CORT’s David Dillon Learns Key Life Skills During Time in Vietnam

photo of vietnam vet David DillonCORT’s former National Facilities Design Manager, and now a member of the Work Place Solutions Group, David Dillon recently returned from a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he joined several members of his platoon who served together during the Vietnam War. David looks forward to these reunions every couple of years where he can come together with his “brothers” to reminisce and strengthen the incredible bond they forged during their combat tour.

Born and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, David joined the U.S. Army in 1965 where he was assigned to the Defense Language Institute to study Farsi (Persian). He then went on to receive a commission in the Infantry, before moving on to unconventional warfare and basic infantry training. As the only member of his family to serve in the military, David became a platoon leader in Vietnam in 1968 where he led 25 young men in combat. In 1969, David returned to the states and attended the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. There he was an executive officer in psychological operations and Special Forces until he resigned his commission in 1971.

After his resignation, David attended Sandhills Community College located in Pinehurst, North Carolina. With a drive and a desire to be creative, David enrolled in The Art Institute of Atlanta where he received a degree in Design & Architecture in 1975. Upon graduation, David ran his own small architectural design firm in Washington, D.C. With a passion to work on large-scale national projects, David decided to close down his business in 1988 and join CORT to design showrooms. Initially, David expected to spend the next three-to-four years with CORT to learn all he could about national projects and then reopen his own firm. Twenty-seven years later, David is still honing his craft in his role at CORT. “I’ve done a lot of interesting things in my life and consider myself to be a very lucky person,” said David.

According to David, “design and architecture is about compromise.” As an Army veteran, David has mastered the art of listening. “When I sit down with my clients (district general managers or area managers or even end users), I listen to what they want and need in their design,” said David. “The nicest compliment I ever received was when a client told me they didn’t know what they wanted, but that I had captured the essence in my design.”

Listening was crucial during his time as combat platoon leader. David was in charge of 25 individuals, all of which had opinions, suggestions and points of view. As a leader, David realized very quickly that it made sense to listen to his platoon members, because they often had better ideas than he did. He also knew that his decision was the final one. This skill easily transferred to David’s life and work as a designer and an architect. “If you listen to your clients and their wants and desires, it is fairly easy to pull together a design that will satisfy all parties involved in the process, resulting in a good-working facility.”

It has been 47 years since David came home from Vietnam. That experience helped him realize he was capable of doing things on his own, learning how to identify problems as they arise and come up with his own solutions. Seems like a pretty simple recipe for success in business and in life.

Thank you, David, for your service!