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DASI Solutions

675 Orchard Lake Road
Pontiac, MI 48341

David Darbyshire

Most people run away from a city going through a financial emergency. David Darbyshire ran toward one when he staked the flag of his company, DASI Solutions, in downtown Pontiac.

The engineering/tech company offers everything from data management to 3-D printing services. It has called the Pontiac area home since 1995 but recently decided to buy its own piece of the seat of Oakland County. It purchased a 20,000-square-foot office building at 31 Oakland Ave in downtown Pontiac.

Darbyshire executed that purchase in 2012, a few years after the state appointed an emergency financial manager to oversee Pontiac’s bureaucracy. Part of the changes instituted included eliminating the local police department in favor of outsourcing those services to the Oakland County Sheriff's Department and a dramatic downsizing of the city's payroll.

"There were a lot of things that were up in the air that chased away other investors who would have been interested in that building," says Darbyshire says.

Darbyshire was not scared. He consolidated his Pontiac and Lake Orion offices into the newly renovated building. The move brought dozens of new tech employees to downtown Pontiac, and Darbyshire wasn’t done carving out his niche in the city. He and some other nearby businesses purchased a parking lot behind the new DASI Solutions headquarters from the city, which was still being run by an emergency financial manager.

"They simply said, 'Sure.' I asked them how much they wanted. They said, '$75,000,'" Darbyshire says. "It was as simple as that."

They now pay property taxes on the land, keep it up and leverage it to help grow their businesses. It's one less thing the city has to worry about maintaining. Instead Darbyshire and his partners repave it, improve the lighting and clear the snow.

Now they don’t have to worry about parking tickets and have the ability to directly improve their businesses. It’s improved so much that the people who tilted an eyebrow at Darbyshire’s original plans to move to downtown Pontiac are now praising his vision and execution.

"Everybody was asking me if I had inside information," Darbyshire says.

It also turned into quite the shrewd move for his day-to-day business. DASI Solutions has experienced a spike in a growth over the last year, hiring eight people and looking to add two more. It now has a staff of 45 employees with most of those jobs consisting of engineers and business development professionals.

Darbyshire credits the move to downtown Pontiac as one of the primary drivers for this growth.

"It has allowed me to have more space than I ever had before to grow my company," Darbyshire says. "I am no longer constrained by my building and I have been growing my company rapidly."

- Written by Jon Zemke

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Related Resources

  • Oakland County
    Oakland County, Michigan is the 7th most affluent county amongst U.S. counties with population over a million people. As of 2009, the population was estimated at 1,205,508. The county seat is Pontiac. Oakland County is part of the Detroit ...