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Giving back to the next generation

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

The SAME Leadership Lab

The SAME Leadership Lab

On Monday, November 16, members of the Society of American Military Engineers’ “Leadership Lab” program and their guests heard Maj. Gen. Todd Semonite, USA, speak about the importance of having and implementing a vision, and being a role model for others.

He also encouraged young members to go after the challenging jobs that provide the best opportunity to learn new skills.  This requires one to accept some risk but as long as you surround yourself with talented people and experts required for the mission, you will not fail.

He also emphasized that leaders need to have positive energy and transfer that energy to others, even when times are tough.

For Dawson & Associates and especially our colleague Bob Wolff, this event was the culmination of a year-long program to instill leadership values and experience in the next generation of military and industry engineers. Bob spent 24 years as an Army and Air Force engineer and, after retiring from the government, served as head of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).

D&A Senior Advisor Bob Wolff

D&A Senior Advisor Bob Wolff

Last January, Bob began working with SAME’s Washington D.C. Post to create opportunities for SAME Young Members (under age 40) to receive leadership training from SAME Fellows and other senior military and industry leaders. Ten members from the Post were selected for the program and the group met once a month for 2.5 hours to discuss leadership concepts and hear from military and civilian leaders.

This group of young engineers included four Air Force engineers, one engineer each from the Navy and Coast Guard, and four professionals from the private sector.  Companies represented included SCS Engineers, A Morton Thomas, Woods+Peacock Engineering Consultants, and Advanced Drainage Systems.

One of the participants, Navy Lieutenant Mike Berl, spoke about Leadership Lab and the incredible opportunity it offered to interact in a meaningful way with a cross-section of military and civilian peers while learning from numerous accomplished senior leaders across the engineering community.

I was honored to represent Dawson & Associates at Monday’s dinner. Those young leaders were all remarkable men and women – with brilliant futures ahead of them.

Don Riley Senior Vice President


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