Daryle Doden: A Story of Transition

Ambassador Steel Corporation to Ambassador Enterprises

Daryle Doden, a lifelong entrepreneur from a modest upbringing in rural Indiana, had a passion for truth integration. He followed his father’s pastoral footsteps and served in a variety of church leadership roles after receiving his Bible degree from Moody Bible Institute and a music degree from Bethel College. However, over time, it became clear that his passion was linked to business.

In the summer of 1973, Daryle was working on a home construction project. In his need to purchase building materials to finish this project, Daryle became aware of a steel rebar shortage. Channeling his inner entrepreneur, he located and bought 5 tons of rebar from a Wisconsin supplier and had it shipped to Indiana. He kept what he needed to complete his project and sold the rest from a payphone for a substantial profit. And this is how his new company, Ambassador Steel, was born.

Daryle sought to honor God in all that he did, integrating his faith into business, building a high-performance culture, and creating an industry-known reputation for honesty. Ambassador Steel grew gradually and then rapidly. Through a series of acquisitions, calculated business decisions, a favorable market, and grit, Daryle and his business partners built Ambassador Steel into a marketplace leader.

However, during a time of success in the mid-1980s, Daryle developed a self-sufficient confidence that grew into arrogance and a condescending attitude recognized by others, but unbeknownst to himself. Despite good intentions, he often conveyed a position of superiority to others. In His mercy, God brought Daryle low through a series of events that resulted in a deep depression, battling suicidal thoughts and emotions. Broken and in need of restoration, he took eight months off from the company to seek counsel and spiritual renewal. God worked in Daryle’s life, bringing him out of his darkness and emerging from his depression stronger, with a clearer vision, and a new appreciation for people and relationships. Daryle rejoined Ambassador Steel with renewed purpose. He again invested his free time by serving on boards, leading within his church, and assuming leadership roles within the marketplace. And he used what God was teaching him to help others.

Ambassador Steel continued to grow over the next few decades and became the largest independent rebar fabricator and distributor in the United States. However, as the steel industry continued to change, Daryle saw the strategic necessity to sell his company amid market consolidation. In 2006, he successfully sold Ambassador Steel to Harris Nucor. But Daryle was not content to retire to a beach—he had an enduring mission to integrate truth into life. He invested in his passion for personal growth and marketplace impact by creating a new venture, Ambassador Enterprises (AE). He established AE as a legacy-minded private equity firm investing for strategic impact and as a learning lab where innovation is intentionally researched, incubated, and developed. AE was architected with a unique investment philosophy that focuses on Three Returns—financial, cultural, and eternal.

Daryle is heavily involved in leading AE while sharing his love for God, his enthusiasm for business, and his relentless pursuit of the betterment of mankind. As a company driven by people, partners, and performance, AE invests in and builds companies and leaders that impact communities. Together, Daryle and the AE team learn and collaborate with a focus on cultivating the legacies of its companies. Faithful to his life-calling, Daryle has worked tirelessly to build an organization driven not just by financial success, but also by personal and professional growth, community transformation, and honoring God.

Ambassador Enterprises 100-Year Legacy Plan

Ambassador Enterprises (AE) founder, Daryle Doden, has always been a visionary. Knowing his time with AE would eventually conclude, he envisioned a plan for AE to continue legacy-minded investing by future generations. This plan, the Ambassador Enterprises 100-Year Legacy Plan, is a pioneering concept combining the innovation and sustainability of free enterprise with the benefits of impact investing, aimed at addressing systemic societal problems with sustainable strategic solutions.

Planted in Daryle’s heart, the Legacy Plan is a strategic vision for building an investing infrastructure for three returns—financial, cultural, and eternal. Those intentionally working on the plan operate for the present while continuing to build for the future. Daryle and AE anticipate that effective planning, strategic adaptation, and multi-generational teamwork will position this vision to become a reality, allowing for financial sustainability, changed lives, and the building of God’s kingdom.

Playing a pivotal role in the Legacy Plan is The Doden Legacy Trust, established in 2017. The DLT is a wealth-transfer vehicle whose long-term continuation of for-profit and impact investing continues in perpetuity. It also serves as a vehicle designed to safeguard and facilitate the Legacy Plan’s success by addressing issues of generational wealth transfer and AE leadership succession. It ensures the achievement of Daryle’s vision for improving others’ lives and advancing God’s kingdom through material and human resources necessary to continue far into the future.

Daryle and the AE team are fully aware that the future is in God’s hands—everyone and everything belongs to him. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, much less many decades from now. However, through the Ambassador Enterprises 100-Year Legacy Plan, core elements are in place for continued equity and impact investing for the glory of God.