Entrepreneurs are the engine that drives economic and societal progress.  They create and take ownership of the ideas, ventures, and enterprises that produce employment opportunities and create wealth.  From virtual obscurity, they frequently rise to become household names and brands unto themselves – names like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, and Russell Simmons.

Successful entrepreneurs are a highly diverse group.  While some entrepreneurs are born into affluence, many are not.  While some are highly educated, others have little or no formal education.  Their one common trait is an abject refusal to accept failure.  Armed with little more than vision and sheer determination to succeed, these uncommon individuals learn to adapt and overcome obstacles that would derail the efforts of the less motivated.

Successful entrepreneurs rarely focus on one product or industry.  Building upon the lessons learned in early successes, they habitually apply their expertise in innovation, problem solving, marketing, and management to new ventures in industries in which their levels of knowledge may be marginal or nonexistent.  Russell Simmons enterprises grew from music to fashion to movie and television production to publishing and advertising.  Beginning in the music industry, Richard Branson’s “Virgin” brand now encompasses airlines, publishing, financial services, gaming, fitness clubs, and other interests.  Donald Trump parlayed his expertise in real estate development into successes in casino gambling and television.  Bill Gates revolutionized PC computing with his introduction of the “Windows” operating system and has branched into other areas of information technology.  And, Warren Buffett pioneered Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate holding company with business interests across the commercial and industrial spectrum.

Into the mix of successful entrepreneurs, one can now add a newcomer – Dean Washington.  Following completion of his formal education, Dean embarked upon a career in law – a career that has culminated in accountability as Managing Partner over the last ten years for a firm specializing in family and personal injury law.

More entrepreneur than legal practitioner, Dean has always yearned for more than the routine practice of law.  In 1998, during his legal career but before ascending to Managing Partner status, he opened, staffed, and managed an upscale salon – Celebrities Unisex Hair Salon – catering to the growing population of professional athletes and entertainers making the metropolitan New York area their home.  With growing revenues, an impressive bottom line, and plans for further expansion, Dean received and accepted an offer to sell the salon to a well-known National Basketball Association (NBA) player in 2002.

Gaining Managing Partnership status in the interim, Dean returned his focus to the operation of the law firm for the next half-decade while concurrently researching entrepreneurial opportunities.  In 2007, an opportunity availed itself, and Dean purchased a Rita’s Water Ice franchise, a business that he still owns.

In 2009, seeking opportunities to leverage his contract negotiating skills and network of global contacts built over a 20-year career in the legal profession, Dean entered the physical commodities business to broker transfers for commodities including Saudi Arabian and Eastern European Crude Oil, Kerosene/Jet Fuel, Diesel Fuel, Scrap Steel, Copper Cathodes, Gold Bullion and Dust, Corrugated Cardboard, Coffee, Cement, Sugar, Rough and Cut Diamonds, Iron Ore, Rice, Soybeans, and other commodities.

Late 2009 and early 2010 found the proposed New Jersey-Manhattan Commuter-Rail Tunnel Project as major news and a potential source of revenue for various trades and contractors in the Metropolitan New York area.  Seizing the opportunity, Dean partnered with a minority-owned New Jersey enterprise to offer trucking and related services to general contractors involved in the project in conjunction with the State of New Jersey’s initiative to certify Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) for participation in the Project.  Achieving certification for the business, Dean initiated an aggressive marketing program in an effort to secure contractual business relationships with major contractors.  His marketing efforts ceased when Governor Christie aborted the project in late 2010.

2010 also witnessed Dean’s participation in another joint venture, partnering the formation of Hygenics International, LLC to market its unique product, KOllarguard™, to prevent ring-around-the-collar.  Dean’s efforts established strategic marketing plan and direction for product mass merchandising via various web channel, social media, and cable/satellite television infomercial marketing initiatives.

Most recently, Dean has drawn upon his contacts with celebrities and professional athletes cultivated during and since his days as owner of his hair salon to co-venture the establishment of a licensing agency to broker the use of celebrity names in the promotion and branding of various consumer products.