Dennis Ding has had his eye on the Indianapolis tech scene for years. He grew up in Carmel, Ind., and studied agribusiness management at Purdue University, but he wanted to experience more of the world before choosing a place to live and work.
Dennis set out to challenge himself, raise the bar and create the ultimate career experience. His career journey took him to Minnesota, London, New York City and as far away as Taiwan. He’s grateful for the lessons learned at each far-flung location, but as far as Dennis is concerned Indianapolis just can’t be beat.
Traveling the World
Dennis Ding has had more career adventures and geographic diversity early on than many people will have throughout their entire careers.
“I knew it was important to diversify my experiences,” Dennis said. “I was told you learn the most about yourself between the ages of 18 and 35 years old, and I believe this is true. It was important to me to keep an open mind with every experience I went through because I knew it was an opportunity to learn.”
Each internship and job gave him a new perspective or helped him learn something about himself that he is now grateful for as he advances in his career.
Dennis’ first internship as a Purdue sophomore was in supply chain management in Kaohsiung (pronounced Gow-shoong) City, Taiwan. His biggest takeaway from his experience is that it’s important to always ask questions.
“I thought I was fluent in Mandarin enough to get by, until my summer internship in Taiwan. This was the perfect example of applying what you learn in the classroom to real life situations,” Dennis said. “I can’t say it was easy, but I learned so much about myself as a person. This really helped instill confidence in myself to do anything no matter what the adversity was.”
Next, Dennis interned as a business consultant in London at the global engineering consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Although it was, in some ways, easier because they spoke English, Dennis says he struggled with the slower work pace.
“My internship experience in London was eye-opening because their work culture is a bit more relaxed than what I’m used to,” Dennis said. “Tea and crumpet breaks were very popular and a stress-free environment is what the British take pride in. I preferred to work at a quicker pace and sometimes it was difficult to work in that environment.”
The summer before his graduation, Dennis interned in product management at a Minnesota-based packaged foods manufacturer where he learned a valuable lesson.
“Internships are important because they allowed me to find out what I wanted to do in life. Having an operations internship at a manufacturing plant was eye-opening and I learned it did not match my skill set.”
Six months later, Dennis landed a full-time position as an aftermarket zone manager with Ford Motor Company in New York City. It was a humbling experience working at such a large company, he explained. “I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to provide value on day one, and it can be difficult at times to do that in a large company structure.”
After three internships around the globe and two and a half years in New York City, Dennis Ding has brought his world traveling, culture exposure experiences and lessons learned home with him for a new position at PERQ.
“I was ready for a change from New York,” Dennis explained. “I wanted to get back home and do something different, and I had my eye on Indy’s growing tech ecosystem. I have to credit my friends in Indy for recommending that I look into PERQ,”
PERQ, an online engagement and advertising company, has products and services tailored for the automotive industry, so Dennis’ connections and prior experience were a perfect fit.
Now an account executive at PERQ, Dennis loves the people and he feels like he can see the impact of his work in the smaller environment.
“The people were the biggest influence on my decision to come home and join PERQ. Every company is going to say they have the best people, but I truly saw that with the team at PERQ during my interview process.”
Indianapolis is the perfect city for Dennis with a lifestyle that is more his preferred pace. It’s a middle ground between the frenzy of major metropolises like New York City and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, but not quite as easygoing as London. He loves how much Indianapolis has changed since he was in college and he recently moved to the popular Mass. Ave. district along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
He considers Mass. Ave. his five blocks of Manhattan because he can still walk to restaurants and bars without needing to get into his car.
“Whether I was across the pond, on the other side of the world, or living in the Big Apple, Indianapolis always had a special place in my heart,” Dennis said. “I’m excited to be near my family and friends again, but also excited to be a part of the Indy tech community. Special things are happening here and I’m thrilled to call Indianapolis my home.”