Addison’s own Don Daseke is one of North Texas’s most successful entrepreneurs and is the founder, president, CEO, and chairman of Daseke, Inc. Daseke has a strong relationship with the Town of Addison, having served on the Board of Planning and Zoning Commission, mayor pro tempore of the Addison City Council, and as president and chairman of Addison’s WaterTower Theatre. He and his wife Barbara often donate time and financial support to causes in Addison and the greater Dallas area. These include over $20 million in scholarships, as well as donating to local museums and performing arts centers.
Daseke’s story begins in Indiana, where he grew up in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Because his family struggled financially, Daseke learned the value of hard work at an early age. At just nine years old, he started his first job – delivering newspapers. Later, he worked long hours running his very own ice cream stand while going to school at the same time. He received scholarships to go to DePauw University in Indiana and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. These scholarships helped him jumpstart his career and made him understand the benefits of giving back to others, as he experienced it firsthand.
After graduation, Daseke started his own real estate investment business, which had many challenges including the investment property being struck by a tornado and then two floods. He weathered the storms (literally and figuratively) and continued building his business. Walden Residential Properties was eventually taken public in 1994 and sold for $1.7 billion in 2000. Later, he became interested in many other industries and found success in telecommunications, technology, real estate, and trucking. In 2008, he started Daseke, Inc., which became public in February 2017.
Today, his namesake firm, Daseke, Inc., is the largest owner of flatbed, open-deck, and specialized trucking capacity in North America. Founded in 2008, Daseke, Inc. has increased revenue from $30 million in 2009 to nearly $1.6 billion in 2021.
According to Dallas Morning News, Daseke Inc. will buy back its namesake founder’s shares in the specialty trucking company in a deal valued at $107.6 million.
Don R. Daseke, 83, also will resign from the company’s board of directors to focus on estate planning and philanthropy, according to the company. He retired as its chairman and CEO in 2019.
Daseke, who founded the company in 2008 and grew it through a series of acquisitions, owns nearly 18 million shares representing a 28.6% stake. The company will buy back his shares at $6.
“Mr. Daseke built the foundation of something truly special in Daseke, and we are thankful for his vision and his many years of service,” said board chairman Chuck Serianni in a statement. “We wish him well as he enters the next stage of his life, focused on extending his legacy through his charitable giving.” CEO Jonathan Shepko said Daseke informed the company of his intentions after it announced a $40 million share buyback program. The company will pay its founder with $40 million in cash on hand and the remainder in redeemable preferred stock.
“This provided us with a unique opportunity to repurchase a substantial portion of our outstanding shares on very friendly terms,” Shepko said. “For the foreseeable future, our priority will now be continuing our trend of deleveraging our business.” He added.
The company’s debt totaled more than $549 million at the end of last year, according to regulatory filings. Its net debt was just under $450 million in its most recent quarterly report.