By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)February 1, 2018
The eighth edition of the Surface Warrior Spotlight will illuminate the long and unique career of Don Morrow from the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) G5 directorate.
As a senior strategic planner, Morrow develops strategic and campaign plans where he converts leadership initiatives from concepts to action. He deals directly with the team to affect cultural changes and move the command forward.
Morrow's story goes back half a century to the Vietnam Conflict when he joined the Army in 1968 as a Transportation Corps officer. His career since then is extensive, and he has been around the world and back again. He retired from the Army -- twice; he's managed critical Army programs; and he was on the forefront of the U.S. Transportation Command's ventures into artificial intelligence.
Now it's time to bring Don into the Spotlight.
Q: Before working at SDDC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
A: I was the Advanced Technology Functional Program Manager, Chief of Technology Branch, J5 Strategy and Studies Division at U.S. Transportation Command. I managed a program for the research of applications of artificial intelligence to Command and Control Decision Tools, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded program. I moved mobility models to advanced (at the time) systems technology from 1987 to 1990.
Q: What are three things most people don't know about you?
1. I graduated from a Historically Black College and University (Lincoln University of Missouri) and was one of the first Caucasians to attend on a four-year athletic scholarship after integration.
2. I am a licensed minister and have been since 1972.
3. I interned during undergraduate work for the Missouri Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific) in the Diesel Electric Locomotive Shop in their Materiel Department.
Q: What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life?
A: Retiring and making it stick. I've retired twice from active military status, once from teaching and coaching high school basketball, and twice from industry.
Q: How did you first learn about SDDC?
A: I knew about Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) from the get-go and continued to be involved with MTMC as it transitioned to SDDC. Most of my involvement with MTMC other than as a Unit Movement Officer was when I was assigned to the Installation Transportation Office as Plans and Programs Officer at the United States Military Academy.
Q: What is the best place you've traveled to?
A: Key West, Florida. It's a relaxing place and it's warm.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: Ephesians 4:1 (NIV): "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
A: Liam Neeson, because, "what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career."
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: Visiting New York City and seeing the sights.
Q: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Grilled Rib-eye steak and baked potato from Popeye's Chop House in St. Rose, Ill., because it is the best.
Q: Which cartoon character would you most like to switch lives with?
A: Snoopy, because he has lots of friends.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in the wonderful city of St. Louis?
A: Visit the Missouri Botanical Gardens, because it's relaxing.
Q: What would you do (for a career) if you weren't doing this?
A: I'd be retired. Why not, I'm old enough.
Q: What phobias do you have?
A: I'm afraid of heights, because they're scary.
Q: What did you want to be when growing up?
A: I wanted to be a grown-up, so I could make my own decisions.
Q: What is the one thing you can't live without?
A: My spiritual beliefs. My personal experience validates them on a daily basis.
Q: What does a typical day off look like for you?
A: I tend to work around the house and yard.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Lazy people with no interest in improving themselves beyond their pay or their organization.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Meeting goals.
SDDC's "Surface Warrior Spotlight" program highlights different members of the SDDC workforce every few weeks through a series of interview-style questions that focus on his or her unique background, personal stories and experiences.
Take a look at Morrow's Surface Warrior Spotlight video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/IJWydeM5Xio.