Photo: Dedication to Steve’s Mother (Jean) at the Jean D. Wilson School of Nursing lobby, Feb. 2020 at Cedar Crest College.
Like many investors, Steve Wilson first heard about DLP Capital Partners over the radio, specifically from WAEB Radio Host Bobby Gunther Walsh. It was at a time when Steve, a self-employed mechanic who ran his own auto repair business, was nearing retirement and was looking for a new approach to building his wealth and making his money work for him. He set up a meeting with Senior Investor Success Manager Larry Hickernell and wrote a check on the spot.
Steve, now investor #174, comments, “I was so impressed with the company and their approach to business. I had already conducted my due diligence and the requirements of being smarter than myself in finance and a sense of trust were met. I’m an emotional investor and wanted to invest my money in something that I truly believed in. I realized I had found a home.”
Steve continues, “I’m not an MBA. I did all my own books and was an active participant in running my business for 20 years. I knew that by this time in my life, I did not want or have a need to be directly involved in my investments.”
Steve grew up on a 100-acre farm near Bear Creek, in Longswamp Township, PA. He was a student-athlete at championship-bred Emmaus High School as a member of both the swim team and football team, led by memorable coaches George Halfacre and Frank Roberts.
He attended Ithaca College in New York, (Class of 1977), majoring in Literature. He credits his roommate by showing him how to properly understand a ledger sheet, something Steve at the time, had no interest in at all.
When he was in college, Steve watched his father Jack start up his own Biotech company with $20,000, a pencil, and a legal pad in their kitchen. ABEC Inc. grew to over 700 employees, with manufacturing plants located throughout the world. Steve says it was his father’s drive and ambition combined with solid sales skills that made his company a great success. He says he saw those same qualities in Don Wenner.
Since becoming an investor in 2017, Steve has attended all of the dinners held in PA and enjoys them immensely, especially meeting additional team members like Managing Director Richard Delgado and Investor Success Manager Bob Schimeneck. He’s been tremendously impressed with the growth of the company, especially with the number of investors, now totaling over 800. It’s something that he relates to his father’s company’s growth. He says he feels as though DLP ‘has arrived.’
Always wanting to own his own property, Steve was originally surprised to see the coming trend of renting vs. owning. He comments, “People in my own friendship circles were doing just that and it made sense. I also love that my investing can help others to rent, buy, fix, and flip both regionally and throughout the country. Don’s had this same approach long before it became a national trend.“
Since the Coronavirus pandemic, the economy’s landscape has changed. While it is an unsettling time across the U.S., Steve remains confident and at ease with his DLP investment portfolio, of which he has his largest single investment. (He is invested in the Income and Growth Fund as well as Prosper Gulfport, an apartment community in Gulfport, MS). He comments, “I watch the news and speak with concerned friends, many who rely on me because of my biotech background. I reassure them, tell them to keep it all in perspective. And, I’m completely at ease with my investments. DLP is doing a phenomenal job.”
Hickernell comments, “It has been a distinct pleasure getting to know Steve over the last few years. Not only has Steve become one of our closest investors, but he’s also become a friend; this is a testament to the fantastic people we have the opportunity to serve here at DLP Capital Partners, and we’re honored to be in the position to not only help grow investors’ wealth but also develop long-lasting relationships.”
Steve says, “My life has completely changed since joining the DLP family. I started with an investment strategy and six months later, my wife Shawnee, told me we were pregnant. Kit Everly Devoe Wilson (named after American frontiersman Kit Carson and nicknamed Pinky), was born 7 weeks premature, on Dec. 17, 2018. I became a father at age 63! Now, my strategy is the same, but I have a new beneficiary. I call it The Pinky Fund and want to make sure she has a solid education.”
Steve also lost both of his parents; most recently his father passed away on April 6, 2020. He’s thankful that his dad was able to attend the last PA investor dinner, held at Steel Stacks at ArtsQuest. Jack was named Pennsylvania Employer of the Year in 2013 and inducted into the Lehigh Valley Business Hall of Fame in 2014.
During his weekly visits with his parents, Steve would speak highly of Don and DLP, telling them how much he enjoyed the dinners, the growth, and the new opportunities to invest in. In January 2018, ten days before Steve’s mother’s passing, Jean mailed a check to the company to be deposited into his account. She wanted him to know that she appreciated all that her son had done for her.
Steve lovingly says that his father was the smartest man he had ever met – having a vision, ideas, marketing skills, and managerial experience all wrapped up into one person. Steve says, “He moved his feet and made a success out of something small. I see those same qualities in Don Wenner. I invest because I believe in Don. I believe in the vision. I believe in the company.”