Experiences at Gardner-Webb Gave Alumnus Confidence in Corporate World

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Larry Durham Jr. ’99, ’01 Relies on Principles of Servant Leadership

In the last 10 years, Larry Durham Jr. ’99, ’01 and his family have moved three times. Besides packing and unpacking moving boxes, Durham has adapted to three jobs and his wife and four children to new towns and experiences. The Gardner-Webb University graduate accepted each challenge with confidence and enthusiasm. “My education has given me a strong basis for being a lifelong learner,” Durham affirmed. “Also, the hard work, ongoing research, projects and determination needed to obtain my degrees have served me well within the business world. Organizations and people are constantly changing and very rarely are any viable solutions just falling in our lap. I have to pursue and lead others towards win-win solutions.”

Durham serves as human resources manager with Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) Inc., a subsidiary of BWX Technologies, in Johnson City, Tenn. His seven-member team supports 700 employees, and his job includes oversight of hiring, talent development, employee and management relations programs and other duties. He is also a member of the senior leadership team at NFS.

Upon entering the corporate world, Durham relied on the practical insights his GWU professors shared from their own experiences as business professionals. He also appreciated the professors’ concern for students and the way they modeled the important management principle of servant leadership. “Being a servant leader is challenging, but very much worth the effort and sacrifices,” Durham noted. “I was blessed to experience numerous opportunities focusing me on the bigger picture and not just focusing on myself.”

Durham also learned a lesson about perseverance by taking a class in oceanography and meteorology. “This class was completely outside of my comfort zone and while I wanted to take a less-strenuous course, my advisor guided me in this direction,” he revealed. “Through my efforts in this class, I learned more about challenging myself and the value of taking the hard road regardless of how it may impact my GPA.”

In addition to learning leadership principles from his professors and studies, Durham was profoundly influenced by the Gardner-Webb Christian community. “I truly believe my core growth as a leader occurred as I understood my responsibility to give back to the community by serving in formal leadership roles via student government,” he assessed. “I am convinced that the workplace leader, spiritual leader and family leader I am is based upon how the Lord developed me while at GWU.”