Fortifying Concurrent Careers
Military training helps alumnus succeed in business
By Eleanor Hunt
When Dane Harris saw a young Marine decked out in a crisp military uniform, he knew what he wanted to be. So after finishing his junior year at Baylor in 1988, he tried to enlist with the Marine Corps. Denied entry, he signed up with the U.S. Army, and that began his 30-year career as a reservist.
“Someone in my family served in every U.S. conflict, dating back to a lieutenant colonel who was with General Washington at Valley Forge,” Harris said. “I believe the call to service is genetic for me.”
Harris completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, and returned to Baylor in the fall to finish his bachelor’s in Business Administration. He continued participating in Army drills on the weekends.
“My Baylor experience gave me a good Christian-based education and dear friends,” Harris said.
Still a military reservist after graduating in May 1989, Harris took a full-time sales position in Houston, which led to a professional services career with global companies Intel, IBM and Accenture.
Dan Harris, BBA ’88
Executive Vice President, Strategy & Growth; Wen Corp
While employed in information technology, he received a medical services commission from the Army in 2005. His unit’s primary mission was to get casualties off the battlefield and medical assets to the battlefield. His battalion also helped train combat medics in active and reserve duty.
During his military career, Harris had Department of Defense secret clearance related to medical services. He also received the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding achievement and several commendation medals.
Harris formed the nonprofit Warrior Athletic Club while working in dual careers. The organization provided sports training for 6- to 16-year-olds and also performed monthly community service projects.
“I wanted these young people to recognize what they were getting to do was a privilege and not an entitlement,” Harris said.
Over his civilian career, military training has helped Harris remain decisive and focused in times of crisis. He recalls the time he led an Accenture team to secure a high-value deal with Marriott Hotels. The night before their presentation, the group appeared nervous and unprepared.
“I called the room to attention and told them to go home, eat dinner and rest up,” he said.
However, Harris stayed and completed the team’s slide content.
“In the Army, we are trained to sustain the fight for 72 hours straight, so staying up for 24 hours was no big deal. Plus, it wasn’t necessary to be overanxious because no one’s life was threatened in that business situation,” he said.
The team returned the following day ready for the business “battle.” And yes, they secured the lucrative deal.
Harris retired from active duty as a captain in September 2018, but his Army training is still present in his current job as executive vice president of Strategy and Growth for a leading technology and automation company that provides intelligent and robotic process automation.
“As a military officer, I have drilled in training plans and operations, which is the backbone of everything we do at WEN Corp,” he said. “My military training instilled in me a passion for leading with empathy and a clear goal. This has translated well into my civilian career and helps guide me in the decisions I make and the strategies and tactics I employ.”