The spotlight this month shines on a member of DPP‘s executive team: Roger Blau, Vice President of Operations. The definition of “Operations” is very fluid, as you’ll read. Roger is civic-minded, and has been active in the South Carolina State Museum Foundation, the American Heart Association, JDRF, and the United Way of the Midlands Tocqueville Society.
What is your job at DPP, Roger?
I am the VP. I wear many hats, having ultimate responsibility for accounting, finance, legal, IT and anything else Barbara, my wife, doesn’t want to deal with.
How many years have you been with DPP?
I have been involved with the business since Barbara started it 18 years ago. However, as an employee, it has been 10 years.
What do you like best about your job?
The intellectual challenges that always seem to come up. We are in a vibrant and evolving industry in which there are constant changes.
Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had?
I have had a great variety of jobs and each was interesting in its way. As a teenager, I worked in a jewelry manufacturing company. I have been a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as well as at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. I also managed a facility where we did custom ornamental and structural steel fabrication. The finished steel products were shipped all over the country and throughout the world.
What’s your favorite sport or pastime?
I grew up in Philadelphia and without question my favorite sport was professional baseball and, in particular, the Phillies. My interests have changed and I would say that I have followed the Carolina Panthers. It certainly has been an up and down experience – but I am used to that having previously followed the Phillies for so many years.
What was the best vacation you ever had?
There is one that clearly is so different from any other. My first job after completing my PhD was as an assistant professor at Chapel Hill. Barbara and I had no children at the time. So, during the first summer I was there, I had no classes to teach (or income), we decided to go to Europe for eight weeks. We started our vacation in England. We then went to the continent and leased a car which allowed us to travel all over Western Europe. Back then there was a book called Europe on Five Dollars a Day. It really helped in knowing where to go and what to do. I do remember practicing my college French in anticipation of really using it for the first time. Unfortunately, I came down with a extremely bad cold while we were in France and I had laryngitis. I had to whisper what I wanted to say in French to Barbara who would then repeat it to the waiters.
What words of wisdom do you try to live by?
Whatever responsibility I accept, I always try to do my very best.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Right here in Columbia. It is where all my children and grandchildren live.
Have you met anyone famous? Tell us about it.
I met General Charles Bolden. I was on the Board of the South Carolina State Museum Foundation and we were raising funds for the capital campaign which has now resulted in the Museum having built an observatory, planetarium and 4d theater. If you don’t know who General Bolden is let me tell you. He is a native of Columbia, SC. He was the pilot on the space shuttle mission that fixed the Hubble telescope because it originally had problems and the pictures being sent back to earth were not completely clear. He is currently the administrator at NASA.
We were actually having a fundraiser at my home for the campaign and General Bolden was the guest of honor. The first thing he said when we were introduced was to call him Charlie. He was just a down to earth gracious man. It really was a pleasure having him at this event.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I assume this question means winning a significant amount of money. I am sure I would spend a fair amount of time deciding how best to donate a good portion of it , which I would then do.
Thanks, Roger, for taking the time to participate in our Employee Spotlight!
Each month we shine the spotlight on one of our in-house staff. We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the culture at DPP.