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Don believes that through membership of DX, brothers are given the opportunity to really develop their leadership skills and gain a lot of important self-development while in the house. “Where else can you learn to motivate people who don’t really have to listen to you, manage a six-figure budget or recruit people to join your cause?” he asked. 

Delta Chi develops many life skills in people, but also helps develop some character in its members as well. “The fraternity certainly helped me develop into a man and provided a lot of growth that supported me in the business world,” Don said. He feels that many people could benefit from the experiences he went through at the fraternity.

His big brother, Rob Fogler ’91, once said, “You do not join a fraternity and build a bond with your brothers from the parties alone. You need to have fun with these guys shopping at Meijer, cleaning the house and at study tables. That is where you will actually spend 90-percent of your time, and that is where you will build the relationships and truly enjoy each other’s company.” After living in the house, he knows exactly what Rob was talking about. 

During his sophomore year, he lived in the “Lighthouse” with Jeff Lin ’94 and for his junior year, he lived in “Fireside” with Mike Bloink ’94. Don also lived in “Windows” one summer, next to Don Ensing ’94 who lived in “Grand Central.”

As much fun as he had at parties, Don can honestly say he had just as much fun going to White Castle, working on improvements to the house and meeting future members. He has hopes that today’s actives experience the same things.

There were plenty of purely fun times too, of course. Although “most of them are probably not fit for print,” there were many events in the Arb that Don remembers well, sort of … Jeff Klaiman ’93 at the painted rock and Greg Endres ’94 building a waterfall down the front stairs are just a few of the fantastic stories. 

Don has stayed in touch with many of his brothers including Greg Endres, Don Ensing, John Wiktor ’96, Matt Holden ’95, Rick Sansburn ’95 (his little brother), Dave Karow ’94, Dave Winey ’95, Cameron Saless ’95, Jeff Schoenherr ’91, Scott Waligora ’97 and about 20 brothers that he sees once a year at football games. He enjoys keeping up with people on Facebook, which could provide at least another 20 guys to add to the list, and catching things like Jason Ritchie’s (’93) run for political office or the birth of Craig Nastanski’s (’97) son.

He was also able to catch up with Sri Reddy ’95, Greg Haft ’94 and Rob Areklett ’91 somewhat recently as well as many of the people in the ’90s through the fundraising campaign and reunion. John Levinson ’73 is another brother with whom he was able to reconnect. John is a brother he has always held in very high regard as a result of everything he did for Don personally and for the house in general. 

“The beauty of the fraternity friendship is we immediately feel like it was yesterday that we were best friends and have such a great time together again,” he said.

Following graduation, Don joined Andersen Consulting, now Accenture, and was there until July 1996. Chris Sirosky ’91, also a Delta Chi brother, was there as well. Don’s next career move was to PeopleSoft, where he stayed until May 1998. It was at that point that he started a company called Emerging Solutions, where he continued his consulting work.   

In August 2011, he sold the firm and is currently the managing director of that firm, now Emtec. 

During the years that Don worked for Andersen, he and Dave Karow lived in Ypsilanti. Don bought a house in Royal Oak, Mich., around 1996 and lived there until 2001, when he married and moved to Evanston, Ill. He lives there today with his family, including wife, Erica.

“She is a wonderful person, and I have no idea why she stays with me … I married far above my pay grade,” he said. They have two sons who keep them busy; Aidan is nine, and David is 10.

When he is not chasing his kids around, he is a volunteer mentor for inner city youth in Chicago via Spark Chicago. Additionally, he is a volunteer for many Michigan alumni events through the local alumni board and for Habitat for Humanity.

As a very passionate Michigan sports fan, Don is also actively involved in the Chicago Michigan Alumni Association. He sits on the board of the UM Department of Economics and the board of a nonprofit organization called Positive Coaching Alliance.

Defining success is a tough one, but Don sees his accomplishments as an open door to help develop the next generations. In the fraternity, the word “legacy” is often used. From that standpoint, Don has two wonderful boys who are growing up. Additionally, he is responsible for the income and career development of approximately 150 people at work. Don also strives to leave a legacy through the Sweeney Charitable Trust that they created. “At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make a difference in someone’s life in a positive way. Even just one makes a difference,” he said.

Fifty years from now, Delta Chi will still be a big part of his life. He ensures that he will still be “swinging by the Delta Chi house, bumming a beer and terrorizing the actives.”