Taking on a
New Challenge

Written by Marissa Poulson

Like most professional soldiers, Dan Hurd (D.B.A, 2010) had many different jobs, responsibilities and leadership roles during his time in the US Army (1977-1994). However, it wasn’t until 1993 that this Detroit native added one of the most important credentials to his extensive collection—a college degree.

Dan Hurd, (D.B.A., 2010)

“One thing that I’ve learned and know for sure is that if you work hard, apply yourself, trust God and get educated, you will be successful,” explains Hurd.

While most of his military experience was in communications and electronics, Hurd decided to extend his education beyond the bachelor’s level and pursue a master’s of counseling degree after retiring from the Army in 1994 as a Chief Warrant Officer. As fascinating and applicable as the subject was, Hurd eventually got back into communications and task management as a defense contractor with the Department of Defense (DoD).

“I was hired on at the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., in 2001,” recalls Hurd. “Probably the biggest and most well-known project I worked on was the DoD Teleport System. From 2001 to 2005, I was responsible for ensuring that the system was operationally tested. Then from 2005 to 2011, I was the JITC High Frequency lab manager and DoD Teleport interoperability test director.”

During his time with the DoD, Hurd held various other job titles, including Information Technology Specialist, Computer Scientist and Operations Research Analyst, where he served in the operations evaluation cell trying to prepare the best strategies for planning, testing and reporting on operational test activities. To further support his career, he earned a Master of Science in Information Systems Engineering at Western International University before pursuing his D.B.A. in Management Information Systems (MIS) at Northcentral University.

“With my job schedule and travel requirements, I knew it would be difficult to attend class,” he explains. “After Northcentral received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, I discovered the D.B.A. program with a specialization in MIS that served my personal and professional goals.”

“My specialty, at least what I liked doing as a soldier and government civilian, was SATCOM systems analysis and testing,” Hurd continues. “It was probably my D.B.A. that opened the door for me to become an Operations Research Analyst while serving the DoD in this capacity.”

Just a few months before retiring from the Department of Defense in 2013, Hurd had the chance to present at the Operations Analyst Forum for the U.S. Government.

“With my background, education and military/DoD experience, I could have continued into senior positions with the government or contracting, but I think becoming an instructor suits me more at this time in my life, and it is a good opportunity to put all my degrees and experience to use.”

— Dr. Dan Hurd

“When I was asked to present, I was pretty nervous,” he laughs. “Being the first person to do this from my organization, I really wanted to do a good job and present at a doctoral level. I had thought about the topic, put the information into a PowerPoint presentation, and rehearsed it, but then I did what does not come naturally for me; I asked for help. I asked my fellow analysts to review it, my supervisor, my team leader, and finally a fine researcher from the OA forum (Mr. Greg Hutto). Following the presentation, I received some nice comments from experienced and senior representatives. It was just a wonderful experience and I highly recommend these types of events, especially if you want to help your organization, increase your visibility to other professionals, add data to existing research, or just continue to learn.”

In early April, Hurd submitted his presentation for the Presenting Author Excellence Award from Northcentral’s Lambda Eta Chapter of the Delta Mu Delta honor society and came away the winner.

“I have many degrees, awards and certificates, but I am really proud to receive this award,” admits Hurd. “At the same time, it was nice just to be considered.”

Hurd was recognized for his award at the Academic Recognition Reception on Friday, June 7, prior to NCU’s 2013 Commencement festivities on June 8.

Even with so many different and demanding experiences under his belt, taking on a doctoral program was a whole new challenge for Hurd.

“With work, travel, vacations, family time…challenges abounded,” he recalls. “I would say although I tried to plan effectively, sometimes the work days were too long and the planned study time too short. I never wanted to procrastinate, but there were times when I had to delay. Ironically, sometimes these delays resulted in better or clearer ideas to help address assignments. NCU provided enough time to finish the assignments, but procrastination was detrimental if it became routine. With me, I am happy it did not.”

This wisdom is certainly something Hurd can pass on to his current students now that he’s a CIS instructor for Cochise Community College in the prison system.

“Since the DoD was considering drawing down, I thought it would be a good time to look into something new,” he reveals. “With my background, education and military/DoD experience, I could have continued into senior positions with the government or contracting, but I think becoming an instructor suits me more at this time in my life, and it is a good opportunity to put all my degrees and experience to use.”

“There are some challenges, but the inmates are receptive and I really look forward to hopefully making a difference in their lives and reducing future recidivism,” continues Hurd. “The benefit they have is that they are under greater supervision and can apply themselves since they do not have the same kind of distractions that a typical college student would.”

As for current and prospective NCU students who find themselves with more responsibilities and less free time, Hurd suggests planning out your time as much as possible.

“Stay focused, work hard, avoid procrastination, and plan your study periods. When you are stuck, find something that relaxes you. Some of my best ideas came when I took a step back from the assignment. Embrace the timely ideas as a gift from the Lord and do not be too hard on yourself.”