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Dennis Muscato: HP Retiree’s Journey Continues

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Dennis and Louise - Germany


Many people who retire after a long career immediately set out on an adventure, traveling to faraway places they did not have time to explore during their working years. Dennis Muscato also began a journey when he retired at age 55 after 27 years with Hewlett-Packard, but his was more of an inward journey, an exploration of who he was and what he wanted in what he calls "the finishing well chapter of my life."

Retiree Spotlight

 

His journey did not take him to exotic places, but rather to his immediate environment-the local and state business community where he felt his skills and experience could make a difference. Today he is playing a key role in Oregon's business community, working to bring new business and thus jobs into the state by supporting the sectors of the state's economy that have been hit hard by the economic recession.

"From that point, I began to focus on how I could use my skills and experience to encourage companies to create new jobs in Oregon," he continued.

Dennis, who joined HP as an IT professional in 1980, had honed his networking, strategic planning, stakeholder relations and community development skills during his final seven years as HP's Corporate Social Responsibility program manager.  In that position he became well connected with international organizations, Oregon business, educational and community organizations and knew how to create viable partnerships around social, environmental and business issues. And he knew about the importance of branding a product or a company.

 "I also did research and learned about Industry Clusters, specialty industry groups that collaborate to drive economic development and create policies that help grow and sustain business," he said. He offered to serve as a volunteer advisor for Oregon Industry Clusters, a focus of the Oregon Business Council (http://www.orbusinesscouncil.org). The council represents hundreds of companies in dozens of industry clusters, such as biotechnology, forestry, food processing, and information technology. He is helping them in their efforts to sustain economic growth in a tough economic climate.  Initiative areas include cross-cluster collaboration, research and dissemination of best practices, networking among cluster leaders, seeking political support and helping cluster work effectively with state agencies. (See also Business Oregon at www.oregon4biz.com for information about Oregon business development.)

"By consciously connecting industry leaders with university researchers, schools, sources of capital, and other resources, we are creating an environment for economic sustainable prosperity, attracting companies and increasing Oregon's competitive advantage," Dennis says.  Specifically, he is volunteering to revamp the Oregon Business Council's website and serving on the Access to Capital work group to help businesses find funding sources and investors.

He hopes that by bringing new business and opportunities into the state, he will also discover a new job for himself. Working through the Oregon Business Council, Dennis says he is "being of service, meeting new people, discovering new skills, and making a difference."  He calls his approach "volunteering to success." So far, he says, the people he has met "have been tremendous and inspire hope and a more prosperous sustainable future for Oregon." 

Dennis is also volunteering with Civic Ventures and their Encore Fellows Program that sees value in creating sustainable industries and jobs as "Work that matters in the Second Half of Life"  http://www.civicventures.org and http://www.encore.org/ .

Dennis says he is willing and eager to help other HP people navigate the trials of life, including unemployment. "It is both scary and exciting," he says, especially in the current climate. 

Dennis earned both a bachelor's degree in Natural Resources Management and a master's degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California. In addition to his work with the Oregon Clusters, he is involved with several business, industry and community groups. He was a founding board member of the U.C. Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business.

Working alongside his wife, Louise, a PhD in Public Health, Dennis was part of an award-winning medical partnership between Corvallis, Oregon and Uzhgorod, Ukraine.  The partnership improved health care through family medicine training, information technology, international exchanges, upgrading women's health clinics, and providing community based public health education and prevention over a five-year period. 

The Muscatos live in Albany, OR and also own a large beachfront retreat in Newport, Oregon which they rent out for church group retreats, weddings, company meetings or family gatherings.  http://muscatobeachhouse.com. In addition to spending time with their three adult children and six grandchildren, Dennis and Louise enjoy working out, reading, biking and walking along the Oregon coast.  


Editors note: Since the writing this article, Dennis landed a sales management job with a company that recycles waste into a valuable global commodity, creating local jobs, new income streams, and increasing U.S. exports overseas.  To those still job searching, Dennis says, "Be encouraged day by day by one another and do not lose hope."