Little 10-year-old Dean Sandros, now 33, dressed to impress in a suit and tie, spent a day at the office with his Uncle Dennis who was general counsel for a firm, and it changed his life. “That day made a huge impact on me,” he says. “I thought, ‘I want to have an office like Uncle Dennis when I grow up.’” For a boy from the rural, orchard-heavy Yakima Valley in Washington, he couldn’t help but notice that his uncle worked in a very nice office and had a nice home. “I connected the dots,” says Sandros. “I decided then that I wanted to get into business.”
To meet his goal, Sandros became a serious student – a National Merit Scholar – in high school, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He worked hard and he played hard, too, earning the title of Most Valuable Player on his varsity soccer team.
His drive and excellent academic record won him a full-ride scholarship to Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. He completed his degree in business administration in three years. “I had one year left on my scholarship, and I always loved accounting and numbers, so I finished a second degree in accounting and finance my senior year,” Sandros says. “That year I was also asked to interview with Deloitte & Touche, and during the interview, they offered me a job.”
Since 2007, Sandros has been a CPA with United Heritage Financial Group in Meridian. He began there as a senior accountant and has risen quickly through the ranks to his position today, director of investment accounting and assistant portfolio manager.
He credits his rise with the company to hard work and strong mentors. Those same co-workers and mentors use these words to describe Sandros: bright, driven, energetic, engaging. They say he is a man of character and integrity who is always encouraging others to be the best they can be.
An avid mountain biker and competitor on the Kore North Enduro Team, Sandros gives back by serving as a coach and mentor to younger mountain bikers throughout the Boise Valley.
“I’ve been mountain biking for about eight years. I love the feeling when you’re just flying down a trail and you don’t have a care in the world. It’s euphoric.” To help restore and maintain the trails he was using – and to create new ones – Sandros and a coworker decided to design a specialty license plate whose sale would generate funds to build and maintain trails all over Idaho. To date, the plates have raised nearly $100,000 for the cause.
In his spare time, Sandros volunteers for United Way of Treasure Valley, Camp Rainbow Gold, and Rockharbor Church. His focus is on fundraising and helping to inspire young professionals to get involved in philanthropy by giving to charitable organizations that matter to them.
Sandros met his wife-to-be, Teresa, when they were in business school together at NNU. They now have two sons, Carter, 5, and Owen, 2. “Our family time usually involves biking together on the greenbelt.”
Most memorable airplane trip: “When I was just two years out of college, I flew to Qatar in the middle east where I was auditing a sulfur plant. On my way there, I was upgraded to first class on Qatar Airways. I’m telling you, it is a whole different level of opulence on the airlines there! It was the first time in my life I didn’t fly coach and the first time my eyes were opened to how amazing air travel could be. There was a separate terminal just for first class passengers. We went through a fantastic food buffet, they offered us drinks, and then we boarded the plane where they started us off with caviar and champagne. They had the beds laid out and everything. And when we took off, it didn’t even feel like we were flying. As a 22-year-old, it didn’t feel real.”