From Soap Star to CEO
Like the old saying goes...when you’re handed a lemon, make lemonade. And that’s exactly what Daniel Markel (ex-David Stenbeck) of As The World Turns did.
When he was handed his walking papers eight years ago from the show, unlike most actors that would sit and ponder what their next acting gig would be, he polished his entrepreneurial skills, packed his bags, headed west and became CEO of his own company.
“I never looked back with any regrets on my decision. I think this was meant to be, and now when I look back the powers that be (at ATWT) did me a favor,” Markel said. “I just love what I’m doing with my life, because really this is something I always wanted to do.”
Markel, along with partner Tom Gallop (who also had an acting career) co-founded the DT Group (named after their initials), a real estate company in Southern California that offers brokerage, mortgage, and broker/dealer services.
The DT Group began as a syndication group in 1996 purchasing Southern California real estate for private investors. Markel’s goal for the business was to provide family and friends with a way to earn passive income through real estate investments. He primarily does the buying, and the brokerage department does the selling.
Markel’s family is involved in the business. His wife, Kathleen, does the interior designing in many of the buildings, and on Sunday’s the family spends the day driving around looking for more property.
The DT Group’s current project is a hotel/condo development in Studio City, California., and a high profile loft conversion in North Hollywood, California.. They are also acquiring 400 apartment complexes in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The DT Group continues to acquire property for investments, but has diversified its private partnership offerings to include land deals, redevelopments, and properties throughout the United States.
“This is something I’m really into,” admitted Markel. “Even during As The World Turns and in between acting gigs I was buying beat up buildings, fixing and selling,” Markel said. “One day it hit! I thought...boy I can take this to the next level.”
Markel began working for the Morgan Stanley Company right after As The World Turns and said, “It was the best training ground. It taught me how to handle people’s money.”
Markel saw an opportunity that was too great, and being an entrepreneur at heart, he expanded into the DT Group and wanted to control his own destiny.
“I’m a very goal-driven person. I have plans,” Markel said. “You know, people can talk all day, but one must execute and be daring on taking a chance.”
As for an acting career? Markel said he doesn’t want to come off sounding negative and he has tons of respect for daytime TV actors, especially his As The World Turns cohorts adding, “It’s really a tough job, and I admire the people in it. It takes courage to be in it, and courage to get out. But I realized this (business) is my life. I did acting as a job to live like everyone else has a job.”
Prior to As The World Turns, Markel was Sam Fowler in Another World (1990-1991), and was seen in the films Dark Angel: The Ascent, and Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor story, playing a wilding son, to name a few.
Soapdom wants to know if you would ever consider going back on a soap? “I can answer that quickly. Never!” Markel snapped. “I need to be my own boss. Do things my way and for myself. The only time I’d consider getting back into the business would be maybe to produce, and that’s a big maybe.”
However, Markel looks back with fond memories on As The World Turns, and said the hardest part was leaving friends behind. He still keeps in contact with a few stars, and frequently hears from Jon Hensley (Holden), and he loved working with Michael Park (Jack). His favorite storyline was just being James’ (Anthony Herrera) son. “Think of the power!”
“But I really had to look at things realistically. I’m 41 years-old with four kids. In that position, one must have a paycheck,” Markel said. “With acting, it’s a business of not knowing. That’s the pros and cons between the two careers.”
When As The World Turns gave him the pink slip, Markel admitted, he was stunned. And so were his co-stars. “I was told it’s storyline dictated. Yet the character was hot and a fan favorite. So go figure,” he said. “I admit I wasn’t fond of the way the character developed. I was disillusioned at the things the character had to do, but all in all, it was fun. I will tell you that they (ATWT) are the greatest people, but as a person I’ve grown beyond. I didn’t want to be in that situation of not knowing again.”
Markel stressed the importance of a good education. Having completed under-graduate studies at Loyola Marymount, and graduate studies from New York University, he noted that despite his success, everyone needs an education and should pursue it. “The whole world is based on business, even acting is a business,” he said.
Markel is flattered that long time As The World Turns viewers still remember him. “I really appreciate everyone’s interest in me. I’m a long way from David, and am really enjoying myself. Stop by and come see my properties. I’ll even personally sign an autograph,” he joked.
In his spare time his hobbies include playing lots of golf, being a dad, and raising a New Foundland puppy. For more on Markel and his company visit http://www.thedtgroup.com
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