A retired three-star general, who now runs a $1.2 billion construction company.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
President and CEO. of J.E. Dunn Construction Company
Former Lieutenant General U.S. Army
Greatest Personal Accomplishment: Meeting, courting, and marrying wife Sharon during an 18-month assignment to Washington, D. C.
Advice for Students: “Learn how to be a leader. To be really successful, most of us need to learn how to get other people to work for us. Student organizations offer great opportunities to develop leadership experience.”
Learning to Lead
For Jack Nix, overseeing a multi-year $700 million construction project taking place two time zones and more than 1,000 miles away is just another tactical operation. The retired three-star general, who now runs a $1.2 billion construction company, is no stranger to managing complex global operations.
General Nix entered the army on a regular commission in 1969 after completing the ROTC program at Georgia Tech. “I really enjoyed the professionalism of my instructors,” he says. “So, the day I graduated I volunteered.”
At the time, he told himself, “If I like it, I’ll stay.” And stay he did. He considers himself fortunate that many of his assignments were with elite units within the Army, the rangers and later the paratroopers. He took every advantage of the leadership opportunities he was offered.
“The army has a great model of education and training, followed by assignments,” he says.
His assignments included serving as aide-de-camp to the commanding general of Fort Hamilton, NY, who was also the military advisor to George H. W. Bush, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. During this time, he completed Adelphi’s off-site M.B.A. program.
He went on to serve as executive officer of the infantry battalion that participated in the 1982 mission to Grenada, and as commander of the night parachute into Panama to capture Manuel Noriega during Operation Just Cause.
General Nix also served in Operation Desert Storm and led relief efforts in Rwanda in the 1990s. In 1996, he joined the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo as chief of operations and led the deployment of the first troops into Bosnia-Herzogovina. He later coordinated efforts to capture the first convicted war criminals in the former Yugoslavian countries. At the time of his retirement, he supervised the operations of approximately 50,000 NATO and U.S. troops.
General Nix acknowledges that some of his corporate management style is borrowed from his military experience. “I think teaching is the essence of good leadership,” he says. “You can’t just measure people’s performance; you need to train them to do the job you want.”
In his tenure with J.E. Dunn Construction, the company has seen a 50 percent growth in revenues, and is positioned to take advantage of growth markets in higher education and green building practices.
General Nix lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife Sharon. His is avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting and fishing.
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