Dennis has enjoyed an interesting career in the legal arena, and continues to pay tribute to a wonderful Manchester teacher and mentor, Judy Brokaw, who lost a battle with cancer in 1994. Here, he shares some Panther memories, and summarizes his travels since graduation:
In April '06, celebrated 10 years of marriage to Linda Riley Myers; we have three children: Megan (8-years-old), Ryan (6) and Brendan (4)
Location history (where you live, previous cities)
We currently live in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL. We live approximately 2-miles from Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs and about a mile west of Lake Michigan. My lot is a whopping 33 ft. by 115 ft., which is considered an extra-wide lot by Chicago standards. I moved to Chicago in January 1995, after living in Rocky River, a west-side suburb of Cleveland.
Education after MHS:
After law school graduation, I clerked for Judge Boyce Martin of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for one year. I next worked at the law firm Jones Day in the Cleveland office from Sept. 1991 until January 1995 and the Chicago office from January through August '95. I started at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in Sept. 1995 and have been at Kirkland up to the present. I am a corporate lawyer with a focus in the securities area. In basic terms, I help companies raise money through the sale of securities. I have worked on a number of initial public offerings (or IPOs), including a consumer products company that sells Comet, Spic and Span, Chloraseptic and Compound W; a magazine publishing company that publishes (among others) Teen, Motor Trend and Hot Rod; and contact lens distributor 1-800-Contacts. I've also worked with Navistar (maker of International trucks), Bally Total Fitness and ToysRUs.
Linda is also a law partner at Kirkland & Ellis. In fact, our offices are right down the hall from one another. A corporate lawyer, Linda focuses on representing companies in negotiating borrowing arrangements with commercial banks. She did a significant amount of work for Chicago-based United Airlines during its recent Chapter 11 reorganization.
I've been to Europe a couple of times with Linda (London and Paris); I travel to Ireland quite a bit for business, and Linda and I went to Saint Barths in the West Indies to celebrate her 40th. In the last few years, we've gone to Puerto Rico over the holidays and, true to my Ohio heritage, have vacationed in Hilton Head (along with what seems like half the population of Ohio) during August.
Current Hobbies / Activities:
Life is pretty full between work and the kids. I spend my free time trying to fight back the aging process by exercising. I ran the Chicago Marathon on my 40th birthday a couple years ago. I am still running, mostly focusing on half-marathons these days. We have a weekend house in rural Indiana (about 20 miles due west from South Bend, Ind.), and I spend most of my weekends during the summer there. It is a nice change of pace from Chicago.
Favorite Manchester teacher, and why:
Mrs. Austin . . . Incredible dedication and passion for teaching.
Mrs. Brokaw . . . A great mentor and supporter.
Mr. Armenti . . . He prepared me for the Socratic method of teaching that is used in law school.
Favorite subjects at MHS:
History (all classes); English Literature and Physics
Least favorite subject at MHS:
Typing. My fingers and brain were never on the same page, or key for that matter. I started practicing law trying to avoid typing at all costs. Technology finally changed that, and now I spend a lot of my day typing email and Blackberry responses. In fact, I even typed my responses to this questionnaire. In the end, taking typing was somewhat like going to dentist. It was not pleasure while I was there, but I am glad I suffered through it.
Favorite memories from school:
Beating Orrville in football my senior year. I also enjoyed the senior proms that I attended.
Least favorite memories from school:
As I recall, there were three different lunch periods my freshman year and I was lucky enough to be in a lunch period with only my fellow freshman classmates from AP English. I remember spending most of the lunch period trying to avoid the sophomores who were keenly interested in "freshman initiation" matters. I never went into the back hallway behind the gym the entire year.
Tell us about your interest & involvement with the Judy Brokaw Scholarship Fund:
I remember reading in The Signal (as I recall), shortly after Mrs. Brokaw's death, about the scholarship fund being set up in her name and thinking what a great way to honor her for all of her dedication and support. I had Mrs. Brokaw for 8th grade American History and loved her teaching style and genuine interest in history. I was fortunate when she moved up to the high school while I was there, and thought of her as a mentor during that period. Like my parents, Mrs. Brokaw always kept me focused on doing my best . . . even though that might not have been considered "cool" by my peers. I have made a donation to the scholarship fund in her name for the last several years and intend to continue to do so if my circumstances permit. I remember how important scholarships were to me as I attended college and hope my contributions will likewise help out a deserving student.
What sports, if any, did you play at MHS?
Football. I can only hope my boys will have such a rewarding experience.
Other H.S. activities / clubs you enjoyed:
I was actively involved in student government. I always wish I would have tried out for the high school musical.
Which H.S. reunions have you attended?
None. I hope to be involved in helping to plan and attending our 25th reunion in 2008. I had to miss our 10th year reunion due to a friend's wedding being on the same date. I heard it was a good time.
Did you have any favorite "hangouts?"
As I recall, there weren't many hangouts in Manchester during my high school days. I was working at McDonald's, so I did not hang out there on my off days.
Favorite music from your H.S. era, and current favorite:
I was a big fan of the Michael Stanley Band during high school. Eddie Money released "No Control" during my senior year. I still turn up the volume when I hear "Shakin" or "I Wanna Go Back." Loverboy was also a favorite of mine in H.S. I still like Neil Diamond, having attended five of his concerts over the years. I was generally a "Top 40" guy in high school and I remain one today. Recently, I have been listening to the soundtrack to "High School Musical" with my kids. For those of you with children between the ages of 6 to 10, I am sure you have heard it by now.
Favorite TV shows (then & now):
Happy Days and The Grinch. I still watch The Grinch (now with my kids).
Probably watch the news and sports the most, now. I'm still a big fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Rocky (the original) continues to be one of my all-time favorite movies. I went to see it with my dad (who has gone to the movies 3 times his entire life) and my brother at Akron Square.
Biggest Pet Peeve since your graduation:
Upon graduation, I was awarded the "Manhood Award" based on my academic performance and contributions to the school. While I was in college, I listed the award on my resume and encountered a number of pointed questions as to what I did in high school to be awarded the "Manhood" award. I am not sure the award survives, but the name should be changed. I don't list it on my resume any longer.
Also, I have never really accepted that I am technically considered part of the "baby boomer" generation because I was born in 1964. Generation X sounds much cooler (which technically starts in 1965). I missed being part of a different generation by less than two months!
"My old friends would be surprised to know."
.My wife convinced me to go to a spa with her a couple of years ago, and I found it quite relaxing.
Do you still have family living in Manchester? And how often do you return to your hometown?
My parents still live in Manchester in the house that I grew up in. I generally get back to town at least once a year around the holidays, and sometimes during the summer as well. Flying into Akron/Canton airport from O'Hare is like night and day.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to hear from old friends.