BY: Zachary Hubbard & Darius Hardy
How will you remember your college professors? Will they be just a name to you? Mr. Blah or Mrs. Blank? Or will they be just another blur that flew by during your 4 years here? What does it take become a memorable professor? And what do you want students to remember you for?
Daniel Dease, an adjunct Environmental Studies professor for Shenandoah University, is a man of several talents and little time. In his college years, Dease attended Rowan University in Greensboro, New Jersey and Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At Rowan University, Dease earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. At Drexel, Dease earned Masters degrees in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. While at Drexel, Dease maintained a full time job while pursing his education part time. “I started working for DuPont at a small research and develop lab that was located in Philadelphia when I was 20 years old,” said Dease.
Since the DuPont research and develop lab at which Dease worked was located in close proximity to Drexel, Dease was able to effectively navigate work and school life. While attending school, Axalta provided resources and financial support in order to help Dease earned several degrees in a variety of fields. “Axalta’s support makes me feel as if the company has a vested interest in my future and opens up additional career pathways,” said Dease.
In 2003, after earning both Master degrees, Dease transferred to the DuPont Performance Coating (Axalta) in Front Royal, VA. “Going into the chemical field, DuPont is one of the biggest names and, at the time, also offered a pension,” said Dease. “It was also close to home. So, once I got hired, I never considered working anywhere else. I always just looked how I could learn more about the business I was in.”
Dease now serves as Operations Manager for Front Royal plant of Axalta Coating Systems. Axalta Coating Systems is a leading global coatings company dedicated solely to the development, manufacture and sale of liquid and powder coatings. Axalta products increase durability, enhance productivity and add beauty. They provide a range of performance and transportation coatings for manufacturers of light and commercial vehicles, the refinish aftermarket and for many industrial coating system applications. Innovative products and services include paint and powder; color matching tools, application technologies and customer training, support and business management systems.
“My typical day starts at 5:30am with an operations line up meeting to discuss daily issues or upcoming projects,” says Dease. Along with these topics, Dease discusses and monitors improvement and cost cutting strategies, production and personal planning, training, and more. Dan Dease helps to ensure that everything at the Front Royal manufacturing facility is running smoothly. Following his early morning shifts, Dease proceeds to head to campus in order to teach. “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach class after work,” Dease explained. “On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I also try to sneak a few minutes in at the gym.”
Though Dease takes great pride in his job and opportunities with Axalta, he has also begun to further nurture his passion for teaching. “ Teaching allows me to meet new people and get different perspectives from new students every year,” said Dease. “I learn new ideas and different viewpoints from the students as much as I hope they learn from me.”
Dease is delighted by the variety in views and opinions of every student that comes through his class. At the plant, Dease sees several of the same faces daily. However, each semester, Dease meets new students and new faces. Dease enjoys being able develop the students interest wide field of Environmental Studies, finding joy in students discovering the different areas the are excited about and find a passion in. Dease also strives to make sure classes are relevant to the situation around him. “I try to use the class to expose the students to the various jobs within business, government and academics that fall under the environmental science field,” said Dease.
From very early mornings to late nights, the typical work and personal life of Daniel Dease can seem overwhelming, however Dease manages it effectively through the understanding of balance. “It’s important that you understand there will be many ups and downs in your life and different stages,” said Dease. “When you are needed at work, work hard. However, when you are needed at home, remember you work to provide at better home! So, do not neglect your home life for work!”
Though Dease finds passion and knowledge working for Axalta, he slowly finds himself moving onto a different path. (Quote) Dease hopes to slowly begin transitioning more into teaching and away from the Axalta, as he heads into retirement. Currently, Dease only Tuesday and Thursday, straight after work, however he hopes that will change. (Quote) Dease enjoys the stimulation of new faces and new connection throughout each semester that he teaches. He hopes to encourage development in both skill and passion for the various fields of environmental science. “There are many fields (jobs) within any discipline (degree),” says Dease. “Find ways to experience the different fields within your discipline by internships, volunteering or job shadowing.”
However, preparation for the real life, even the very end of it, is just as important as classes. “Location, Location, Location,” Dease explains. “Whether it is to live in a great place or to live by great people (family and friends), don’t wait till you retire to find a great location to live. Find a great location you want to live in then find the best job within your discipline you want to work at not a place you have to work at.”