"I never thought that I would end up being the owner of a construction company. It just blows my mind when I sit and think about it! Thank you, HCC!"

— Dana Swenson

I enrolled at HCC in 2018 at the age of 37, but I had previously attended Polk State College in 2008. I will be graduating this fall with an A.S. degree in business administration and entrepreneurship. I have already earned a certificate in business development and entrepreneurship, business management, business specialist, accounting technology specialist, and business operations!

There were many hurdles for me finishing school. I dropped out of high school in 11th grade, getting my GED that same year. I have worked, and always wanted to finish school, but didn't even know what career path I could see myself doing. I had a job that enabled me to provide for myself and my children, but was growing very tired of it. I have two kids, Katelyn and Cayne. Working full time and taking care of them as a single parent, didn't really leave me the time or energy for school. It wasn't until I met my husband Doug five years ago, that I could finish. My children were older, and I had someone to help me provide. I chose HCC because it was an easy transfer from Polk State, and they had a particular certificate program that I was interested in.

When I met my husband, he was in construction and working for other people. He has the knowledge and skills to have his own business, and we both shared a dream of one day owning our own business. We agreed that if I would finish school, and learn how to manage the company, that we could go into business for ourselves. So that's what I did! It isn't easy being a woman in the construction industry, but I enjoy the challenge.

Enrolling in the entrepreneurship program at HCC introduced me to Professors Beth Kerly, and Andy Gold. I already knew that we were going to be starting our own business, but had no idea how or where to even begin. They both guided me and provided the basic skills to get our company off the ground. Through that program, we were awarded a zero interest loan in the amount of $25,000, which enabled us to purchase the initial equipment that we needed to be successful in our industry. With their continued support and mentorship, we are on track to have a gross revenue of almost half a million dollars since we started our business, just 2 years ago!

Being a student at HCC has definitely changed not only my life, but my family's lives as well. It showed my children that it's never too late to achieve your goals. I have grown so much since I started at HCC, and I can't express how much gratitude I have towards the school and the professors.