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DAA: William Dull

William Dull

William Dull


Zionsville, IN


With a career that has spanned farming, service to elected officials, entrepreneurism and even starring in a television commercial, William Dull qualifies as a master of many trades. Learning early that being open to opportunities could lead to interesting opportunities, he’s taken many a turn since arriving at Purdue University in 1981. Vested in agriculture since high school as beef herd manager of Dull Family Farms Inc. in Thorntown, Ind., Dull planned on earning a degree and returning to the farm. But opportunity knocked, interrupting study for a year so he could serve as Indiana Future Farmers of America state president. Then after earning degrees in animal sciences and agronomy in 1986, something other than farming again called. International Foreign Youth Exchange chose him for a six-month ambassadorship in Portugal. That led to a fellowship in the Indiana governor’s office, a job with the lieutenant governor, then eight years in the office of former Indiana senator Dan Coats — all while maintaining ties to Dull Family Farms. In 1997, he and two friends opened yet another door, pooling their talents and resources to launch Briar Tek Inc., a technology company operating from Zionsville, Ind., and Alexandria, Va. They design, produce, and sell safety-related devices, such as the ORCA Man Overboard Alarm System, which signals the ship when a person goes overboard. The recent TV spot, which U.S. Airways asked him to tape, was another new experience and a lot of work, requiring a production staff of about 50. While the experience of being “the talent” and having his own trailer was interesting, Dull reports, “I’m not thinking of an acting career.” Dull’s pastimes are hunting, fishing, camping, traveling, and spending time with his family, which includes three youngsters all under the age of 10. “At Purdue, I tried to be as active and involved as I could. I came out of Purdue knowing and understanding the importance of thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo.”