David Fatula, DMSB'01, always knew he would one day start his own business it was merely a question of which one and when. Majoring in entrepreneurship and finance during his time at D'Amore-McKim, Fatula's co-op at Atlantic Coast Brewery was a pivotal moment in his career journey even though it did not result in a post-grad job like he had hoped. “It was one of the best work experiences I had through the Northeastern co-op program and just in general,” he says. “It taught me a lot about entrepreneurship, a lot about managing a small business, a lot about trying to grow a small business, managing people, processes.”
Eventually and accidentally finding himself in real estate finance, Fatula enjoyed that career for nearly two decades, even starting his own commercial real estate investment and advisory business. His time in real estate solidified that relationships are essential to success. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and Fatula was faced with doing another round of fundraising or folding the business, he went out on a limb and asked himself a new question. “The idea of effectively starting from scratch and going out and raising new money for new investments after COVID and what that looked like … wasn't as appealing to me as going out and finding out how to do what I love for a living for the rest of my life,” he says.
That led him to create Guineafowl Adventure Co., which married his love of the outdoors with his extroverted personality and entrepreneurial skills. He was initially doubtful if the business would be successful, wondering who would pay for an activity in a group that is meant to be free and solitary. But he has added several new routes and finds that people appreciate being able to leave the logistics of the outdoors to him so they can focus on the experience.
“I wake up getting in the van to go pick people up at 6 in the morning to take them on a hike, and I pinch myself that this is what I do for a living,” he says.