SEBASTOPOL – Dan Eichhorn may have studied finance in college, but it was through a side job that he established a connection to his future profession. “While attending CSU Chico, I supported myself by working on a boat that belonged to one of the Lake Tahoe casinos,” he explains. “During that time, I became acquainted with a regular who happened to own a mortgage company. I told him I was going to work for him after I graduated, and that’s exactly what happened.” After getting his foot in the door, Dan spent the next several years gaining valuable industry experience before founding his own mortgage firm in 1990.
Today, as owner of West-Cal Mortgage, Dan says his favorite part of his job is facilitating life-changing transitions for his clients. “I really enjoy helping a first-time buyer get their first house. As a mortgage broker, I get many different kinds of clients, but there’s something about working with first-time buyers that’s especially satisfying. It’s probably because it’s a big deal for them—a real life-changer.”
A resident of Sonoma County (where he lives with his wife, Julie Leveque, and their children), Dan likes to spend his time outside of work getting his hands dirty. “We have a five-acre farm, where I enjoy working and growing my own food,” he says. “I also like working on my ’53 Dodge Power Wagon, which I’m in the process of restoring. Additionally, I’m an avid cyclist—I actually used to race bicycles when I was in college.”
In his life and career, Dan espouses the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. “As a business owner, a husband and a father, it’s always a challenge to balance work and family,” he says. “In my line of work, it’s easy to become a workaholic, but when you’re raising kids, sometimes you have to know when to shut off the ‘dumb phone.’ At the end of the day, I think maintaining that balance makes you a better partner, parent and businessperson. Otherwise, you just get burnt out.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Dan says he’d get his auto restoration project ready for the road. “I’d finish restoring my Power Wagon and drive it to Alaska. It’ll basically be a new truck when I’m done with it, with a new engine and transmission, so it should have no trouble handling a big road trip like that.”