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Featured Member - Allan Dahl

Featured Member

By: Katie Dietz


Those of us serving on the board know Allen very well! He's a Command Sergeant Major (Retired), Iowa Army National Guard. He's our first success story with the Military to Project Management (Mil2PM) program that we kicked off last year with leadership support from Joel Wolcott and Robert Olinger. Ironically enough, I first met Allen at the event at Camp Dodge in November 2017. We sat next to each other at one of the tables and he was telling me about how he was looking forward to the speaker topic of The Transitioning Military Project Manager. Since that day and over the last year we received updates on Allen's progress and were thrilled when we heard he got hired into a Project Manager role in Des Moines. Hope you all enjoy getting to know a little about Allen from our chat below!

{Katie} Tell us about your new job!

{Allen} "In September, I was hired as a Project Manager with Wells Fargo. Currently I'm supporting two major projects. First one is two phase, 24 months for the HR department using a technology workstream. The other one is building a software workflow for talent acquisition. I'm already seeing many dynamics and how they play into decisions and competing interests among stakeholders. I am already learning a lot and seeing some similarities to how projects are managed in the military."

{Katie} Tell us about the PMI Central Iowa Chapter Military Program and how you got involved:

{Allen} "Last year in November I was invited by Robert Olinger to the event at Camp Dodge. At that time, I had just recently started a Project Management training course through an online university. The event speaker [Jay Hicks] spoke about transitioning military experience into the project management profession. I could clearly see how my skills aligned to the project manager role."

"Just yesterday we held another military event and I was a panel speaker. I was surprised to see so many familiar faces. On the panel along with me was Ben Garza and Jeff Tuttle. We showed military operations structure and how similar it is to a basic project management work breakdown structure. We answered a lot of questions and provided advice to others looking to transition their careers."

{Katie} What has your chapter experience been like this past year?

{Allen} "I attended the monthly chapter meetings at least every other month. My new employer supports my membership and chapter meetings going forward which is nice to know I have their support. Besides the great speakers at the monthly meetings, I have also really enjoyed the networking opportunities. I've talked to a lot of people with common interests and it's also been fun to meet others with varied backgrounds."

{Katie} Since you are newly PMP certified, do you have any study recommendations or tips?

{Allen} "I actually completed three courses online from Villanova. It was great for foundational knowledge and I was able to get the education hours needed to sit for the exam. I also downloaded an application on my phone for test simulations. I could choose questions based on knowledge area or just random. It was extremely helpful to see the areas I needed more focus on."

{Katie} How do you explain what project management is or what your role entails to civilians?

{Allen} "We are the people who make sure things get done. We start with the purpose, set a sequence of events and start scheduling. We also apply resources where needed whether it is people, funding, or building materials etc. Basically, we make sure the right people get the right material in the right order in order to find success in the project."

{Katie} Can you share 3 random facts about you?


1."I like to cook. Summer time I'm the grill master. My specialty is turkey breast in the smoker."

2."Love the outdoors. I enjoy a wide range of activities – hunting, fishing, biking, etc. It's my recharging station to get out in the middle of nowhere."

3."Jeep enthusiast and love rock driving. I have traveled to the Black Hills of South Dakota,Yellowstone Natl park area and Moab, Utah. I'm not much of a mud jeeper because that's too much mess to clean and hard on parts, so I like terrain that's dry, rocky, and/or sandy. I like to continually test my skills. My wife leads women's jeep trips when she's not traveling with me."

{Katie} Veteran's Day is approaching. Do you have plans for the holiday?

{Allen} "The Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter has a memorial service. It's a day I take for reflection to think about my past experiences and the loved ones lost. It's a great day but some times it can be harder than others."


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