Dennis Van Vleet is a lifelong innovator. The youngest of five siblings growing up on a dairy farm, he was always right there in the middle of the action, observing all that went on. His dad’s trucking career took him into feed mills, packing houses, bottling plants and various manufacturing facilities making his childhood a living episode of How It’s Made.
At the sight of all this action, his imagination would often get the best of him where he’d slip off and dream up whole kid sized worlds of industry which operated under his own systems of efficiency. His imaginations would often spill over into the real world causing him to invent better ways of doing things on the farm which proved practical.
As his older siblings left the farm, Dennis developed more labor saving devices and systems of animal handling to help the farm flow better on an increasingly shrinking workforce.
Dennis studied engineering in college but found the thought of working in an office dull. He didn’t want to just design things; he wanted to make them too. He transferred to Texas State Technical College to study practical application and obtained a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.
In addition to his over 25 year career in manufacturing, Dennis is also a serial entrepreneur, inventor, author, screen writer, director, movie location scout and father. He was a semi-finalist for the TV show Top Engineer but, extensive psychological evaluation eliminated him from the competition. It seems his easygoing and communicative nature was not conducive to the drama required for a reality TV show. (His TV career loss is your gain!)
Dennis’s ideas aren’t always meant for him and he knows it. When asked to describe him, friends often compare Dennis to George Malley from the movie Phenomenon (John Travolta 1996) especially that scene where he has all these ideas written on napkins and he’s trying to give them to everyone at the bar. In 2003 Dennis reached out to friend in “computers” and told him he should make a website that made it easy for individuals to upload their personal videos for everyone to see. You could customize it and make it like your own TV channel. The friend told him such a website would require too much bandwidth and server space.
Caption: In 2011 Dennis reached out to a car salesman friend and told him he should make car buying all online. Hello? Carvana?
Today, Dennis publishes his Go-Kart Alley series of kids action adventure books, manufactures a line of vintage go-kart kits, runs the most innovative doggy daycare in the world with his wife and kids. Oh yeah, and, he makes businesses and factories like yours run smoothly with Van Vleet Innovation.