Dwayne Oland refelects on almost four decades at Fort Detrick
By Chuck Gordon
USAG Public Affairs Officer
He's as likely to break into a song as discuss networks and bandwidth, and has been known to grow a mean pumpkin or two, and while Dwayne Oland is the chief techno-geek for Fort Detrick, his easy-going persona and gentle smile might seem more apppropriate to a kindly preacher or favorite teacher. He does love to spread the word, though, the word about Fort Detrick.
"I basically grew up here," Oland, Director for the Detrick Network Enterprise Center, "just a couple of blocks from the front gate. I owe a lot to Detrick and am always looking for ways to 'pay it forward'" Through the past 36 years, he's served in a variety of positions at the installation and began his relationship with Fort Detrick as a school kid.
"Some of the scientists were doing a study and offered local kids one cent for every two fireflies we captured and brought to them. Needless to say we caught bugs all summer long," he said.
In 1973, he began working at Detrick as a college intern, following a path to a career in information technology.
"That laid the founation for my career, and, ultimately, paid for my master's degree," he said.
An education in biology and mathematics led him to serve as a statistician for the U.S. Army Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, during which time he shared accolades with a research team that won a bronze medal at the Fifteenth Annual Army Science Conference for their work on prophylaxis of sandfly fever.
He has also co-authored several medical research papers, presentations and abstracts and made presentations at three international conferences.
"I've always loved getting up in front of people, and making presentations, telling stories, singing ..." he said. "To me, giving talks, telling about all the great things we do here every day is important."
Over the years, he also served on a team that was instrumental in building the foundations for the National Interagency Biodefense Campus and worked on many special projects for organizations ranging from the Office of the Surgeon General to the Army Environmental Health Agency.
He achieved a bit of Armywide note during June of 2008, when he was asked by the Detrick Safety Office to accompany them to the AUSA medical conference in San Antonio, Texas.
The trip was for the safety team to accept the Medical Command Safety Excellence Award at the conference, a milestone on the way to Detrick being recognized as one of the nation's safest places to work.
"We had put together a little song about safety," Oland said. "And we performed at the conference. It was a ton of fun, and I think it got our message across."
The song was a soulful tune titled "Safety Has No Quitting Time” set to the music of "Alice’s Restaurant": Safety Has No Quitting Time” That’s easy to see.Taking risks and ignoring safety leads to catastrophe. You gotta be careful every day. Think about safety when you work and play. Safety Has No Quitting Time” You can take it from me.
Oland has also been known to grace staff meetings and other events with a tune, as well.
"It's been an interesting and challenging 36, years," Oland said, "and I must say, life is good."
His next challenge: managing the NEC's transition from garrison to fall under the 93rd Signal Brigade, part of the 7th Signal Command.
"It's a challenge," he said. "It's a new way of thinking and a new way of doing business, but I've got a great team and we're moving forward as a team."
Posted by PAO