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Alumni Spotlight: Devin Eldridge '15
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Member Spotlight: Devin Eldridge '15

 

Devin was lured to the Thunderbird mystique after serving as a missionary for two years in Santiago, Chile. “I was young in my career and started in public accounting. I loved the skills I was gaining, but knew I didn’t want to do that my whole life and wanted to involve my international experience.” Devin started the Thunderbird GMBA program while working in the tax sector as a licensed CPA. After wanting to be more involved in company operations he made a switch to be an accountant at Otter Products, LLC (OtterBox) the billion-dollar leader in the cell phone case market. The company encouraged creativity and was a big lure for Devin as he got to work on tax and operational projects resulting in millions of dollars in cost savings applying learnings from the classes at Thunderbird before graduating in 2015. “OtterBox was huge for me. It taught me that I can do a lot of different things outside of accounting and I really enjoyed the variety of work. They really encouraged creativity at every level”. 

Devin always thought he may start his own business someday, but felt that he needed “much more experience”. When an idea came after a terrible storage experience to have people share their extra space and create a marketplace to help people do just that he didn’t know if was the one for the job. Devin’s company Stow It matches people with extra land, garages, and outbuildings with those that need it for vehicle storage. They are an “Airbnb for storage” with an initial focus on vehicle storage such as cars, RVs, boats, and trailers. “I realized as I started building the idea, that there was no one better than me to create the company. So often we think that somebody else will make this happen and don’t look to ourselves. Being a T-bird helps you think about a business from so many different perspectives that it is such a natural fit”. Devin turned to his brother who is a software developer to help get the company going. 


Devin started building Stow It while working at OtterBox and finishing his GMBA. “There have been busy times in my life, but that was by far the busiest. My wife and I had our third kid on the way at the time as well as juggling our two young toddlers”. Devin discovered there was never going to be a great time to build the business and started building the product. “There will always be an excuse”, he adds. “You just have to start building something, because there is a lot to learn and change along the way”. As the startup grew, Devin found himself pulled between his job and his company and committed to building his company in Spring 2016, leaving his job at OtterBox. He continues to use his CPA license for consulting on the side while his company grows. “We are growing by over 50% every month including 140% growth in July” in Colorado.” The next step for the company is to raise venture financing and be able to take the company to new markets. 


Devin and his wife Ashley really enjoy spending time with their 3 kids in beautiful Colorado as well as traveling internationally when they can. “We started international travel while our kids were still very young including taking them on trips to Chile and Mexico. We want seeing new places and meeting new people to be a very normal thing for our kids.” They also recently started working on his Ashley’s company that provides custom decorative designs. “We have found it very difficult to contain ourselves to only starting one business now that we started down the entrepreneurial journey”. The next stop for Devin on his travel list is Cuba. He has always held an affinity for Latin American culture and feels like Cuba is a must see. 

 

Devin can be contacted here


Special thanks to Spotlight Editor, Liz Peck '15, Team TIAA Volunteer Leadership, Spotlight Chair

 

 

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