Nick Huber ’12 and Dan Hagberg ’12 came to Cornell with the same plan as many athletes — to run track for four years, graduate and move on to professional jobs. Little did they know that one summer, in 2011, an opportunity to help some friends would arise out of nowhere and would shape their careers after graduation in a different path than most of their ILR classmates.
“We started in the summer of 2011 at Cornell and it was kind of a last second start. We realized that a lot of our friends were looking for summer storage in the Ithaca area and we had a lease for our apartments and we weren’t going to be in town. So we filled up our rooms and locked our doors with all of our friend’s belongings over the summer,” Huber said. “Then we got serious about it for the next year. That’s when we built our website, got our insurance, rented a warehouse and we ended up storing for about 250 clients in Ithaca.”
The small-time operation, now called Storage Squad, worked so well that summer that the two student-athletes looked to continue it into the following year. Balancing running, being senior captains, ILR coursework and the startup of their company, the duo was more than busy. But that didn’t seem to stop them in the slightest.
To add to their list of accomplishments, as they finished out senior year, the two combined for multiple Cornell schools records, as well as Ivy titles and National finishes.
In his final year with the Red, Huber finished fourth in the 110 hurdles, fifth in the high jump and again claimed a title by winning the decathlon with a school-record 7,632 points at the Outdoor Heps, earning him a spot in the NCAA Championships. He placed 11th in the country and left Cornell as the school record holder in the pentathlon (3,707), heptathlon (5,550) and decathlon (7,632).
“I ended up having a lot of fun with track. I came as one of the last guys who was recruited on the team. I was a hurdler, but then I got to Cornell and with training and my teammates around me, I got a lot better. I ended up with four school records at Cornell and was a two-time All-American,” Huber said. “That kind of really boosted me in entrepreneurship. It made me better in leadership and more confident in my social skills and my abilities on and off the track. It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”
Hagberg’s journey was just as impressive, as he won the 60-meter hurdles championship at the Indoor Heps. At the Penn Relays, he took 21st in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.42 seconds. He then won the 110 hurdles at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships and was sixth in the 110 hurdles preliminaries at the IC4As. Hagberg also earned a spot in the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Fla., but did not compete because it conflicted with Cornell’s graduation. His 60-hurdles best of 7.98 seconds is the second-best time in school history. He also has the fifth-best 110 hurdles time at Cornell with a time of 14.21 seconds.
“Track was an amazing experience. I absolutely loved it. It really made you focus on time management and those skills. It was very big for us. Instead of having that downtime to go and watch T.V., Nick and I would be working on Storage Squad. It personally developed my leadership skills a lot,” Hagberg said. “Nick and I were both captains of the team and it helped learning how to manage people.”
As both Huber and Hagberg walked across the stage and received their Cornell diplomas, the duo was ready to continue their operations full-time and make entrepreneurship part of their daily lives.
“Right now, we moved to Chicago where we work on the business full-time and have an office here,” Huber said. “We have 25 big schools and about 20 secondary schools which are in the same cities as our main schools … [Overall] we will probably have around 150 employees this season.”
Since its start in 2011, Storage Squad has expanded from initially just Cornell to 46 schools all over the country, including ones in big cities such as Boston and Philadelphia. The two Cornellians say what sets them apart from other storage companies is that they really focus on keeping overhead costs low, so that the price that the consumer will pay is just as deflated. They even give free packing boxes and tape to their customers to make the storing process easier.
“We want to be more efficient than any other company and we want to be able to charge lower prices than any other company. We really take pride in our customer service. We answer phone calls in the middle of the night,” Huber said “Anybody who calls our customer service hotline gets Danny or myself. Things like that keep our overhead down, so we are able to get more security and charge less for the service and service more clients.”
Heading into the future, the team consisting of Huber, Hagberg and their Storage Squad crew have endless possibilities for expansion and growth of the company.
“There is limitless potential in terms of schools out there. We are really focused on making it affordable for everyone,” Hagberg said. “We went from seven schools last year to over 30 schools this year. We want to continue growing.”
Original Author: Haley Velasco