The Daily Collegian is running a weekly series this semester which profiles student leaders on campus and highlights their impact on the community. If you wish to nominate someone you feel is making a significant impact on campus, please email your suggestion to [email protected]
Derrick Andrews is a junior accounting major at the University of Massachusetts. Andrews also owns and operates his own business, Amherst iPhone Repairs, and is the vice president of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Danny Cordova: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work on campus.
Derrick Andrews: A couple of years ago, when I was a freshman, I needed my phone fixed and I went to Amherst iPhone Repairs. When I met the kid who worked there, I asked him how he got involved and how I can fix phones like he does because that was something that I really wanted to do. He was a senior and didn’t know what he was going to do with the business. I ended up buying it and took it to a new level by revamping the website, did some more marketing that almost doubled the numbers he had and expanded the business to Providence College, University of Rhode Island, Westfield State and now my little brother’s high school. So, I took something small and made it into something bigger, which was something I really wanted to do. I really love sports. I’ve played sports all of my life. I’m in a fraternity on campus, Tau Kappa Epsilon. I’m the vice president and we do a lot of community service-based projects.
DC: Can you tell me a little more about your business?
DA: My method of contact is either through my website, amherstrepairs.com, or email to set up appointments in convenient locations for (customers). I usually meet at the UMass library or I’ll pick the phone up from my client’s dorm and return it within the hour. That is how we operate our business; we pick up your phone and you get it right back on the same day. No time away from your phone; it’s really convenient for the people. A lot of people drop off their phones before class and pick it up right after class; doing whatever they want. If they have multiple problems with their phone, we would give discounts to the next repair so it’s not as expensive the next time around.
DC: What are your responsibilities in maintaining your business?
DA: I’m the only guy who really works there. So I pretty much do everything, whether it’s managing the website, managing all of my advertisement through my social media. One of my good friends, my social media girl, she pretty much does everything there. I send her pictures and tell her when to post and she does that. I do all of the repairs. I teach myself to do them all. If someone comes to me with a device that I have never seen before, then I’ll look it up to make sure I know exactly what I am going to be doing and what’s going on. I like to have a good grasp on what I am doing because if I don’t, then it’s not going to produce good business.
DC: What is your vision of the business for a couple of years down the line?
DA: My vision at the start was to take something that already existed and expand it outwards. I have already established the business at Westfield State, URI and Providence College. One thing that I could see myself doing is creating the parent company to have more students in colleges contact me so I could set up programs for them to start the business (on) their campuses. I could see that happening in the future.
DC: Getting right to your campus involvement, you mentioned that you were involved with Tau Kappa Epsilon. Could you tell me more about that experience?
DA: It has been the best experience of my college career. It has given me a home on campus. It has given me a friend group that I can trust. It has given me opportunities to reach out to the community in a way I wouldn’t have done before. We work with the Amherst Survival Center. We do a lot of work for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which is a great cause. We also do a lot of personal fundraising so we don’t have to spend too much money off of our pockets. On the 28th of September, we are going to have a car smash, so we are going to bring our car on campus and take a whack at it. Donations are going to the St. Jude Children’s hospital. It’s been a great experience; it has given me more leadership qualities about myself than I could have imagined getting out of a college organization. I am the vice president now. This summer, the organization sent me to Colorado where I met up with 72 different chapters across the country and participated in leadership training. We went through different workshops to help develop our leadership and management abilities. It was especially helpful for me going into my business field and being an organizational leader.
DC: As vice president of Tau Kappa Epsilon, what are your responsibilities?
DA: Our president takes care of our officers and then we have chair members do different things like run fundraising, social, academic events. I am in charge of all the committees. I am pretty much the co-chair of the committees and I help out with the president when he needs help with the different officer positions. Another thing that I do, which is not really a responsibility of mine, is getting my hands in everything I can and make sure everything is going smooth because your name is on everything when you’re on top of the pack.
DC: How did your involvement on campus help you grow personally?
DA: The experience formed me more as a person because when I walk around, I could walk around knowing that this is a place where I belong. People recognize and accept me. The greatest feeling is when someone comes up to me and says, “Hey, you’re the iPhone guy” or, “You’re the guy who fixed my phone.” It’s reaching out and making a brand for yourself on campus. It’s really satisfying knowing that people can come up to you and say those sorts of things. It gives you more of a community base and you’re giving something back and they appreciate it.
DC: Any plans for the future?
DA: Mainly the iPhone repair business. It’s just a college thing for me to make money to pay off student loans. But now that I started to expand the business, I’m going to see where the next two years take me with the four other businesses I’ve started in four different campuses. If they do really well, then I could see myself trying to further expand it into an actual organization that I could call my own. As of right now, it seems like I’m on a two-year plan to make my money while I’m here and sell these businesses when I graduate. As far as my career afterwards, I am studying accounting right now, and I really enjoy it. I definitely see myself starting a firm some point in the future.
DC: Are there anymore plans to give back to the community?
DA: With the fraternity, we do a lot to help out the community. There is much time for other stuff outside the organization. For instance, reaching out and talking to the newspaper has given me the opportunity to reach out to a good community, getting my name out and hoping to meet some new people.
DC: How would you encourage other students to give back to the community?
DA: Find your niche. Figure out how to be happy. If you find something that makes you happy, then do it. If you haven’t found something that makes you happy, try making others happy because a lot of times you’ll find even more happiness by helping out others. If you want to get more involved in the community, the biggest thing you could do is ask questions, ask questions, and ask questions. The only reason why I still have my business is because I asked a guy how to fix iPhones. If you want to change your life in a drastic way, reach out and ask questions. Other people have the answer and you just need to find what satisfies you.