As a senior executive of a global biotherapies company, Dennis ’76 Sociology plays a key role in ensuring that patients with rare and serious diseases, such as bleeding disorders, are able to obtain life-saving medical treatments worldwide.
His extensive experience and education in research and analysis, regulatory policy, and international trade have taken Dennis from the student data labs at Penn State to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and finally to the global operations of biotherapies leader CSL Behring. As international Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, he oversees a broad range of responsibilities including global policy development, government and industry affairs, patient stakeholder relations and communications. Dennis works closely with government policymakers, regulatory agencies, patient groups, employees, and others to enhance the company’s ability to provide and have patients access lifesaving therapies globally. He also works to help define communications strategies that advance the reputation and perception of his company.
After earning his MBA at Cornell University, Dennis worked for the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter as a senior legislative aide and developed expertise in pharmaceutical, trade, and tax policies. He later held senior public affairs positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Today, in addition to his current duties, Dennis serves in leadership roles with industry trade groups that focus on important issues relating to pharmaceutical regulation, payment policy, intellectual property, tax and trade for biotherapeutic medical treatments.
Like most alumni, Dennis has fond memories of Penn State, especially the community of professors, staff, and students. While serving as a teaching assistant in a sociology course, Dennis met his future wife, Gail Atchley, a consumer studies major in the College of Human Development. They both were active in student government and gained valuable training in research methods and data analysis through their courses or data lab jobs. He credits that training, along with the strong reasoning and writing imbedded in his liberal arts education with helping prepare him for the career he has pursued.
Dennis and Gail have given back to the College of the Liberal Arts in many ways, particularly as members of the Rock Ethics Institute Advisory Board and as mentors to our students. They have supported the Ethics Institute and established a dean’s fund and a graduate scholarship. The College honored Dennis with the Liberal Arts Outstanding Alumnus Award in March 2012.