Villanovans Afar: V's Up in Ohio
A conversation with Dan McCune '18 MBA, supply chain manager for Procter & Gamble and lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserves
Interview by Anne Krepacki ’87 MBA
Anne: Hi, Dan –Villanova has such a rich alumni network, both local to the University, as well as farther afield. We love reaching out and staying in touch with those who have followed career paths around the country. Thanks for taking the time to speak to us!
And please know that I join my fellow Villanova Alums in thanking you for your service to our country. What first inspired you to join the military?
Dan: My desire for serving my country started when I was about 12 or 13 years old. My dad took us on a tour of the Naval Academy and I just fell in love! When I found out that only about 1% of the US population has served, that was very eye-opening for me and made me really want to make that commitment. I became driven at that point to attend the USNA and serve in the US Navy. After all, freedom is not free.
Anne: I think we’d all like to hear about your involvement in the Naval Reserves. As a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserves, what are your primary responsibilities?
Dan: You’d be surprised how often I ask myself this! When I joined the reserves after my active-duty time, I was sold on the one weekend a month/ two consecutive week training obligation. As I’ve moved up the ranks, though, I can tell you that it’s not that black and white. If you wanted to, you could do way more than just the minimum monthly plus two-week training obligation. As I’ve gotten older, it has become way more challenging – balancing my family and civilian job responsibilities, along with my commitment to the Navy. Fortunately, I feel so lucky to have a supportive wife and P&G is very pro-military and makes it an easy fit. P&G is always voted as one of the top companies for military veterans and reservists to work for.
Let me give you an example. I was called up for about a year between2014–2015, during the rise of ISIS, and I was sent to Bahrain in the Middle East as part of the 5th fleet. I was part of a task force in charge of amphibious ships and marines. During this time away from my family, P&G constantly checked on my family back in Philadelphia and even sent me/my team care packages overseas. When I got back, I was welcomed back with open arms.
To answer your specific question though, I am part of a PACOM (Pacific Command Unit). This command covers 51% of the globe and has 60% of the world’s population. It’s also home to China and North Korea. People call the area the “ring of fire” as it has tectonic plates colliding causing volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. It’s a busy unit!
Anne: It’s great that Procter & Gamble is such a great supporter of those who serve or have served! Please tell us what facets of your military experience do you apply in your position as Supply Chain Manager at P&G?
Dan: Well, I’ve actually held a number of different positions in my 15+ years with the company. P&G has moved me around a lot both geographically as well as in the roles I’ve taken on. That’s how they like to train their leaders. But as far as what I’ve learned being a leader in the Navy and how that helps me in my civilian career, it perhaps has primarily taught me to be level-headed; you have to identify the problem and work through it, and also work with your colleagues to get it solved. Other facets of my military training that I’ve applied are time management and learning how to prioritize – especially when you’re in the midst of a chaotic environment – along with learning to connect with all kinds of people, both in personality and in the positions that they hold, and also in building a strong team. I’ve actually only been in my present position for a few weeks, but I’d love to share an example from my previous position where I lead the supply chain team with Sam’s Club during the pandemic. I’m sure everyone remembers what an unusual time it was, especially during the early weeks and months of the pandemic. People were often frantic, hoarding such well-known P&G products that ran the gamut from toilet paper to cleaning supplies. With customers stockpiling these goods, as you can imagine, the company was not set up for such turbulence in the supply chain. But by using my training and applying both my abilities in leading and prioritizing, working with my team, and by keeping a level-head, we got through the abnormal disruption in the supply chain.
Anne: So, Dan – perhaps my most important questions: With all your experience and expertise, what made you want to further your education with an MBA? And of course, I have to ask, why Villanova?
Dan: I loved being in the active-duty Navy but the time at sea was getting difficult. At some point in the middle of a nine-month deployment, I decided it was time to think about life post Navy. I went to an alumni career conference and P&G was there actively looking to hire veterans. I was so lucky as P&G valued the soft skills gained during my time in the military: Time management, priority setting, leadership, delegation, team building, working under pressure. Though I was able to do well my first couple of years with the company, I also realized that I was missing something. After all, I was a general engineering/political science major. I wanted to get an MBA that would round me out and give me the business acumen and learnings I would need to further my career. I looked at all the programs around the Philadelphia area since that’s where I was living at the time, and Villanova quickly became the top of my list. They offered the class schedule, the professors that were second to none, and a nationally ranked program that I wanted.
I absolutely made the right choice! When P&G transferred me to Arkansas (Walmart’s HQ), I was able to complete my degree online; it was seamless. Also, not sure I mentioned this earlier, I attended Villanova as a freshman before I got into the Naval Academy, so I loved the idea of Villanova going full circle with my education. Perhaps most importantly, my ’Nova MBA has made me a better P&G employee and helped me reach my career goals.
Anne: One last question for you, Dan – What little-known fact would you like to share, something that we couldn’t find in your LinkedIn profile?
Dan: I am a proud investor/part owner of a museum! One of my best friends since junior high school and fellow Villanova MBA grad, Rob Cooper '09 MBA, has opened three Museum of Illusion franchises with two more on the way. In fact, a Villanova MBA Alumni event recently took place at our Philadelphia location. We’re excited to have Museum of Illusions locations in Philadelphia, Chicago, Scottsdale, Ariz., and coming soon to Pittsburgh and Boston. These museums are a fantastic experience for all ages and I would highly suggest everyone reading this to discover and experience some mind-bending illusions! Rob has been a true leader building this business and I often tell him he needs to teach a class at ’Nova on his entire experience. He’s had to raise money, cut though city and county bureaucracy, negotiate construction contracts, work with unions, obtain permits, handle delays, hire a full staff – basically he’s had to leverage his entire Villanova MBA learnings. I’d also be remiss not to mention one of our best friends, Jason Mitchell, who is handling the operations for all five locations. I’m just glad I’m along for the ride with my Rock Raymond Capital (RRC) partners!