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Whether or Not You Know Where You're Going, Any Good Road May Actually Get You There. with Richard Scribner

  • Mon, March 03, 2008
  • 9:45 AM - 11:29 AM
  • 40Plus Dupont Circle Office
Richard Scribner

40Plus alumni, recipient of 40Plus Outstanding Service Award, 2007 extemporaneous speaker winner, DC area - Toastmasters International


“Whether or Not You Know Where You’re Going, Any Good Road May Actually Get You There.”

Dr. Richard (Dick) Scribner's name is on the Forty Plus list of outstanding service awardees. About a decade ago, he was instrumental in working (translate: “hanging tough”) with the IRS to get this chapter of Forty Plus its charitable-educational organization tax exempt 501C3 status. Dick has had an eclectic career punctuated by an enjoyable and productive period in the mid 1990s with Forty Plus. He remembers fondly his friends here and how they supported each other. The small-town son of a truck driver father and a librarian mother, Dick obtained a PhD in physics. He was at one time a “bench physicist” and obtained fleeting fame for his scientific work near absolute zero. Cutting his “white lab coat” career short, he then came to Washington to work on energy and arms control public policy issues – issues he’d been dabbling in since graduate student days. While working for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) establishing their public policy programs, Dick founded the Congressional Science Fellow Program in 1972. He also founded environmental, diplomacy, and arms control science fellow programs. They continue today, 36 years later. Each fall, nearly 100 such fellows descend on DC for a year – one third of them stay. Dick has collaborated with and testified before Congress. He remembers one very contentious field hearing held in Hawaii where he thought he wore the white hat, but others disagreed. He was then a special assistant to the Under Secretary of State working on Arms Control, Nuclear Non Proliferation, and Global Environmental Issues. He’s traveled over much of the northern hemisphere and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific southern hemisphere. Living on a Pacific island is one of his fantasies. Dick was a professor at Georgetown University in their School of Foreign Service, and has held appointments at American University, George Washington University, Stanford University, and the University of California at San Diego among others. Following Forty Plus, he helped found and was the first director of a counter terrorism research institute at Dartmouth College in which capacity he worked closely with the Department of Justice (before Homeland Security was established). After Dartmouth, Dick spent 4 years helping to design, develop, and run Department of Homeland Security (1) national training exercises, (2) tabletop exercises for cabinet-level officials and involving White House staff, and (3) a new 24/7 situational awareness infrastructure operations watch center. He has a top secret security clearance – which doesn’t help a bit in getting through airport security. Dick is a subcontractor with the Department of Homeland Security (subcontracting through the successful company he and his wife started 4 years ago). He’ll be quick to tell you that his wife is the real entrepreneur with her agency that does catalogs for companies such as Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. As a subcontractor, he is now with the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection which leads the federal effort to reduce the risk to the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources and strengthen related preparedness. Dick finds this important, satisfying work. Dick says, it is clear from his resume that he can’t hold a job, but nevertheless life is good. …Oh, one other thing about Dick, his home is in Vermont.

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