The Brigadier General at Big Blue
Alumna melds business career with high profile service in the Army Reserve
Thursday, March 29, 2018
General stands with family

Dianne Del Rosso ’89 B.S. Business Administration

When Dianne Del Rosso gets dressed for work, she might put on a business suit. Or don a military uniform. The choice depends on whether she is heading to her IBM office in the Washington, D.C., area or to her command post in Los Angeles. This dual-career alumna is a veteran of 28-and-a-half years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, 13 of which have been concurrent with her job at IBM.

An “Army brat” who moved frequently, Dianne was captivated at an early age by “Army family friendliness” and the high character of her [Major General] father’s friends and inspired by her mother’s enjoiner: “Charge with finesse!” When it came time for college, she applied to West Point. As back up, she also applied for an ROTC scholarship—a financial necessity if she wanted to attend a private college. Finding out she was admitted to West Point and also awarded an ROTC scholarship, gave her a lot to think about. Two months before she was to report to Beast Barracks at West Point, Dianne changed her mind. “I wanted to experience life in college and gain a sense of responsibility on my own,” she explains. “Being an Army brat, you experience a lot of structure, and I felt I needed a bit of a hybrid experience in my college adventure.”  

Living in Hawaii at the time, Dianne heard about Trinity from a family friend’s son. When she saw the curriculum, the student-to-faculty ratio, the percentage of National Merit Scholars, and that Trinity was a host institution with an Army ROTC Corps of Cadets, she was sold. Because it was very late in the application process, she applied over the phone and learned she was accepted over the phone two hours later. And yes, she had a hybrid experience.

Courses taught by business administration professors Don Van Eynde and­­­­ C. Courtland Huber and economics professor Rich Butler challenged her to “think independently, from many points of view, and have [her] own voice.” A class in contemporary religious thought broadened her view beyond her strict Catholic upbringing and gave her a “whole new perspective on values, behavior, culture, geography, society, and anthropology.” She also played soccer, joined the SPURS sorority, became a cheerleader, and co-chaired the annual Phonathon with Mike Bacon ’89, now Trinity’s vice-president of Alumni Relations and Development.      

After graduation, Dianne spent more than 10 years on active duty as an Army logistician and a year and a half at startups. Then came business school before she opted to stay on with the Army Reserve before joining IBM, known as “Big Blue.” Four months into her job at IBM, she was pulled back into Active Duty and deployed to Iraq in 2004. She counts surviving while leading over that year-long experience during a very volatile time in Iraq’s transformation as one of her most significant accomplishments.

Dressed for business, Dianne serves as vice president and chief client success officer for IBM’s Watson IoT (Internet of Things) business unit. She leads a broad team that provides clients with advisory services, support, and client success expertise from solution purchase to deployment, adoption, usage, expansion, and growth. A new advertising and marketing campaign themed “Let’s Put Smart to Work” gets to the heart of the Watson IoT business. “It’s about innovation and the growing range of connected devices that sends data across the Internet,” she explains. “The Internet of Things is now a reality due to the convergence of several technologies, including wireless communications, micro-electrical systems, and the Internet. An example of the technology convergence, Dianne says, it to “think about feathering the brakes, tire sensors, and drive handling, when combined with weather conditions, sending data and insights for action to phones and cars two kilometers away on the same route warning of icy conditions ahead and to slow down.”        

Donning her military uniform as a brigadier general in the Army Reserve, Dianne deftly switches focus to her role as commanding general of an Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Los Angeles, where she leads three brigades and oversees 7,000 soldiers in three states. The brigade’s mission is to provide command and control of units, elements, and activities to provide operational and tactical level combat support logistics to forces across the spectrum of operations. They also provide distribution management to forces in coordination with the theater sustainment command.

Having assumed both roles within the last few months, Dianne finds little time for much else. “Unplanned outings with friends are a treasure,” she notes wistfully. She copes with the pressures of her dual career with a combination of time management, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), yoga, and working on planes. “Like many, my head is on swivel all day intent on making a positive and meaningful difference.” With a grin, she adds, “It probably helps that to really focus, I only need six hours of sleep, an early morning workout, and one cup of coffee to function on all cylinders.”

You can contact Dianne at delrosso@us.ibm.com.

Mary Denny helps tell Trinity's story as a contributor to the University communications team.

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