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July 2000

For Starters

It's Dave Dowdy's business to set you up

Accountants, controllers and bookkeepers are stereotypically portrayed as boring number crunchers, antisocial, ever-calculating plain Janes and Joes who love digits more than people. And then there is Dorian “Dave” Dowdy. As owner of Munich’s Triple D business consulting firm, the charismatic 54-year-old American is part chatty salesman, part comedian, part warm-hearted do-gooder — an extrovert who could win your approval simply by asking for the time of day. Though Dowdy’s profession is somewhat confusing to the layperson — “I’ve got my IPO, and, of course, I work with SAP companies” — his “vision,” as he calls it, is to bring small businesses to the Isar city.

Born in Boston and reared, for a short time, in Anchorage, Alaska — “I loved it there! Everyday we would wake up and find a moose or caribou munching on our lawn.” Dowdy spent his formative years as the proverbial “army brat,” following his stepfather and family from Maryland to Munich. While attending classes at the Bavarian capital’s branch of the University of Maryland, the young expat fell in love. “It was time for my dad to return to the States,” shares Dowdy. “I told him that I had met someone, and that I wanted to stay. I’ve been here since 1967!”

After taking a Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts, Dowdy needed to pick a career. Having always had an aptitude for numbers, the eager transplant opted for 20 further years of study at various controller institutes, while working as a bookkeeper for, among other institutions and companies, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service München, National Semiconductor and McDonald’s System of Germany. “I was the first internal auditor for McDonald’s Deutschland,” explains Dowdy. “I traveled across the country to stores and carried out sneak inspections on their books. I was known as “der schwarze Sheriff (the black sheriff),” roars the pencil pusher. “One time I had just finished a job in Düsseldorf. I decided to go to another restaurant very far away, because area managers would often tell each other if I was in town and my arrival would no longer be a surprise. When I reached a Mühlheim McDonald’s hours later, the manager said ‘Hi, schwarzer Sheriff. We’ve been expecting you!’ They had found a way to trace me!”

In 1996, Triple D was born. Dowdy’s services include financial analysis, financial reporting, controlling, small business set up and organization, as well as a long list of cryptic initials, which stand for financial dealings few understand. “One day, I opened a door and found a huge black hole,” laughs Dowdy, gesturing. So many businesses need offsite or temporary controllers. I definitely hit on an untapped market!” An important selling point for Triple D is the fact that its owner speaks impeccable German. “When you decide to stay in a foreign country for good, which I did all those years ago, you have to learn the language. I took courses back then, and, after 30 years, my German is very good. This, coupled with English, gives me the advantage, as I work with many international companies.” Within the last four years, the Westend resident has gone from a one-man operation to making use of 12 freelancers, and, recently, much to his delight, employed a secretary.

Though the relationship that brought him here ended long ago, Dowdy is currently with life partner (Maria) and child (Rebecca, 6). “My business was actually spawned from the birth of my daughter,” beams the proud pop. “Maria is a computer programmer — and a very good one,” adds Dowdy, grinning affectionately. “It is nearly impossible for women in such positions to return from maternity leave and work only part-time. So, I decided to quit my job and work from home. Now I am the ‘house husband.’ I wake my daughter, put her in some clothes, put some food in her belly and send her off to school. Then I go upstairs to work.”

Dowdy will soon begin taking steps toward his “vision,” an ingenious scheme, which would not only benefit its creator, but also Munich’s economy and retail landscape and American entrepreneurs. “I am going to contact Chambers of Commerce in various U.S. cities, find some small businesses looking to expand and explain to them how easy and inexpensive it is to set up a branch in Europe, specifically Munich,” shares the honorary Bavarian. “I’d also like to talk to some African-American-owned enterprises. I love it here, and, have experienced absolutely no racial bias. I would encourage them to be unafraid of what they hear about skinheads.” If Dowdy’s glass-half-full attitude and warm, bubbly presence are any indication of how successful he will be, München should be bursting with Yanks within the next couple of years. <<<

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