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Daniel Dumanis began The Gordon Program in 2015 with the goal of accelerating his engineering leadership capabilities. Prior to enrolling at Northeastern, Dumanis worked in the electrical and computer engineering industry for six years. Over the course of several projects, Daniel came to appreciate how important strong leadership was to a successful project outcome. “I had been on several field deployments for work where I had been exposed to a variety of different leadership styles. I had a strong desire to contribute and realized that an advanced degree program would help me achieve that goal. The Gordon Program turned out to be the perfect blend of theory and practice, and codified what it means to be a good leader within the field of engineering.”

Dumanis was attracted to The Gordon Program because of his ability to earn a joint M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering Leadership. “I went into the program with the goal of accelerating my leadership capabilities, which would have otherwise taken many years to develop organically. This program helped me develop good habits from the start and avoid the pitfalls that can happen to inexperienced leaders.”

Gordon Fellow Candidates are required to complete an industry-focused Challenge Project with their employer while simultaneously completing their Gordon Program coursework. Dumanis worked as an engineering specialist for MIT Lincoln Laboratory while completing his Gordon Program course requirements. “For my Challenge Project, I was tasked with the development of a low-cost laser radar (ladar) platform that would allow The Laboratory to exploit certain technologies to their fullest potential. Completing this Challenge Project involved building a functional ladar system from a heterogeneous mix of spare parts, installing it on an airplane, performing test flights, and marketing the availability of this new capability. Once I had completed my Challenge Project, the system was used for data collection projects to serve sponsors’ needs in a way that was previously impossible.”

After completing The Gordon Program, Dumanis continued to work at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. In addition to his technical roles, Dumanis now also serves as a program manager on several projects. Last year, when Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, The Laboratory was approached by FEMA with a desire to put Dumanis’ Challenge Project to work. “We traveled down to Texas and performed a number of data collections over the hardest-hit areas to help quantify the volume of debris and damage to critical infrastructure.” Dumanis’ Challenge Project, conceived as a practical component of his Gordon Institute education, was able to transcend his time at Northeastern and now has the potential to help revolutionize the way that the US conducts disaster response.

Two years after completing The Gordon Program, Dumanis reflected on his experience and the knowledge he acquired. “I think my biggest take-away from this program was the importance of demonstrating and properly communicating value in whatever you’re doing. The ability to look at everything through the ‘so what, who cares?’ lens is probably one of the most practical and directly applicable skills that I learned.”