What's Now

James Gordon, CEO: Just Saying

James Gordon, CEO

DRTers are drawn to work that matters, and we’re known for giving 150 percent. Same goes for contributing to our communities. Indeed, the desire to serve is in DRT’s DNA.

How does our company live out its pay-it-forward philosophy? How will we further our work to cultivate a culture of empathy, inclusion, and connection? Here’s how . . .

We have an entire Tiger Team, DRT Cares, devoted to service. We sponsor a monthly Perfect Match program in which the company contributes to causes YOU believe in and support. (We invite each of you to contact DRT Cares to nominate your favorite charity for support!)

We maintain a robust and longstanding relationship with the Youth Leadership Foundation (YLF) whose mission closely aligns with DRT’s values. This charity partner enables us to “give where we live” in support of children—our future leaders.

YLF serves disadvantaged youth by boosting academic performance and helping develop positive character traits. Read more about their impact in this recent Washington Post article.

The DRT team acts as mentors and sponsors of the YLF events, activities, and fundraisers including YLF Business Workshops for students, YLF’s Spirit of Service Challenge, and our annual DRT-sponsored YLF 5K Race for D.C. Kids—just around the corner this year on September 24!

In August, more than 20 Washington, D.C.-area high school students participated in the Youth Leadership Foundation’s Virtuous Leadership Academy Business Plan Competition. The five-week contest culminated at DRT headquarters with CEO James Gordon and Vice President Anton Pototski serving as guest judges for the final presentations. Special thanks to DRT Cares co-chairs Anne Painter and Chrystal Walker as well as Jacalyn Hartmann, Chris Kalinowski, Clara Hickerson, and all who coordinated and volunteered for this incredible event.

This is the 10th year DRT has sponsored the Race for D.C. Kids—and this year, DRT has four teams racing and vying for support: DRT HQ  with captain Chrystal Walker;  FDA with captain Kate Bradley; USDA with captain Greg Schwarz; and CDC with captain Amalia Mendes. It’s a company wide event so all DRTers can participate as well as friends and family, committing dollars and momentum to the cause.

Sign up here to walk, run, cheer others on, and donate to support D.C.’s young leaders! Can’t wait to see you all come out en masse at Bluemont Park — and virtually leading up to the event.

More opportunities to serve are coming! DRT Cares will soon turn its attention to holiday giving activities with details coming soon.

Overall, I’ve directed leadership to move ahead on several pay-it-forward fronts:

  • Expanding DRT Cares and DRT Life initiatives to enhance our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts,
  • Developing an Environmental Social Governance (ESG) framework to measure our efforts and hold ourselves accountable to these commitments,
  • Reinforcing our commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and programs.

Not only are these the right things to do, but these cultural elements and programs will elevate DRT’s position as a top employer of choice and a great place to work.  New employee Kristin Hanna (featured below) says, “I wouldn’t work for a company that didn’t give back.” The spirit of giving helped draw her to DRT—and will draw other service-minded, talented professionals to us as well.

DRTers on The Spirit of Giving

Wayne Fong & DRT Life Play Sommelier

In July, DRT Life hosted its infamous and highly popular wine event, bringing DRTers together to sniff, swirl, and toast in-person fun. At left, Stephanie Dromerick and Carolyn Richelmi were among those treated to Managing Director Wayne Fong’s expert tasting tips. Wayne first became interested in wine as a student at University of California, Berkeley, when fellow students with cars took him along on road trips to Napa Valley. He’s helped host this wine event at DRT since he joined the company in 2014, with a little time off during the pandemic.

Bringing varietals from Chile, France, Austria, New Zealand, Argentina, Israel, and Italy for guests to sample, Wayne says, “I always include information in my presentation not just about the wine itself but about the region and the climate. In this way, wine tasting is akin to travel which we all appreciate more these days.”

Thanks to Wayne and the DRT Life event organizers, (left to right) Jonathon Shacat, David Du, Steve Page, Wayne, Chris Kalinowski, Lana Bian, Wesley Callahan, Valinder Mangat, James Gordon, Tracy Rudy, Erica Boehm, James Ebersole, Haru Kato, Paul Shatlock, Katelyn Wakefield, Melissa Carroll, Elizabeth Hayes, Ritu Moitra, and Megan Peach were among those enjoying the wine “travel.” (Anton Pototski served as the photographer.)

What's New: Kristen Hanna

Four weeks into her tenure, The DiRT checked in with Kristen Hanna (pictured here with her dog Trey in Old Town Alexandria) to grasp her new role as Talent Development Manager. And to hear her enthusiasm for all things autumn!

Q. Welcome to DRT. Tell us about the work you’re embarking on.

A. My primary role will be to cultivate the skills of employees. To work with leadership to create employee learning and development initiatives. And to align us with DRT’s core values: teamwork, delivering quality, people first, a passion for growth, among others.

Q. What can DRTers expect when they devote time to talent development?

A. They can count on me to create fun and engaging programs, never stuffy or boring. But even when a training is memorable, folks can’t be expected to retain all the information. I try to include pearls that DRTers can apply to their jobs immediately and use follow-up sessions to reinforce other elements.

Q. DRT is known for its talent. What have you observed so far that distinguishes DRTers?

A. Throughout the interview process, the thing that struck me was how authentically kind and friendly everyone was. That’s just who DRTers are. The fact that employees are so willing to collaborate, to the point that they will expand their skill sets on Tiger Teams, is remarkable.

Q. Our in-person social skills are a bit rusty. Tips on easing introductions and interactions?

A. We are all feeling that awkwardness, getting used to being in-office again. Focus on putting others at ease. I like to give people my full attention—to make eye contact. Don’t dive right into business. Instead, simply ask, “How are you? How was your weekend?”

Q. This or that: Corn maze or haunted house? Pumpkin spice or mulled cider? Candy corn or caramel apple?

A. I absolutely love fall—my favorite season. Corn maze, all the way. I’m obsessed with everything pumpkin spice. And caramel apples from our farmers’ market, they are a must!

DRTers Return to Travel with Bonus Trips

Mexican vacation with stepdad

mayan ruins

DRTer Bill Boemanns took a break from his work with the CDC’s Information Resources Office recently to enjoy a DRT bonus trip. “My dad passed away in February, so it was a good time to take my stepfather (my parents divorced when I was young) on a cruise, underscoring his importance to me as a father as well.” Departing from New Orleans on Father’s Day, they toured Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico. They visited the Altun Ha Archaeological Site (pictured right), built by Mayans in 200 B.C. and populated by as many as 10,000 inhabitants. “I’m so appreciative to DRT for that opportunity.”


family at science museum

IT SME Shailesh Dharavane left his work at the CDC behind, embarking on a sprawling New England journey with his family with his five-year loyalty bonus. “It helped us forget the struggle and restrictions of the pandemic and recharge ourselves for the new beginning with fully restored stamina, healthy body, and clear mind.” Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in Vermont (left) and the science museum in Boston (right) were among their adventures.

family in maui

Maui trees

Destination? Maui! Atlanta-based DRTer Matthew Smith and his family want to say “Aloha” and thanks for the loyalty bonus trip they enjoyed in June. They most enjoyed their time in the water—particularly at Honolua Bay, the spot of some of the best snorkeling on the island. This gorgeous greenery greeted them on the access trail to the bay.

What's Next: Important DRT Dates


All Month: Donate to DRT Cares’ Perfect Match: Leukemia Lymphoma Society, dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other blood cancers. Sponsored by DRTer Wanda Gilliard. Email DRT Cares so DRT can match your donation.

Saturday, September 10, DRT Life presents Washington Spirit v. San Diego Wave, 1 PM ET

Thursday, September 15, DRT Life presents a Virtual Scavenger Hunt, details TBD

Friday, September 23, New Associate Training Engagement (NATE), Location TBD

Saturday, September 24, 8 AM Registration/9 AM Race, DRT Cares presents YLF 5K Race for D.C. Kids. Sign up/donate here.

Monday, September 26, DRT Headquarters closes for office move (Move into new office will be in mid-November)


All Month: Donate to DRT Cares: A Perfect Match, this month a breast cancer charity (TBA) sponsored by Chrystal Walker. Email DRT Cares so DRT can match your donation.

Friday, October 28, New Employee Orientation (Tentative)