Dan O’Connell (Indianapolis) joined Crowe’s Indianapolis North office in 2010, where he manages production and mail services. He also manages the firm’s electronic signatures and handles some facility responsibilities. From a young age, Dan has been interested in “tiki” culture, a 1950s and ‘60s retro style centered around the South Pacific. Dan has been instrumental in developing the emerging Indianapolis tiki bar scene.
Q. What was your background before coming to Crowe?
A. I studied visual communications at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and I worked in digital print and graphic design for 24 years in New York, Chicago and Indianapolis. I’ve also been involved in the local and national punk music scene for almost 30 years. From playing in bands to booking and promoting touring acts, I’ve done it all.
Q. How have you brought tiki culture to Indianapolis?
A. I was having get-togethers with friends that included classic tiki bar cocktails and listening to music in our best Aloha wear. Then we began organizing monthly tiki pop-up nights, which led to the formation of “PukaPuka,” the Indianapolis chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai (FOM), an international organization that puts on tiki benefit events for the Easter Island Foundation and other charities. I’m the vice president of our Indianapolis chapter and was previously the secretary for five years. PukaPuka was profiled earlier this year in Indianapolis Monthly Magazine.
Q. How did PukaPuka lead to opening a local bar?
A. Our chapter of the FOM got the attention of local rum connoisseurs and restauranteurs who wanted to know more about tiki. We began to share ideas and cocktail recipes at my home bar. From there, we helped the owners open Indianapolis’s first tiki bar, The Inferno Room by consulting with our knowledge of Polynesia and Tiki history. I’ve served as bartender, bar back or wherever else was needed. Now I go there as a patron.
Q: How do you bring your love of Tiki to your work life at Crowe?A. In the Production Room, people can view what I call “Mai Tiki Desk” where I have a mini tiki garden setup. It’s a way for me to bring my home life into work. Also, I like to participate in “Aloha Fridays” where I sport Aloha shirts in the office.