OSCPA member excited to make a difference at HUD

Written on Nov 09, 2017

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

OSCPA member Irv Dennis’ search for meaningful work in retirement came to an end this past spring in the form of a phone call from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Irving_Dennis“They called to see if I’d be interested in the CFO position, so I went on an interview to see what it was all about,” said Dennis, a CPA. “I flew to Washington and met with the HUD team, and what was supposed to be a 45-minute meeting turned into three hours.”

They offered him the job several days later. Now a partner emeritus with Ernst & Young LLP, Dennis retired in June after more than 36 years of service, most recently as a global client service partner. His original plan to give back in retirement was to teach this fall at The Ohio State University.

“But at the same time, I was also floating my resume for board seats, and it found its way to the Trump administration and the HUD,” he said.

At EY his flagship accounts were Abbott Laboratories, McDonald’s and Cardinal Health, and he has worked in offices on the East Coast and in Columbus and Chicago. He said his experience with internal controls, business process, corporate governance and leadership fit well with what HUD was looking for in their CFO, a position that had been vacant for a few years.

After speaking more with HUD in the following months, Dennis accepted the position in June. His official appointment nomination by President Trump was announced in late October, and is subject to Senate confirmation. He said OSU was understanding and let him out of his contract when he informed them of his new plans.

“The more I thought about it and had conversations with my wife, it seemed too unique of an opportunity to miss,” he said. “And it certainly fits the definition of meaningful work and giving back.”

To be nominated he had to go through a thorough background check, including an FBI investigation starting from when he was 18 years old and to ensure his prior business dealings did not present a conflict of interest. But he called the entire process exciting.

“I think it’s going to give me a lot of satisfaction to use the skills and experience I’ve developed over the years,” he said. “I’m looking forward to giving back to the American people through public service.”

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