Q&A with Dan Rolfes of Holiday Homes Inc.

Business Courier of Cincinnati - by Dan Monk Senior Staff Reporter

Dan Rolfes was working as an accountant when a friend advised him to get into the mobile home business. A few months later, he secured a $100,000 loan to start Holiday Homes Inc., which will turn 40 in 2009. Rolfes has expanded into land development, home building, mortgage financing and commercial cleaning and is a founding member of Milford's independent CenterBank. His daughter Carolyn runs the home-building company, Potterhill Homes.

Rolfes is well known for his quirky commercials, including those where he dressed as a price tag (Dan, Dan, the Red Tag Man). "You know how you sometimes worry about what people think? Well, if you dress up in red underwear and get on TV, that'll pretty much cure you of that," he said.

Why do you have the career you have?

In hindsight, it seems accidental, but it is almost as if it were karma. I can't imagine having done anything else.

What's the most difficult aspect of your job?

Details. I hate details! And always being responsible for the ship, 24-7-365.

What advice would you give a new boss?

People will only do things for their reasons (not yours). Help them find their reasons, what motivates them. Then give them the tools and training to align their goals with your goals.

What's your definition of a miserable, unsatisfying life?

Not being me. It was too hard to get here.

What's your favorite vacation spot?

It used to be the mountains (maybe it still is), but the sun and the beach are feeling better and better. Throw in other cultures, and I'm in heaven.

Describe your perfect life.

In the United States, it is estimated that construction and housing use more energy than cars. That has to change. A perfect life for me is being part of a movement to help the U.S. become less energy-dependent. This could mean improving how our homes use energy (we have the technology available to do this today!), improving transportation options or developing new energy sources. And, because the United States uses 25 percent of the world's oil, if you solve our energy problems, you've solved the world's energy problems. That would be worth being remembered for.

You've just been given $100,000 to donate to charity. Which and why?

Chatfield College and Life Success seminars, because they teach those who have less how to get more. But not just more money - they teach the skills necessary to make people happier and more self-confident. They help everyone, from every walk of life, reach their full potential.

What music are you listening to right now?

Indigenous flute music from the Andes Mountains in Chile.

What trait do you most value in your friends?

A good sense of humor and creativity are key. Most important, though, is that they are genuine and not pretending to be something they are not.

How do you most like to spend your money?

Traveling. I enjoy going to new places but enjoy returning to places I like just as much.

What scares you?

When it is all said and done, that my life didn't make a difference.

dmonk@bizjournals.com | (513) 337-9438

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