Richard Dennen Takes Ideas Learned from IU into His Profession

During his time as an Indiana Hoosiers swimmer in the early 1980s, Richard Dennen was very much in a solitary environment — just himself and the water. There was no denying his success after being team captain and placing 3rd at the Big Ten Championships. He has been able to take this, as well as his sense of hard work, into his profession: President, CEO, and founder of Oak Street Funding in Indianapolis. 

The 2014 Z.G. Clevenger Award winner says that he didn’t develop a passion for his work until he began working for himself. 

“It is much more satisfying to me,” says Dennen. “You get the return for your efforts; it’s not lost on someone else.”

Dennen also believes the work ethic of his teammates and himself on the pool deck were able to translate into the workplace. Being a high-achieving Big Ten swimmer, Dennen viewed his academics as equally important to his athletic career, keeping a GPA above 3.0 throughout college. This was no easy feat, which required hard work every day.

Several swimmers have mentored me and vice versa over the past 30 years. The work ethic and drive that these people had rubbed off on me and made me a better person,” says Dennen, who believes his time serving as a team leader and captain have absolutely improved his company and business career as a whole. Learning how to deal with difficult people and making teams work effectively have both been a direct result of his time as Indiana Swimming captain.