Dean Furness ’94 is a business systems consultant at Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Iowa, brother of Kelly Furness ’96 and father of Raigen Furness ’20. He lives in St. Charles, Iowa, served on the school board of the Martensdale-St. Marys Community School District in Martensdale, Iowa, for eight years and coaches high school girls basketball and boys football. A lifelong athlete, he ran track and played football at Central.
Rendered a paraplegic following a farming accident in 2011, he’s currently a wheelchair athlete who has completed seven marathons — including the Chicago and Boston marathons — and more than 10 half-marathons. He’s also a motivational speaker who shares his perspective about “grit, determination and what it takes to keep moving through daily challenges.” His recent TED@ WellsFargo talk, above, about overcoming challenges and resetting your personal average received more than 630,000 views in the first nine days it was posted. “In school with our test scores and today with our salaries and job performance, it seems as if those personal averages are almost always used to measure where we are in comparison to our peers,” Furness says in his talk. “I think we should look at that a little differently. That personal average is very personal, it’s for you. And I think if you focus on that and work to build that you can really start to accomplish some really amazing things.”