Choose Thinking: A Blog by Dan Gilbert

“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

- Rudyard Kipling

About Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert on Twitter Follow @CavsDan on Twitter

Dan Gilbert
Chairman, Rock Ventures LLC
Founder and Chairman, Quicken Loans Inc.
Majority Owner, Cleveland Cavaliers

Quicken Loans Chairman and Founder, Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert is the Chairman of Rock Ventures LLC, the umbrella entity for his investments and real estate; Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s largest online home lender and fourth largest retail lender in the United States.

Dan is also majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA Development League’s Canton Charge, the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters, as well as the operator of the Quicken Loans Arena (“The Q”) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Detroit-based Quicken Loans employs nearly 10,000 people nationally and earned the highest ratings for customer satisfaction among all U.S. home loan lenders in a study by J.D. Power and Associates in 2010, 2011 and 2012.  Quicken Loans ranked in the Top-10 of FORTUNE magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ in 2012, and has placed among the Top-30 companies on FORTUNE’s list for the past 10 years. The company has been recognized as the #1 place to work in technology in 2013, 2007, 2006 and 2005 by Computerworld magazine, and has appeared in the top-15 of the magazine’s list of the “100 Best Places to Work” for the last nine consecutive years.. Quicken Loans was also named the nation’s best employer in Workplace Dynamics’ 2013 National Top Workplace list. The benchmark study of more than 870 companies based its rankings solely on feedback gathered through an employee survey.

In less than three years, Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and more than 8,000 of its team members to downtown Detroit, where Dan and the company are helping lead a revitalization of the city’s urban core.

Dan founded Rock Financial in 1985. The company grew into one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the country and in the late 1990s, launched its Internet strategy and quickly positioned itself as the fastest growing direct mortgage lender on the Internet.

In 2000, software maker Intuit purchased Rock Financial and the company was renamed “Quicken Loans.” Dan stayed on as CEO, leading the company as it became the largest online home lender. QuickenLoans.com has gone on to earn “Best of the Web” accolades from Forbes, Money and PC Magazine.

In 2002, Dan led a group and purchased Quicken Loans and its affiliated national title company, Title Source, Inc., back from Intuit.

Dan became majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005 and undertook a complete overhaul of the entire organization, installing a new philosophy and winning strategy. Shortly after, the Cavaliers won the 2007 Eastern Conference Championship, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in the team’s 37-year history. The team finished the 2008-2009 regular season with a franchise record and NBA-best 66 wins and followed that in 2009-2010 with another NBA-best 61-win regular season.

Dan is a founding partner in private equity group Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC. The partnership invests in growing businesses in the financial services, Internet technology, consumer-direct marketing, and the sports and entertainment industries. Some of Rockbridge’s investments include:

In addition, Dan is a principal of Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), a new Detroit-focused venture capital firm that funds start-up and early-stage technology companies in Detroit.

Dan is also invested and is involved in the operation of several consumer-based, technology-centered businesses, including:

  • Fathead, the leader in sports and entertainment graphics;
  • Veritix, a provider of paperless ticketing;
  • Xenith, a developer of helmet technology that reduces brain injuries; and
  • StyleCaster, a community for all things fashion, beauty and music.

Dan and a group of partners successfully backed a state-wide referendum to bring casino gaming to Ohio’s four largest cities in November 2009.  Rock Gaming LLC, with joint venture partner Caesars Entertainment, has developed unique urban casinos under the Horseshoe brand in Cleveland, which opened in May 2012, and Cincinnati, which opened in March 2013.  The companies are also developing an urban casino in downtown Baltimore, expected to open in 2014.  The developments have been designed to engage, promote and encourage gaming patrons to visit and support existing cultural, nightlife and sports attractions in the downtown areas where they are located.

Dan is also the Director of Rock Gaming’s affiliate, Athens Acquisition LLC, which acquired a majority interest in Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel in April 2013.

Dan launched Bizdom in Detroit in 2007. The non-profit entrepreneurial academy trains, mentors and finances business builders in their start-up enterprises in the city of Detroit. Bizdom U’s mission is to create successful businesses, jobs, growth and wealth in large urban centers. Bizdom launched a second location, in downtown Cleveland, in 2011.

Dan serves on the boards of the Cleveland Clinic, the Washington D.C.-based Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), and the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Dan also serves as Vice Chairman of the non-profit M-1 RAIL initiative, which aims to improve downtown and midtown Detroit’s transportation infrastructure with a 6.6 mile light rail system designed to help spur economic development.

Dan earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Wayne State University.


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