We had the good fortune of connecting with Nate Evans and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nate, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Despite all the challenges, I’ve always enjoyed being an entrepreneur. I get bored doing the same thing everyday and starting something requires constant adaptation. Being forced to learn something new, come up with creative solutions and think dynamically keeps me engaged in ways that other jobs do not.
The opportunity to create something that did not exist was exciting to me. I did not see my idea reflected in the world and I felt strongly that it was something the world needed. If what I wanted to do already existed then I would not have had the same passion to create my nonprofit.
My main driver though is my passion to make a positive difference in the lives of young people and my community. It took five years for my nonprofit to become a reality. That’s five years of working on something I wasn’t confident would ever come to fruition. If I did not truly have a passion for the mission, I would have quit before it became a reality.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My professional career has been about patience, perseverance and hope. After achieving some early success in college, the many years since then have been about taking the long path. When I was 22, a mentor told me three things:
1) Take the long path in your career.
2) Don’t believe the hype about yourself.
3) Make sure your character matches your gifting.
I did not know it at the time but those 3 things guided the next 14 years of my life. I’ve been demoted from leadership, taken out of leadership and overlooked for leadership. I did not view those as negative things but instead tried to take hard feedback and use those times as an opportunity to grow my character.
When I was told at 26 years old by a mentor that my current idea would take 5 years to become a reality, it was a truth I was not prepared to hear. At 31 years old, I was ready to put the 5 years in ( or however long it would take) to see Denver Gap Year finally launch. As I got older I was ready to put the time in and be patient.
I hope Denver Gap Year is an encouragement to others to patiently and persistently pursue their dreams. As my Grandma said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when quitting isn’t an option”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I always say that Denver is perfect mixture between city and mountains. It’s one of the few American cities that does not force you to choose between the two. My itinerary would represent that.
– Denver has one of the best coffee and craft beer scenes in the nation. So we would definitely be hitting up some coffee shops and breweries. Little Owl Coffee and Platt Park Brewery are two of my favorites.
– Depending on the time of the year we would go to a professional sports event. I love the 4$ tickets for the Rockies and always go to multiple Denver Nuggets games a year.
– I’d take them on a short trip outside the city to see Red Rocks Ampitheater. (A concert if we could) and then over to lookout mountain outside of Golden, CO.
– Get tickets to the new Meow Wolf Art exhibit! Nothing like it.
– Always take visitors to see confluence park and the REI nearby.
– Pizza at Blue Pan, the best pizza in Denver.
– At least one day hike but I can’t give those away because I don’t want them to be even more crowded!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It took 5 years for Denver Gap Year to become a reality and more people than I could mention helped make it happen. This shoutout is only a partial highlight.
– My wife Marie Evans supported me and championed my dream in ways I did not even know I needed. When I doubted or was too tired, she had a faith in me and my dream that always reenergized me. She saw all the work put in on a daily basis and encouraged me constantly. She is always ready to lend a helping hand and make sacrifices. Building and running my nonprofit would be much harder without her.
– Staff members that have served in the past or currently serve. They worked on this years before it started out of a place of passion for the next generation and a belief in mission of Denver Gap Year. I am deeply humbled by their service.
– My family and especially my parents who encouraged and supported this dream from the very beginning. They always support my new ventures and believe they can become a reality.
– The board of directors, financial supporters and community members who stuck with me through years of ups and downs before our launch and stayed steadfast in their support. And now that we launched continue to help in any way they can.