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Updated: August 22, 2022 / 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022

40 Under Forty 2022: Dave Ortendahl

Photo | Erika Sidor Dave Ortendahl
Photo | Erika Sidor 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022 winners (from left) Dave Ortendahl, Michel Moravia, Ashling Rowen, Nicholas Lazzaro at Union Station in Worcester
Dave Ortendahl, 39
  • Title Executive director, corporate relations
  • Company Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Residence Sturbridge
  • Birthplace Dunkirk, N.Y.
  • Hometown Fredonia, N.Y.
  • Colleges Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Suffolk University, Regis College
Click here to read about the other 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022
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Each of the 40 Under Forty winners are rising stars, but the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers made it official for Ortendahl in 2019, giving him its Rising Star Award. This year, he went on to win its inaugural President's Award for leading the strategic planning committee for the association.

Ortendahl joined WPI in 2008 as the assistant director of employer relations and rose quickly to become the director of corporate relations within the Career Development Center. In 2021, he was appointed the executive director of WPI's Corporate Relations Office, where he oversees the strategic partnerships between the school and partners in the business community. In 2022, the Corporate Relations Office took over operations of WPI Seaport in Boston, a 6,400-square-foot facility allowing students, faculty, staff, and alumni to meet with business, academic, and government partners to foster collaboration and innovation.

Ortendahl is now enrolled in a doctoral program at Regis College in Weston and researching the complexities and benefits of collaboration between corporations and higher education, with an interest in evaluating the impact corporate partnerships have on student successes and outcomes. Ortendahl has three young sons and finds time to coach kids little league baseball and help run the flag football league in Sturbridge.

What movie best encapsulates your personality? “Date Night” with Steve Carell and Tina Fey

What Central Mass. restaurant should everyone try? I love B.T.'s Smokehouse. The Sturbridge site is the OG!

Who is most responsible for the person you are today? The most influential people in my life, who make me a better person, are my wife, Melissa, and my three boys. Without them, l wouldn't be the man I am today.

When do you want to retire? Two answers: 1) When I feel I am ready, and the work has a succession plan; or, 2) whenever my wife tells me I must! I look forward to traveling the world!

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Dave Ortendahl served as assistant director of employee relations when he started at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His correct job title at the time was assistant director of employer relations.

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