Walter Dennard III
Raised by a single mom who served for 40 years as a parole officer, DRT’s Walter Dennard says hard work and determination were modeled for him from an early age. His mom’s fortitude, rising through the ranks to become the head of New York state’s parole system, inspired Dennard to pursue a career in the U.S. Army. “Boot camp was easy for me because I grew up with my own personal drill sergeant,” he laughs.
Dennard enlisted, eager to travel and experience different cultures. But the most influential culture to which he was exposed was that of the military itself. “In the service, we operate as one unit towards the same goal. We became a complete brotherhood and sisterhood. The only color we knew was green.”
Dennard served in many capacities in Army, from Master Gunner to Tank Commander, from Drill Sergeant to Secondary Military Police. He fought in both Desert Storm and in the Iraq war. His proudest moments? He was meritoriously promoted twice -- to Sergeant (E5) and to Staff Sergeant (E6), on the heels of being named soldier of the year at Camp Casey in South Korea.
In 1983, while stationed in Korea, Dennard nearly died when a cinder block pushed from the top of a building hit him and split open his skull. To be medivacked to Seoul for treatment, Dennard needed someone to accompany him – on the helicopter at night in dangerous weather. His commanding officer, Sergeant Major Stanley Mack, volunteered, saying, “If I die, I die with my soldier.”
Sergeant Major Mack became a role model for Dennard in his 20 years of military duty. “He always treated soldiers with respect. He led from the front, and made going into combat much easier as he had been in the battlefield 12 times himself.”
As an Army recruiter, Dennard broke records, attracting more enlistees in one year than previous recruiters had in five years. He brings this recruitment savvy to DRT, serving as the account manager for the company’s Center for Disease Control contracts in Atlanta. “It’s a culture shock, leaving the military. But when I encounter soldiers making the transition to civilian life, I encourage them to hold onto their military ethic – to the values and morals they developed in service to their country.”
Dennard says DRT’s CEO Susan Kidd demonstrates the same qualities he admired about the senior leaders in the military. “She works hard towards the mission of driving resolution together. She leads from the front and cares deeply about her employees.”