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Delt Years Lay Foundation for a Successful Career

There’s no doubt that Dave Gibbons ’77 has been successful in his career—and he, in turn, has no doubt about the tremendous impact his Miami and Delta Tau Delta years had on that success.

There are certain things you learn from fraternity life, like how to get along with people who have different backgrounds and viewpoints.

Those interpersonal skills have served Dave well in his sales and marketing career.

“At any company, you’re dealing with people who may not think ​like you, but you have to find common ground,” he says. “I learned that from the fraternity environment.”

Dave spent the first 14 years of his career at Wilson Sporting Goods, moving from ​U.S. ​Sales​ roles​ to ​global ​marketing ​positions ​and finally ​into a general management capacity running Latin America and Asia Pacific.

“I had zero personal or professional experience outside of the U.S. ​prior to ​moving into the International division at Wilson,” Dave admits. “Now, I’ve been to 32 different countries and have had the opportunity to meet people around the world. We, as Americans, can be fairly myopic in our views, but there are many more perspectives out there and other ways ​of doing things. My global experience has been very enriching personally and professionally.”

But aside from the career skills, Dave also gained a solid group of friends he can still count on.

“When you share the fraternity experience, you gain a group of friends who are there to help you and with whom you always have something in common,” he says. “When you go through something,​especially at that college age, that’s a real bond you always have.”

In fact, Dave attended the centennial event this past fall and was thrilled to catch up with his brothers—even some he hadn’t seen since college. The centennial also marked the 40th anniversary of the year Dave and his wife met at the Delt house.

“She was a DZ ​and we had a party at the house,” he says. “I had not met her previously, and I saw her and knew I had to get to know her. We met right there in the tube room.”

Today, Dave tries to attend some Delt social events in Chicago.

“And there’s always a chance to reconnect when Northwestern plays Miami,” he says.

In addition, when he’s back in his hometown of ​Cleveland, he often plays golf with brothers.

But perhaps his most meaningful recent connection with an alum was just last year.

“Last year, my mother passed away,” Dave explains. “One of my brothers, who is currently a minister, and his wife had gotten word. They live in the Cleveland area, so they showed up at the funeral. It was really nice—it was symbolic of our longtime friendship.”

That memory will stick with Dave, along with so many others from his Delt years.

Today, he’s pretty busy as the VP of Strategic Business Development for The Swanson Group, helping consumer product companies find success.

​In addition to spending time with his two kids in Chicago, he’s also experiencing the newfound joy of being a grandparent. He and his wife occasionally make it out to Portland, Oregon where his son (Jim) and his wife (Katie) and their baby (Ollie) reside.

Want to get in touch with him? You can reach him at gibbonsdave1 at gmail.com.

  • Dave with his basketball teammates (1973-74)
  • Centennial event in Fall 2016
  • Dave's undergrad days
  • Centennial event in Fall 2016