Posted on Mar 29, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News
Many times, members of our alumni network find themselves engaging with one another in a way that promotes personal and professional engagement. Glen Collins, c’98 , wasted no time after leaving KU to start his career as a marketing professional.
Now the marketing director and partner for Switch in Dallas, Collins sees the value of his KU experience weaving into his everyday work. Switch offers strategy, branding and digital assistance for a variety of companies: American Heart Association, Coyote Grills, Country Club Plaza, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Vim + Vigor to name a few.
We caught up with Collins to find out more about how he came to be a partner at Switch.
Tell us a little bit about your experience as a student at KU: things you were involved in, your favorite professor, your favorite traditions.
My experience at KU can be summed up in one word: transformative. The relationships, education, culture, the Midwest, Lawrence, the fraternity, live music and the cult religion that is KU basketball. It ran through my veins, and still does.
Growing up in Dallas, I knew very little about KU. Fortunately, the fraternity I joined, FIJI, on-ramped me quite well. My favorite experiences included directing Rock Chalk Revue, working at a brand new store called Hobbs on Mass Street, enjoying live music at Liberty Hall and The Bottleneck. But it’s all the filler in between that was the greatest—making friends from all over the country, reading the University Daily Kansan before class, and having awesome exchanges with professors and teaching assistants. I loved every minute of it. I had too much fun my sophomore year, and my GPA slipped so much my parents made me come home for a semester to straighten up. It was the best thing for me. I worked to save up enough money to go back, and it made me appreciate just how great it was. I never took KU for granted after that, and while I didn’t make the Dean’s List, my grades were significantly better until I graduated.
How did you meet your business partner, and how did that lead to your company?
I met my business partner, Kimi Dallman, through a friend I met at KU. That friend was Matt Dallman c’01, a great guy who was a few years younger than me in my fraternity. Matt and I originally bumped into one another at a KU Alumni Association watch party, then soon after that at an alumni happy hour. We were catching up on life and business, and he suggested that I connect with his wife, who was in a similar career as mine.
At the time, my company was a marketing consultancy supporting small to medium-sized businesses. Kimi’s company, originally Switch Creative, was a design firm focused on branding and web. A week or two later we all had lunch, and Kimi and I immediately connected and discovered the means to support each other’s businesses. We worked together for six or eight months on a number of successful projects before we started talking about merging our shops. A few months later, we merged and have grown more and more ever since. At the time of our merger, Switch had five total employees. Currently we have sixteen employees and have merged with another interactive development shop, Good Work, to grow our service offering even more.
We have had a blast running Switch, and KU is central to core of our business — both consciously and subconsciously. We’ve hosted multiple March Madness watch parties at the office, with the bell cow being Switch Sixteen (a pre-party/pep rally) that preceded KU’s sweet sixteen game in Dallas in 2013.
How do you stay connected to KU as an alumnus living in Dallas?
Fortunately I have several very close friends that I met at KU that live in the DFW area. The KU bond is real, and we often seek each other out. My best friend married a Jayhawk. One of my other best friends is on the alumni board and is very plugged in to the alumni events (watchers, happy hours, coffees). I attend as much as I can. Honestly, I would have to try to not brush up against KU friends past and present these days. And I like it that way. A lot.
What advice do you have for current KU students and graduates?
Never take it for granted. KU is a special place with a heartbeat all it’s own. It’s authentic and pure, and the relationships you develop there reflect that purity and authenticity.
For existing students: Enjoy all aspects of KU and Lawrence: slugging to class in the cold; the pageantry of game days; Day on the Hill; and the live music of Lawrence. Get a job if you can — I worked in restaurants, as an intramural referee and in a retail store. Those relationships are so meaningful to me as I was transforming from student to graduate and professional.
For graduates: Lean on the KU network. The trust tree is strong, and the reception is always warm and comfortable. Jayhawks look after Jayhawks — they really do. Seek out the community. You’re gonna watch KU hoops somewhere, so you might as well go to a watch party and do the Rock Chalk chant with strangers. Eventually some of those strangers will become relationships that are more than basketball buddies.
Tell us a little bit about the recent Dallas Network breakfast and what alumni can expect when they attend a KU event.
The Dallas Network breakfast is great. It’s very intimate and casual. You can expect to meet Jayhawks from a variety of different places, ages and careers. Often one or two Jayhawks are singled out to share their story, and specifically their business background. It’s a great time on a relational and business networking level. It will invariably lead to spin-off meetings, lunches, etc. Don’t miss it.
— Cole Anneberg