Every veteran who works at Suffolk has a unique story. Hear in Dave’s words how he got to where he is today.
I was in a high school assembly on Sept. 11, 2001, and a friend said a plane had just hit the Twin Towers in New York City. That started my interest in having an obligation to serve. I thought that if anyone has the ability to serve, it’s me.
I completed Officer Candidate School (OCS) while at Bowdoin College. Upon graduation, I had to make the difficult decision to accept a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marines or find a job somewhere else. My family said, “You just graduated, you have a wonderful career opportunity, why would you join the military?” I accepted an opportunity to join Suffolk as a Career Start. It was 2007 and the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. After eight months at Suffolk, I thought, “What am I doing?” I went back to OCS and spent the next 8 years in the Marines.
I spent my first year in Quantico training to become an infantry officer. I was then sent to Camp Pendleton in California to be a platoon commander and was subsequently deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2010 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. I then deployed on a U.S. Navy ship as part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2011. In this capacity, we went to ~15 countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East to conduct emergency response operations and bilateral training exercises. After my deployments, I was sent back to Quantico for three years to teach, coach and mentor future infantry officers on tactics, leadership, decision-making and weaponry.
Now, after graduate school and five years of management consulting, I’m back at Suffolk. I wanted to be in a job where you could develop and execute enterprise strategy. I use a lot of what I learned in the military: discipline, leadership from sports like lacrosse and football, and the ability to operate in an ambiguous or uncertain environment. No matter where I’ve been, I never had all the info, and that’s fine. The worst thing you can do is not act. You don’t always feel super confident, but you have to just move.
In the military, you have an unbelievably united team, and you have one mission. At the end of the day, all you have is the people to your left and your right. When you get people aligned on an objective, that’s when true action and the best in people comes out. That’s special and you don’t get that a lot of places. That was every day in the military, and I appreciate that it happens here.
Veterans are essential, valued members of the Suffolk family. If you’re interested in learning more and joining our team, click here.
Dave Donahue is the Chief of Staff to the CEO at Suffolk.