Brandywine entrepreneur credits Penn State, luck to his success

Scott Danby has already become a successful entrepreneur, heading up three companies in the 10 short years since his graduation from Penn State Brandywine in 2002 with a degree in business administration. He gives much credit to the business program, while admitting to a little help from luck, trust and good timing.

Danby comes from a family of Penn Staters and knew he wanted to be a Nittany Lion from an early age. "I'm one of quite a few Penn Staters in my family," he said. "My dad and mom are both Penn Staters ? When you grow up in a Penn State household where there's everything Penn State and Penn State football's on the TV each Saturday afternoon, you start to bleed blue and white."

Danby earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the campus while working at the family lumberyard - Danby Lumber Company in Kennett Square - that his father and grandfather owned and operated for more than 30 years. "To stay local was the best use of my time," he said. "A lot of the core business classes that [Penn State Brandywine] offered were geared toward returning students, working students and adult students and were offered in late afternoon or early evening. By choosing that program and staying local, it helped me get into business quicker. Major kudos for the program. That's something I benefit from even today."

It was there at the family lumber company that Danby thought he would live out his career. But the road of life has its many detours, and he found himself starting a business of his own after being inspired by a guest lecturer that spoke to one of his capstone business classes at Brandywine.

In 2005, Danby started IronLinx Distribution, an order fulfillment company for small to mid-size companies that ship their products by parcel. The company is the "infrastructure behind the sellers," as he described it. IronLinx provides a behind-the-scenes service of warehousing inventory, order fulfillment and shipping for small businesses, start-ups and e-commerce companies.

"Online there are thousands of new websites that pop-up each day - small companies, mom and pop operations - that sell products but may not have the expertise or the willingness to ship their own goods," Danby said. "They're marketers. They're sales people. They sell. They don't want to deal with the nuts and bolts of getting the product to where it's got to go." Enter IronLinx, which expertly handles all the fulfillment and shipping logistics for its customers but remains transparent to the end user. "We are just part of the backbone of the supply chain."

While handling the fulfillment and distribution angle, Danby recognized a need in the packaging and transportation side of the business. He began some vertical integration and spun off two new divisions: IronLinx Packaging in 2010 and IronLinx Transportation in 2011. With the assistance of his brother Steve Danby, a 2004 graduate of Penn State Brandywine, the packaging division manufactures and distributes boxes for dry goods as well as agricultural and produce companies. Realizing the advantage of his company's location in Kennett Square - the mushroom capital of the world - Danby caters to the local mushroom farmers. IronLinx Packaging makes between 24,000 and 30,000 mushroom boxes per day and delivers them to farms and businesses all within 10 miles of the Kennett Square plant. IronLinx Transportation, with its own fleet of trucks and drivers, delivers goods along the East coast from Maine to Florida. Danby employs nearly 20 people and the companies are open seven days a week; closing only on Christmas Day.

"Penn State provided me with a lot of the skill sets that are a must-have to be successful in business, but luck, trust and timing become a big part of it, too," Danby said. "Merge that with a philosophy of constant self-improvement and creative 'outside of the box' thinking, and good things can happen. These are unfortunate times for so many, and business is tough. But it's also a great time to start a new venture. It's a time to be opportunistic, look for market niches,
 and define new strategies in a market that is in a constant state of change. When the economy eventually turns, business owners who have an unwavering work ethic and have implemented a solid plan will most likely be rewarded with profitable growth."

For more information about Scott Danby and IronLinx visit online.