David M. Dodson

David M. Dodson
Lecturer
Contact Info
DavidM.Dodson

Research Statement

David Dodson's area of research includes entrepreneurial acquisition, whereby one searches for, and acquires, a company that they intend to be the principal manager for; management issues around growing enterprises, small and medium sized acquired companies, and early stage enterprises.

Bio

David Dodson is a faculty member at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), and teaches Strategic Management 355 “Managing Growing Enterprises” and Strategic Management 543 “Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition”. Mr. Dodson is a graduate of Stanford University (Economics ’83, MBA ‘87), and a former case writer (1988).

David Dodson has been active for twenty-five years in the formation of new businesses through entrepreneurial acquisition. Prior to entering the Stanford GSB, Dodson worked at McKinsey & Company, where he worked for clients in oil field services, gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas, and offshore drilling. After graduating from the GSB, under the direction of Professor Irv Grousbeck, he wrote the original course material for search funds—then in its infancy. After one year as a case writer, David raised his own search fund.

Between 1990 and 2004, Dodson operated as CEO or Executive Chairman of five companies, including co-founding Wind River Environmental, the largest specialty trucking company of its kind; ADAP, Inc., an auto parts retailer that was eventually sold to Auto Zone; Smith Alarm Systems, Inc.; Paragon Systems, Inc.; and Worldbridge Broadband Services Inc, which was eventually sold to C-Corp.

Dodson has been an active mentor and investor in over fifty early stage companies, and has been on the board of directors of over a dozen companies, including Asurion, LLC, an insurance company with over 15,000 employees operating in 14 countries.

He has also been active with the creation of market-based solutions to problems related to health and education, with an emphasis on approaches that reduce dependency on charity and instead use the free-market system for sustainable solutions that end the cycle of dependence on charity or government support. To this end, he co-founded Project Healthy Children with Stephanie Cornell in 1999 to address issues of micronutrient deficiency among mothers and children without access to healthy and nutritious foods. Project Healthy Children focused on sustainable solutions to malnutrition, and its programs reached over 25 million children and adults throughout the world.

Dodson also co-founded Project Healthy Children (recently renamed “Sanku”) which was named one of the world’s most innovative companies by FastCompany in 2019, and 2013 Ashoka Changemaker prize-winner. In collaboration with Stanford University, Sanku invented a gravimetric device that accurately fortifies wheat flour in small rural mills, eliminating heart-wrenching birth defects and maladies for the “poorest of the poor”, using a market-based approach for a sustainable solution to malnutrition. The Sanku device is the only machine of its kind in the world, and coupled with a unique business model harnessing IoT, Sanku hopes to reach 100 million people by 2025.

In 2018, David ran for US Senate for the State of Wyoming.

David is a resident of Wyoming and has three daughters: Caroline, Hannah, and Rachel; and his loving wife Wendy.

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Stanford GSB, 1987
  • BA in Economics, Stanford University, 1983

Awards and Honors

  • MBA Class of 1973 Lecturer for 2015-2016
  • Amplifier Award (nominee), Stanford GSB, 2018 & 2019

Publications

Journal Articles

David M. Dodson, Susan Pohlmeyer. Outskirt Press. 2020.

Book Chapters

David M. Dodson, Laura A. Rowe. Innovating for Healthy Urbanization. New York: Springer US, 2015, Pages 41-76.

Teaching

Degree Courses

2020-21

In the Managerial Skills Labs we examine several common managerial challenges faced by executives. Together with Faculty, students explore these topics using five case examples, each asking students to evaluate a series of situations, develop...

This course is offered for students who, in the near term, aspire to the management and full or partial ownership of a new or newly-acquired business. The seminar, which is limited to 45 students, has a strong implementation focus, and deals in...

For aspiring entrepreneurs who don't have a burning idea or desire to start a company from scratch, acquiring a small business can provide a direct route to running and growing a business. This class will explore entrepreneurial acquisition (EA...

2019-20

This course is offered for students who, in the near term, aspire to the management and full or partial ownership of a new or newly-acquired business. The seminar, which is limited to 45 students, has a strong implementation focus, and deals in...

For aspiring entrepreneurs who don't have a burning idea or desire to start a company from scratch, acquiring a small business can provide a direct route to running and growing a business. This class will explore entrepreneurial acquisition (EA...

Stanford Case Studies

Buck Jack Capital: Closing or Quitting | E735
David Dodson, Blake Kavanaugh2020
California Medical Transport II | E729
H. Irving Grousbeck, David Dodson, Jim Ellis, Erika Feldhausen2020
Calyx Capital Partners | E736
David Dodson, Blake Kavanaugh2020
Eyewitness Surveillance II | E724
H. Irving Grousbeck, David Dodson, Erika Feldhausen2020
Nashton Partners II | E738
H. Irving Grousbeck, David Dodson, Erika Feldhausen2020
Retail Services & Technologies | E737
David Dodson, Blake Kavanaugh2020
Sarah Rowell and Scott Mackenzie | E734
David Dodson, Scott Mitchel2020
Unified Dental Care | E730
David Dodson, Mitchel Scott2020
Whole Foods: Managing as Co-CEOs | E697
David Dodson, Erika Feldhausen2020
Andrea Jung: The Challenges of Letting Go | E648
David M. Dodson, Amadeus Orleans2018
Leila Janah | SM291
David Dodson, Cameron Lehman2018
Evergreen Solutions | E537
David Dodson, Sara Rosenthal2017
Jennifer Dulski (A) | E606A
David Dodson, Matt Saucedo2017
Jennifer Dulski (B) | E606B
David Dodson, Matt Saucedo2017
Paul English | E620
David Dodson, Ryan Kissick2017
Laura Melton | E559
David Dodson, Ryan Kissick2016
Sitara | E585
David Dodson, Jessica Morgan2016
Debbie Sterling | E591
David Dodson, Matthew Saucedo2016
AlphaCredit | E536
David Dodson, Ryan Kissick2015
Headwaters MB | E552
David Dodson, Sara Rosenthal2015
Rick Kaden & Gloria Chen | E561
David Dodson, Jessica Morgan2015
Torani | E577
David Dodson, Sara Rosenthal2015
Year Up | E545
David Dodson, Ryan Kissick2015
Zintro, Inc. - Hiring a Management Team | E566
David Dodson2015
Professor Dodson | E448
David Miller Dodson2014
Black Iris Systems | E492
David Dodson2013
Donatella, LLC | E493
David Dodson2013
Kirk Riedinger and Jamie Turner | SB102
Harold Grousbeck, David Dodson1987

Teaching Materials

  • Letting People Go E718 PDF
  • Onboarding E716 PDF
  • Standardized Approach to Hiring E715 PDF
  • Strategic Compensation E719 PDF
  • The 360 Performance Review E717 PDF
  • The Skills of Great Leaders E714 PDF
  • Acquisition Documents and Strategies E677 PDF
  • Guide to Getting the Most out of Your Board Meetings E631 PDF
  • Compensation: Strategies for a Bonus Plan E679 PDF
  • Guide to Investor Reports for Early CEOs E678 PDF
  • A Note on Getting the Most Out of Your Board Meetings E631 PDF
  • Guide to Managing Your First 100 Days as CEO E629 PDF
  • Actions: Unpublish this revision 2016 Search Fund Study: Selected Observations E605 PDF
  • A Note on a Standardized Approach to Hiring Decisions E603 PDF
  • Search Funds - 2013: Selected Observations E521 PDF

Stanford University Affiliations

In the Media

Forbes, September 30, 2020
Stanford Magazine, July 29, 2020
Washington Examiner , April 15, 2020
New York Times, December 14, 2019
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 31, 2019
Casper Star Tribune, May 12, 2019
The Boston Globe, April 5, 2019
Casper Star Tribune, February 2, 2019
The Boston Globe, January 7, 2019
Fortune Magazine, November 9, 2017

Insights by Stanford Business

December 3, 2015
A serial board member explains why even young companies need strong directors.

School News

July 29, 2020
“I was forced to exchange something I had chased for years with something I now find matters more.”
April 12, 2019
Nova Credit, which began as a class project, helps immigrants and visitors to the U.S. bring their credit histories with them.
April 23, 2018
Two first-time political candidates talk about applying the lessons they learned at Stanford GSB.
June 1, 2016
Accounting professors Elizabeth Blankespoor and Ed deHaan, and Marketing Professor Harikesh Nair have been recognized by students for exceptional teaching.