Dean was born in Wahoo, Nebraska and spent his early years living on a farm. When he was five, his family moved to Fremont, Nebraska. Growing up in the Midwest gave him an appreciation for the simple things in life.
Dean graduated from Wayne State College earning a degree in Biology, with minors in Earth Science and Art. After graduating, he worked in the administration of Wayne State College as the Assistant to the President before moving on to Purina Mills. Eventually this path led him to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where he was employed in sales and marketing for 10 years.
After a great deal of soul searching, Dean left the security of corporate America and decided to pursue other dreams. This was the beginning of a process that would lead to a traveling adventure that would initially span twenty-two and half months and cover twenty-eight countries. He's still travelling and has visited over 50 countries around the globe.
"You give children hope. You help boys and girls (and fraternity boys!) realize it is reasonable to dream. You show the child who is afraid that their current life is all that is possible; there are alternatives.. Just imagine the tiny hearts that, for the first time, believe something wonderful could happen to them!”
Debra Mullen, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Taking photos became a natural expression of the journey for Dean as he documented and verified the common ground of our humanity. To Dean, photography is a discovery process where something extraordinary can be found within the confines of ordinary life.
Dean's goal is to share his stories with hopes to change his audiences’ perspective about the people and cultures in the world, while also helping them remember their dreams. Ultimately, his mission is the same for everyone he meets; “Which story do you want to write about your life? It’s your choice. If you can’t find anything good, you be the change.”
These days, when Dean is not traveling, he keeps busy as a contributing newspaper columnist, photojournalist, children’s book author, and keynote presenter across the country.