David Cummins had no difficulty choosing a major. He asserts, "political science was always my major." He entered college with a strong sense of his personal interests and the belief that one day his career would involve national politics.
David entered Messiah with direction, and as a result, he never ceased to be involved. During his freshman and sophomore years, he was elected senator of the Student Government Association. He was also a leader within the college Republican Club, and he led a Senior Challenge Fundraising project. To explore the world beyond Grantham, he spent the fall of his junior year interning in Washington, D.C. with the American Studies Program. David remembers this semester as significant because he worked with Amnesty International, which heightened his awareness of human rights issues.
Being a student at Messiah College provided David with the "framework of a Christian world view," one that he still applies in his vocation today. His liberal arts education enabled him to become a well-rounded individual, and he believes that this trait was essential for the wide variety of goals that he has achieved over the past decade. Furthermore, he notes that his undergraduate experience prepared him to do well in graduate school, which was a fundamental stepping-stone in his vocation.
• "Be prepared to go to graduate school."
• "Focus on extracurricular activities and internships along with academics."
• "Work before graduate school; this will help identify what you want to do and better position you before entering graduate school."
• "When one door closes, another tends to open."
After graduation, David traveled to Washington D.C. in search of a temporary job before entering graduate school. He worked for the nonprofit international development firm AED (Academy for Educational Development.), and he enrolled in George Washington University's international affairs program as a part-time student. He soon found that opportunities available to the working student in the political world were slim. This was a critical time in his life, one in which he had to seriously rethink his vocational direction. In retrospect, however, David realizes that "when one door closed, another immediately opened." While at AED, David became the youngest financial officer in this $100 million global firm. One of his many accomplishments was leading the team that developed a successful for-profit marketing plan. The plan resulted in the recognition of AED as an innovator among nonprofit firms. With his success at AED, David made the decision to go on to graduate school for business. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree while attending a two-year program at the University of Michigan Business School.
After receiving a business degree, David's vocational journey took an exciting turn. He spent the summer of 1999 in Croatia as a consultant for WDI, Inc. He led a research team that explored small and medium sized businesses, and he developed a strategy for a business innovation center. His business plan was later described by the World Bank as the "best designed project for new business development in Croatia."
In 2000, David became the director of strategic planning and business development for the telecom service provider ARBROS Communications in Silver Spring, Maryland. Two years later, he was offered what he considers "an opportunity of a lifetime" when he was asked to become the director of an operations planning and management group for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, to which he quickly agreed.
This was no easy position - David was entrusted with several major responsibilities. He directed 40 staff members in the daily operations of the main operations center--the coordination center of the Olympic Games. In order to assess the Games-time operational readiness, he managed a team of 20 in the development and administration of approximately 75 simultaneous exercises, as well as two large dress rehearsals (over 1,000 employees were trained during these exercises). Among other tasks, he led a security integration effort with Olympic executives of the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Deptartment of Transportation, and Utah law enforcement. The following year, David and three former colleagues were awarded the International Project of the Year Award by the Project Management Institute for the work accomplished during the Salt Lake Winter Games.
For the past two years, David has found himself once again in Washington DC. He is the manager of business development for Transportation Systems and Services (TSS) within the Fortune 500 company Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. He is responsible for developing new service offerings and leading merger and acquisition activities within TSS.
David's primary responsibilities include looking for companies to purchase and then integrating them into the company. He also handles sales and partnership development. He further describes a day in his career: "Today I focused on three goals. I first had to respond to reporters inquiring on a $15 million project just awarded with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Secondly, I had to review the finances of a company in Europe that my corporation is looking to buy. And thirdly, we are analyzing a new transportation market that we are considering entering into."
David's vocation presents many opportunities for 'why' moments. There were two particular weeks of heavy contract negotiations that he remembers "fully tested my Christian principles." For him, it is during times like those that he truly appreciates the instilled Christian morals within him that enable him to be just. On a daily basis, he is engaged and challenged, which he believes is utilizing God-given gifts.
David believes that "business is an under-looked and important vocation that Christians often find themselves in." Christians have incredible opportunities to minister to others within the business world. He is utilizing Christian principles on a consistent basis as he manages employees and customers, as well as other companies.
With all that David has accomplished through work with various corporations, he hopes to one day have one of his own. His dream is to one day establish a small company that will operate internationally.
Profile by Maria Karlya, May 2005