Dillon Burns

Dillon Burns plans on growing his business, Anchor Fitness & Nutrition. When Dillon isn’t studying, he enjoys staying active with his family.

Get to know Dillon

  • Major: Kinesiology and health
  • Class: Senior
  • Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa (Polk County)
  • Career goal: Business owner
  • Clubs/activities: CYstarters, Okoboji Entrepreneurs Institute, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Awards/honors: Ted Bair CYstarters Award; John & Mary Pappajohn Entrepreneur Scholarship; Ethel L. Whitney Opportunity Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students
  • Favorite place on campus: Anywhere with a sauna, weight room, and a cold shower
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Marsha Wissink
  • Favorite class: KIN 358, Physiology of Exercise
  • Why Iowa State: Wanted to pursue a university education close to home

Dillon Burns balances family, business, work life as a nontraditional student

As a husband, father of three, veteran, commuter, and business owner, Dillon Burns was a highly nontraditional student who never shied away from a challenge.

Dillon is a medically-retired Navy veteran who served from 2002 to 2009. He later decided to pursue a college education, going from Des Moines Area Community College to Drake University, and ultimately earning his bachelor of science degree at Iowa State University in kinesiology and health with an emphasis in exercise science.

“The difficult part [of being a nontraditional student] was not being the typical age of a college student,” Dillon said. “Now my wife and I have three kids, and it was hard to manage everything. My adviser [Marsha Wissink] knew my history and my story, and she was by my side academically when I had my last two kids. She’s amazing.”

Dillon didn’t just want to pursue a college degree — he also wanted to start a business. He was selected to participate in the summer 2020 CYstarters program, under the Iowa State Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

During the 11-week program, Dillon was able to focus on his business ideas: Anchor Fitness & Nutrition, Anchor Kids Club, and Anchor Kids Camp. With this business, he is able to fuse his love for kinesiology and entrepreneurship together.

“[At CYstarters], I was paired with mentors,” Dillon said. “Every step of the way, peer mentors, professional mentors, and business professionals were willing to work with me hand in hand to get my ideas out there.”

Dillon started Anchor Fitness & Nutrition, an online fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle business, to help people maintain their health. The kids’ program, Anchor Kids Club, is an after-school program for the Des Moines school district that promotes physical activity, nutrition, and mindfulness. Anchor Kids Camp offers a similar program during the summer as well.

Through all of his endeavors, Dillon said his family have been a strong support system for him while he strives for professional success.

“My wife is wonderful; she works a full time job herself,” Dillon said. “With our growing family, it would be tough to do it on my own.”

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