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DAN KEENAN, OWNER: HATCHBACK CREATIVE
Dan Keenan, web developer, graphic designer, and owner of Hatchback Creative, is our first 40 under 40. His creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and drive to always continue learning are only part of why he was selected our first 40 under 40 recipient. Congratulations Dan!
Can you tell us a little about your responsibilities and accomplishments in your current position?
I started Hatchback Creative in 2012. We provide graphic design, web development, SEO, and digital marketing services. It all started with a passion for using the web as an artistic medium. Right around that time, websites were becoming more interactive, user-focused, and much more interesting. I love helping non-profits and local businesses leverage these tools to grow and thrive (and look good doing it!).
In addition to running Hatchback Creative, I’ve also been a business coach for the Tahoe Chamber’s Tahoe Tactical Team and the Sierra Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which is coordinated by Sierra Business Council.
What has been your favorite professional moment in the last year?
Aside from this tremendous honor? Well, no single moment stands out, but the growth of Hatchback year over year has been really exciting. In expanding our network and capacity this year, Hatchback Creative is becoming a collective of sorts with talented specialists in different fields. I’m a designer and developer, but now we’re able to offer digital marketing, social media, and strategy with some awesome local talent who are excellent at what they do. It’s nice to be a one-stop-shop for our clients.
Do you have a professional/life mantra that you try to live by?
“Work/life balance” is what I strive for, but “work hard to play hard” is probably closer to reality. Hatchback has been a real passion project and running a business is serious work, but I feel so lucky I get to do what I love and still play outside in Tahoe to recharge my batteries.
A hallmark trait of Tahoe locals is how they find creative ways to make a living. For many here, what they do for work doesn’t define who they are, and I love that. The guy or girl pouring your drink could be a renowned mountain athlete, yogi, artist, or a total badass in some other realm. You never know. It’s unique, inspiring, and the same attitude and thinking that make great entrepreneurs.
Why choose Tahoe to make your home and career?
As long as I can remember, I always knew I wanted to live in the mountains. I grew up near the Adirondacks Mountains and the big mountains were calling. It was just a matter of where. Tahoe is the ultimate outdoor playground.
South Lake Tahoe was also a perfect place to start Hatchback Creative. Lots of businesses need branding, design and website help. Now that the economy has turned around and millennials are taking over the world, I’m working with lots of new South Shore businesses, which is exciting. It’s cool to see young people who see the opportunity to plant roots on the South Shore.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work and where is your favorite South Shore stomping ground?
I love skiing and mountain biking. Kirkwood Mountain Resort is like a second home in the winter.
What was your first job?
When I first moved to Tahoe in 2004, I worked at Anderson’s Bicycle Rental on Emerald Bay Rd. Doug Anderson was an awesome guy and I learned a lot about running a small business from him. Outstanding customer service was his #1 thing. I can still recite the little speech we had to give to each customer about the bike trails.
Are you active in any volunteer roles or community groups?
Last summer, Hatchback Creative hosted two Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) S.T.E.M. student interns. I also recently began serving on the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Marketing Advisory Committee. I’m really excited to learn more about South Shore’s marketing strategies and how we can balance economic growth and tourism with sustainability and making our town better for locals, local businesses, and visitors alike.
Get in touch with Dan today: