“I really can’t say enough about the support from the entire faculty in management through what has been a very rigorous program.”
Daniel White began his second career in his mid-thirties, following a family tradition in more ways than one. When White was five-years old, his father left a job as a high school principal to become a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. “His four years in the Air Force had a profound impact on me,” White says.
Instead of heading straight to a “normal” college, White joined the Air Force after accepting an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. “While most of my friends were enjoying summer, I found myself in basic training wondering what in the heck I was doing,” White says.
He pursued his undergraduate degree in business at the United States Air Force Academy as well as his MBA at the University of Alaska while serving 15 years of active duty. White has been a pilot for most of his Air Force career.
“It was hard work and a lot of time away from home, but you knew you were making a difference,” White says. “It was also a privilege to provide humanitarian assistance all across the world in places like Japan and Haiti after natural disasters.”
Later in his service, White applied for and received an academic teaching position in the department of management at the Air Force Academy. During this period, he was selected by the armed forces to attend a doctoral program, and his second career began to take shape. He chose the Haslam College of Business’ organizations and strategy program because of the quality of the faculty members.
“I don’t think I could have landed in a better doctoral program anywhere,” White says. “I really can’t say enough about the support from the entire faculty in management through what has been a very rigorous program.”
White’s research focuses on entrepreneurship, and he has a manuscript in preparation co-authored by Rhonda Reger, Nestle USA Endowed Professor of Business Administration. During his time in the college, White helped form the Doctoral Student Association and served as the vice president during its founding year. “I believe in the power of community and also a strong alumni network,” he says. “I hope to see that organization facilitate community among doctoral students and connection with alumni moving forward.”
For White, this second career in academia is concurrent, not consecutive, to his military role. On April 7, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force. “There’s nothing more professionally satisfying and rewarding then developing future Air Force leaders,” he says.“But I also look forward to continuing the research that that I’ve found a passion for at the University of Tennessee.”
Outside of his work, White and his wife Cynthia have an active ‘hobby’ as parents of four. “They are my hobbies, and the best hobbies I’ve ever had!” he says.
In his research, Haileab Hilafu aims to make it easier to extract actionable knowledge from large datasets