Honoring our heroes: Dustin Gillenwater

An extension of his character

Dustin Gillenwater’s commitment to providing patients with the best patient experience possible is an extension of his character.

Character that was intensely shaped by his military education, training, and experience in the U.S. Army after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point and serving as an infantry officer for eight years.

Character that was modeled for him by generations of family members before him, men and women who served their country and each other.

“From individual discipline in how to plan and be deliberate in my daily actions, to exploring every aspect of leadership, the Army was a fantastic training ground for learning how to lead people,” said Gillenwater. “The lessons I learned in the military have translated well into my work life. What motivates people. Strategy. Planning.  What helps teams run smoothly.”

Building a foundation

During his tenure, Gillenwater spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan before earning a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University. Outside of class, he trained Army Rangers full-time.

His time in the Middle East taught him a lot about perspective.

“Where I was in Iraq was heavily populated, more progressive and urban,” he said. “So we got to interact with a lot of people. At 23 years old and the leader of 90 young soldiers, I grew up really quickly. We learned firsthand that we couldn’t apply American culture, values, etc. to Iraqi culture. We had to take a step back and look at issues from the Iraqi perspective. That is a resounding lesson that carries over from organization to organization. Both in your personal and professional life, it will always serve you well to take a pause, a step back, and look at something from another’s perspective.”

Set up for success

For USACS, Gillenwater is the director of vendor & systems management. He’s currently in the process of implementing a project that will streamline and improve the bill payment process for patients.

Unlike many soldiers, Gillenwater said he adapted easily to life after the military.

“In the back of my head, I always knew that I would get out of the military at some point,” he said. “So I was ready when I became a civilian. The cool thing about my military experience was that it really built me to be adaptable. My time in the Army was foundational to my life and set me up for success as a leader, a husband, and a father.”

Dustin is married to Alyssa, and they have two children, Hadley and Harrison.