David Dorner

Founder and President of DornerWorks, Ltd., in Grand Rapids. DornerWorks is a provider of electronic engineering services for the medical, automotive, aerospace, and industrial markets. The company recently announced that it is expanding to Southeast Michigan. Following a career at GE Aviation (formerly Smiths Aerospace), Dorner founded DornerWorks in 2000. Under his leadership, DornerWorks has grown rapidly, doubling in size several times in its first few years. The company was named to the 2010 Inner City 100 list of the fastest-growing inner city companies in the U.S. by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. It also was listed among the 2010 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch" by the Edward Lowe Foundation. Dorner has been recognized by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of its "40 Under 40 Business Leaders" and was the inaugural recipient of the Calvin College MBA Horizon Award, which recognizes outstanding alumni business professionals. Dorner received his bachelor's degrees in engineering, physics, and mathematics from Calvin College, and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University.

WHERE BORN: “Kalamazoo.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My mother and father. My dad has always been quiet and understanding and a steady rock. Mom has been impulsive and inspirational. So I ended up with a mix of the two: I'm a steady rock engineer and impulsive entrepreneur. I'm very lucky and have a very close extended family.”

LAST BOOK READ:Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Intrinsically motivated, overachiever, outgoing, faithful.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We focus on embedded systems engineering in electronics, and software that run on those electronics. We're seeing demand for more across our primary markets – automotive, aerospace, and medical. For example, automotive light bulbs are being replaced by smart LEDs. Embedded electronics have invaded our world – anything that has a power source has to have a circuit to it with an output. It's proliferating. There is also a large market for replacing old technology, where electronic components have become obsolete with new designs.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “It happens to be my iPhone, but I've always been a Star Trek geek and fascinated by the 'communicator.' I've always been fascinated by my cell phone – being able to contact someone in the palm of your hand, having a mini computer, and the apps so you don't have to carry separate devices.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Mackinac Island. I grew up taking family vacations there.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Playing the sax. I have four (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone) and play in three music groups, including a small jazz band and a classical symphonic band.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Spicy. Anything spicy: Mexican, Thai food, wings.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “Sleeping. I can sleep anywhere at any time.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “Above all else, I'd like to be remembered as a good father.”