Dan Pope has been a large part of Texas Tech and the Lubbock community since his enrollment in 1981, and since graduating he has gone on to become a successful businessman and a inspiration for students seeking to travel down a similar path.
Pope received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business in 1985.
“My education at Texas Tech opened my eyes to the opportunities in the world,” Pope said. “I had great professors and just as importantly I went to school with a lot of bright people who challenged me. I was well prepared when I left, a combination of growing up working and the work ethic that my parents imparted upon us, my brothers and what I learned at Tech prepared me for a successful business career.”
Pope participated in several extracurricular activities along with his classes at Tech, including student senate, being president of the Interfraternity Council, a member of Mortar Board, a member of Phi Eta Sigma and a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Bill Dean, an associate professor in the College of Media and Communication and executive vice president and CEO of the Tech Alumni Association, has worked closely with Pope since his enrollment in the university and has seen him grow throughout the years.
“He had very high energy, kind of an A+ personality, very active and very involved,” he said. “When I was a chapter adviser of the fraternity he pledged at Texas Tech, I worked with him in various capacities in our organization and he had many leadership roles and he was an extremely active person.”
Even after Pope left Tech, he still keeps his ties with the university and participates within it.
“He’s a member of the Alumni Association and he’s been very supportive, both financially and by his presence at various events that we’ve had,” Dean said. “He came back to Lubbock and had the Xerox-Benchmark franchise and built it into a very successful business here and he services, with that business, various areas of the campus.”
Watching Pope grow into a successful businessman, Dean said Pope has a strong work ethic and a high degree of integrity he applies to whatever he does.
“I know he is a devoted Christian, I think he practices what he preaches and I think that has to rub off on his staff,” Dean said. “I think he’s a people person, I think he treated his employees with dignity and I think they respect him.”
After receiving his degree, Pope went to work in sales for the Xerox Corporation, he said, a company that sells business services and document technology products. He spent nine years there working in sales and as the sales manager.
Pope was able to work for Xerox because of the connections he made at Tech, he said. He made acquaintances with someone who worked for the company and was able to get them to hire him, and his career at the university acted as his entrance into the business world.
Then, in 1994, Pope and his wife founded a company locally in Lubbock called Benchmark solutions, a company that specializes in being the vendor of choice for document-related solutions in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, according to its website. The company has partnered with Xerox in order to get the best supplies and technology possible to its customers.
Amanda Kuhn, vice president of Benchmark Solutions, has worked with Pope for many years and looks up to him as a mentor. She said Pope is a very intelligent and considerate man and is always open-minded in his decision making to consider everyone’s input and be aware of the effect he has on the people around him.
“The term I always use for him is that I’ve found him be very curiously self disciplined,” she said. “He gets up in the morning, if he’s not in the office first thing he is probably at a board meeting or doing some sort of community service.”
Kuhn said Pope is very passionate about getting involved within the community and giving back.
He has been a great mentor to her and has taught her much about business and management, Kuhn said, and he is a fun man to get to know and work with.
Whether he was working with his business associate, working on a project for the school board or participating in community service, he always put the same discipline and effort into everything he did, she said.
“He really empowered the people around him to do their jobs, and he was a lot of fun when it came time for company Christmas parties and Texas Tech tailgates, the whole nine yards,” Kuhn said. “He’s a really down to earth guy, he’s passionate about his family, and when he’s not doing all those other things he loves to escape to the lake and have some quiet time.”
Pope worked with his company for 20 years until he then decided to sell it and pursue a different career. In 2005, he chaired the United Way campaign in Lubbock, which is an annual campaign that raises money to help improve employment opportunities and the overall wellbeing of the Lubbock area.
“I think one of his most amazing traits is being self disciplined,” Kuhn said. “He doesn’t procrastinate, he takes things head on and he’s very honest, he’s going to be a truth teller and very direct, and he’s very intentional in his pursuits.”
He is a big supporter of local small businesses, he said, and tries to help them succeed to allow the Lubbock community to thrive in all aspects.
He has also served on the Covenant Health System Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2011 and is currently its chief development officer.
Pope is currently the President of the Lubbock Independent School District board, he said. Along with his commitment to the city of Lubbock, he and his wife are also active members in their church, First United Methodist Church in Lubbock.
Pope is currently running for Lubbock city mayor.
He continues to give back to the community and the school that allowed him to get his start and continue his education. He serves on the Rawls College of Business advisory council, which is a group of members who guide students and promote their success.
“I think he has been very pro-student and pro-teacher, as a school board member and has tried to work for passage of various things that would benefit the overall educational process here in Lubbock, which is no small job in today’s world,” Dean said.
Pope said he still looks up to and counts on the mentors he had when he was at Tech, he said, and he mentors students to give them the same kind of experience and support. He currently mentors two business students — one is interning in China this coming semester and the other is getting her MBA.
“He’s one of the most well-rounded individuals I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with,” Kuhn said. “He has the ability to really connect with people, he never forgot someone name or where they came from and took the time to get to know them.”