1971 Anderson starts first selling business at age 18 and promptly fails.
1972 Anderson start second business wholesaling plants to florists in the Chicagoland area. By time he is 21, he secures all Chicagoland Sears stores and every major retail florist account in Chicago and goes bankrupt in 1979.
1977 Anderson participated in President Carter’s Task Force to study “The Problems of Minorities in Small Business,” and participated in round table discussions sponsored by the Small Business Administration
1979 Anderson joined the sales force of a major Fortune 500 company. In one year he took the last place territory of 12 states to Number One by bringing in over $1,250,000 in sales the last 6 months of the year.
1982 Anderson was hired to put together a team responsible for turning losing businesses into profitable and stable businesses for the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa Reservation. Under his leadership, gross revenues were increased from $3,9000,000 to $8,000,000. This effort was recognized by President Reagan’s Commission on Indian Reservation Economies.
1983 Anderson was named to a National Task Force on Reservation Gaming by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C.
1983 Anderson was appointed to The Council on Minority Business Development for the State of Wisconsin by Governor Earl.
1984 Anderson was appointed to The Wisconsin Council of Tourism by Governor Earl.
1985 Anderson was named a Bush Leadership Fellow by the Bush Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota, recognizing him for a lifetime of outstanding achievement.
June, 1986 Anderson earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. (without having an undergraduate degree!).
1989 Anderson formed a management and investment company specializing in emerging gaming markets. In the March, 1997 issue of Fortune Magazine, this company was recognized as “The Fastest Growing Company in America.”
1994 Anderson was an original investor in The Rainforest Café and served on their board of directors, a highly successful restaurant company that was recognized as one of the “Hottest Concepts in America.”
1994 Pursuing his life-long passion, Anderson opened his first Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack in Hayward, Wisconsin, on Round Lake. The BBQ Shacks are reminiscent of the old- fashioned BBQ joints popular across the country 50 years ago, featuring slow-smoked ribs along with Dave’s own secret BBQ sauces. The restaurant was an instant success, serving up to 8000 people a week in a town of only 1800!
October 1995 Famous Dave’s BBQ was awarded the Blue Ribbon “Best BBQ Sauce in America” in the mild-sauce division at the prestigious American Royal International Barbecue Contest. In December, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine named Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack “Best Barbecue Joint” in the Twin Cities.
October 1996 Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. announced its Initial Public Offering, opening at $6.25 on the NASDAQ market.
May 1997 Nations Restaurant News recognized Famous Dave’s restaurants as one of the “Hottest Concepts in America” for originality, and innovation in menu, décor, service, as well as strong consumer approval.
June 1997 Ernst & Young, sponsored by NASDAQ and USA Today, recognized Dave Anderson as Minnesota and Dakota’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. The Entrepreneur of the Year program honors and recognizes entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success through innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their business and community.
March 1998 Anderson named Restaurateur of the Year by Mpls. St. Paul Magazine.
April 1998 Zig Ziglar, world-renowned motivational speaker and author of “See You at the Top,” dedicated his “Success for Dummies” book to Dave Anderson. “Success for Dummies” is one of a series of the highly successful “Dummies” books by IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. Dave’s “Against All Odds” life story is featured in this best selling book.
January 1999 The Anderson Family established The LifeSkills Center for Leadership with a $1,400,000 gift. This fund was created to help disadvantaged Native American Children.
March 1999 Famous Dave’s recognized for being in the “Top 10” restaurants out of the “Super 1000” restaurants in Minnesota! Mpls/St. Paul Magazine.
March 1999 Anderson’s new cookbook, “Famous Dave’s Backroads & Sidestreets”, was released with all proceeds being donated to help disadvantaged Native American children.
December 1999 “Famous Dave’s Backroads & Sidestreets” wins the National Barbecue Associations “Award of Excellence” for being the “Best New Barbecue/Grill Cookbook!”
May 2000 Dave’s success story of overcoming major adversities and failures is featured by New York Times best selling author on leadership, John C. Maxwell in his newest book “Failing Forward”.
November 2000 Famous Dave’s awarded “Top Gun” by the Neighborhood Marketing Institute for aggressive in-store marketing at the 2000 Marketing War College. 1999 to 2000 in-store marketing efforts resulted in 47% increase in sales, 8.5% average increase in comparable store sales, and an overall 300% increase in profits.
2001 - Nominee for the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award.
January 10, 2002 Honored as an Olympic Torch carrier for the 2002 Winter Olympics held at Salt Lake City, Utah.
February 2, 2002- Receives the Odyssey Award by Big Brothers Big Sisters for significant contributions to his profession and the community either as mentors or in service to youth.
April 1, 2002 Dave receives Oprah’s Angel Network Award for continuing leadership development work with at-risk Native American youth.
July 3, 2002 President Bush appoints Dave to the President’s Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities.
May 2003 Dave receives Nightingale-Conant coveted “Acres of Diamonds” Award in recognition of his personal commitment for helping others find their own “Acres of Diamonds!”.
December 2003 President Bush appoints Dave ninth Assistant Secretary for the US Department of the Interior for Indian Affairs and confirmed by a full US Senate vote. Dave is responsible for a $2 billion dollar budget and over 10,000 employees.
May 2004 Northland College presents Dave an Honorary Doctorate Degree for his commitment to public service.
2004 Anderson’s book Famous Dave’s LifeSkills for Success is published with all proceeds being donated to the LifeSkills Center for Leadership.
January 2005 Dave is chosen Grand Marshall for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Parade.
April 30, 2005 The Boys and Girls Clubs of America appoints Dave to the Board of Governors.
May 12, 2005 Northland College appoints Dave to the Board of Trustees
2005 2006 - Board member, Minnesota Teen Challenge.
March 2006 Keynote Speaker for the Montana Governor’s Prayer Breakfast
December 2006 Minnesota Entrepreneurs’ Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
January 2007 Northwood University Outstanding Business Leader Award
April 2007 Anderson is featured on the cover of the Twin Cities Business for his new entrepreneurial adventure KeyLime Cove Resort.
February 29, 2008 Anderson opens KeyLime Cove Water Resort and believes this new concept will “Revolutionize the way America vacations!”.
March 2008 Receives the Urban Financial Services Coalition’s Living Legend Award.
September 2008 Launched his DVD BBQ Pitmaster Secrets Revealed!
January 2009 Keynote Speaker for The South Dakota’s Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.