator, now Forest Systems, and is currently running the business he first started. More recently, Ed has generously donated $100,000 to fund the Van Deman Innovation Lab, a brand new exciting venture in the Hurt Hub’s world.