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Peter Griscom, 33

Van Dyke Acquisitions, principal and operating partner

  • Class of 2022
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Peter Griscom started his first business while in college and already has years of experience in the consumer-packaged goods and manufacturing spaces. He’s been putting that insight to good use in his latest venture, Van Dyke Acquisitions. The firm acquires companies that are distressed or struggling to grow.

The Naples-based firm doesn’t limit itself to particular kinds of companies, but it often finds good acquisition candidates in the consumer goods and manufacturing industries. Van Dyke Acquisitions currently owns 11 different businesses with about 180 total employees.

“I love the ability to wake up every day and do something a little bit different,” Griscom says. “I consider myself a generalist; I’m an inch deep and a mile wide on a lot of things.”

Griscom originally envisioned selling the acquired companies after turning them around. But he’s since changed his strategy. “My goal now is long-term growth and building sustainable businesses that create a positive good in their sector,” he says.

In addition to his desire to make an impact, Griscom is motivated by his three kids. “I want to set an example for them that you should always be striving to do better, to be a better version of yourself, to improve on yourself each and every day,” he says. “I’m constantly pushing myself to try to get better; I’m a competitive person by nature.”

He attributes the support he’s gotten from his wife, Brooke, as a big reason for his success. “My wife and I have been together since we were in high school,” he says. “She was there when I took the very last dime I had to start my first business and I was using quarters to eat McDonald’s.”

Griscom has learned from mistakes, like selling a business too early and watching the next owner “take it to where I probably could have taken it.” As he works to build his company portfolio and team, he wants his employees to have those kinds of learning opportunities, too. “The biggest thing I can do to help our team and company grow is to empower people to make mistakes and to not be afraid of making mistakes,” he says.

Further growth is the goal for Van Dyke Acquisitions. “One of the things I would love to continue to do is finding great U.S.-based businesses that are making a positive impact,” he says. “For me being a Christian as well, I believe strongly that we have an obligation to be a positive force for good and to try to do as much as we can to impact the world.”

When he’s not working, Griscom can be found at the gym or with his family. He’s also crossing a few items off his bucket list, inspired by an annual challenge with friends to learn new skills. “So I’m learning how to play polo and fly a plane,” he says.

—Beth Luberecki


City of Residence: Naples

Birthplace: Atlanta

Years in the area: one

Marital Status/Children: Married with three children

Alma Mater/Degree: Auburn, University of Utah

What community group or organization are you most involved with? Friends of Foster Children, SCORE, Defenders of Wildlife

Are you working from the company office, home office or hybrid? Hybrid

What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Or the weirdest task you've ever been assigned? I had to try 20 different flavors of an energy drink in a day

What's your top tip for being productive? I have been making checklists for years and it has helped me tremendously with my discipline and productivity.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Professional Speaker - I thoroughly enjoy public speaking and educating

What's your favorite off-hours activity? Going to the gym

What's the most significant item on your life bucket list — and what's keeping you from completing it? Learn how to fly a jet - I am learning at the moment

What's your favorite podcast? Time Suck

At what percentage on your phone do you start to get Low Battery Anxiety? 10%

What are the top three apps used on your smartphone? Gmail, Signal, Tradefluence

What books are you reading now? The Gambler, Being a Dad Who Leads

What's your go-to music genre, band or act to be inspired? I love classical and jazz music

Who would play you in the movie of your life? Pierce Brosnan (I would hope)

Where is your happy place? Maui

Describe yourself in three words: Persistent, Disciplined, Energetic

Who is your mentor for your career and why? Steve Elder, He taught me principle centered leadership

What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Leading a company begins with establishing "first principles" that become the guidelines by which we conduct ourselves. Innovation can grow a company in the short term, but culture sustains growth. Deliberate and curated leadership development is a key element to maintain an engaged workforce. Embrace your skills and chase what fulfills you.


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