Trustee named first Fitzgerald Executive-in-Residence at McDonough

Dale Wartluft ’63 has accomplished much in his professional career, but when he was chosen to be the Fitzgerald Executive-in-Residence (EIR) for 2011-12 he was clearly humbled.

“I feel very honored to be selected as the first Fitzgerald Executive-in-Residence,” Wartluft said. “I’ve been so impressed with the concept of the EIR program and its success to date, and look forward to sharing in an exciting learning experience with the students next fall.”

Wartluft, a member of Marietta College’s Board of Trustees, is the sixth EIR since the program was initiated in 2004, but he becomes the first to lead the program since it was renamed for Barbara ’73 and Paul Fitzgerald. The Fitzgeralds donated $100,000 to endow the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business’ EIR program in 2010. The gift helps ensure the continuation of this unique learning experience, where students learn through interactive studies with experienced executives.

“Dale Wartluft brings a lot of experience and enthusiasm to this project. I think the students will really enjoy working with him,” said Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of McDonough. “We are very fortunate at Marietta to have trustees who are deeply committed to the leadership development of our students. This project also will allow him to gain a deeper understanding of the students’ experience at the College.”

Marietta’s EIR program has become a signature component to the McDonough experience. The EIR allows a senior executive from a major business enterprise to spend a meaningful period of time on campus interacting with students and faculty. The EIR shares his/her own perspective on leadership—drawn from his/her experience in the business world. In turn, students and faculty have an opportunity to gain their own insights through their interaction with the EIR. This reciprocal relationship is the hallmark of the program.

Barbara Fitzgerald, also a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, was the third EIR in 2007-08 and she’s honored to have Wartluft be the first since adding her name to the program.

“I can’t imagine finding anyone better than Dale for the EIR program,” Fitzgerald said. “Dale has strong business credentials and the fact that he chose to focus on employee engagement is terrific. Students at this stage of their development really underestimate the employee piece of running a successful company. It’s easy to underestimate who really does the work and how the profits are made.”

In his EIR project, Wartluft will lead two teams of students in a study focused on employee satisfaction in the work place.  The teams will gain knowledge and insight into the subject matter through research assignments, content presentations, hands-on business analysis for one to two local companies, development and execution of employee satisfaction surveys for those companies, analysis of survey feedback and preparation of a survey report and recommended action plans to be presented to the company management teams for implementation consideration.

“I’ve chosen the topic of employee satisfaction in the workplace because it is so critical to company success. I had the good fortune to work for two companies that believed whole-heartedly in sound people management practices,” Wartluft said. “By sharing my real-life career experiences, both as an employee and as a manager, my goal would be to enhance the students’ knowledge and understanding of the real value that occurs when employees are not only satisfied with their jobs, but are intellectually and emotionally engaged in their company’s mission.”

As prospective employees and/or managers, the students should gain a unique perspective regarding the significance and impact of employee satisfaction to a company’s overall success.

“Any time students get an opportunity to get their hands dirty, roll up their sleeves and connect to the world of work it is a real positive,” Fitzgerald said.

She also sees a real value for Trustees to interact so intimately with the students.

“When a Board member gets to meet and get to know the students on such a personal level it helps remind us why we are here and what we are doing as Trustees,” Fitzgerald said. “The EIR projects allow us to get close to some outstanding students and we really see how bright these young people are and truly appreciate the work that the faculty are doing at Marietta.”

Wartluft has the business acumen to be an outstanding EIR. After graduating from Marietta, his career path included 20 years at the IBM Corp. and 15 years with Ernst & Young Consulting and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Consulting.

In these companies, he held numerous technical, sales & marketing, and managerial positions, ultimately leading to the position of Managing Partner and CEO of the Americas.

During his executive career, he gained extensive experience in managing people. Both IBM and Ernst & Young have been renowned for the quality of their people management programs resulting in high levels of employee satisfaction. In fact, Ernst & Young has been listed in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 12 consecutive years. 

The McDonough Center for Leadership and Business was the result of a $5.5 million gift in 1986 from Alma McDonough, the widow of industrialist and entrepreneur Bernard P. McDonough, and the McDonough Foundation.