Biz to Biz
Day Jobs We’ve Known and Loved!
A Little About D.C.’s Vast Business Accumen
Not only did Dennis listen to others about show business but about business business, too. With his experience in being moved far afield, from music to the military (read about in his bio), he learned the meaning of the axiom, “Make the most of any situation”. For example, during his Fort Knox Basic Training he learned to apply himself, winning numerous accolades including the High Individual Proficiency Test award, Outstanding Tanker, etc.
Dennis went on to Officer Candidate School, earning a commission as Second Lieutenant plus accolades including the Commandant’s Award and being elected Class President. Musical plaudits came, too. Ft. Knox Officers Club members and attendees witnessed how Dennis did another sort of basic training: some Blues training with renown guitarist Phil Upchurch! Lessons from the maker of the hit, “You Can’t Sit Down” no doubt helped Dennis. Besides being offered tour duty with the USO, Lt. Chandler earned several awards including a Solo USATCA Music Talent Contest Award, and the Group USATCA Music Talent Award, thanks in no small part to the talented Wayne Hritz. (Hritz, co-incidentally also came from D.C.’s hometown and later reunited with him back home. Besides playing in various bands together, Wayne played matchmaker, introducing Dennis to Liz.)
But Back To Business… The Subject
That military experience served to make Dennis want to be astute in many ways. Upon returning to Cleveland from the service, he learned to be smart with money, too. How? Working in the field of banking: 3 banks in 13 years time. He started as a teller, and then served as a Management Trainee in programs that carried him up their learning ladder to finish as an AVP / Loan Officer. Besides time spent as a banker he also spent time as a teacher for 20 years. To explain, at first when the bank enrolled him in a Dale Carnegie Sales Course, he attended as a student. After being told by his teacher that he had “earned all the awards there are” Dennis was made an Assistant Instructor. With the guidance of instructor Jack Gubkin, Dennis bloomed as a teacher.
A few years later, this mentor made him his assistant again, but it was under unfortunate circumstances for Gubkin. It was while Jack was being wheeled into open-heart surgery. Ed Combs, then executive director for Sales & Marketing Executives asked Jack whom he would authorize to teach his copyrighted “Persuasive Communication” course (which was to begin the next night). He said he “would only permit former Carnegie assistant Chandler” to take up his teaching torch. Dennis did and when Jack couldn’t return that semester the student became master, so to speak: Dennis inherited his helm. As sole Sales Training Instructor at Cleveland SME, Dennis taught his own Basic Sales Training course there for 18 years. Also at Akron’s SME he did an “Advanced Selling Course” along with his “Basic Sales Training”. Plus many Fortune 500 firms contracted him to do in-house seminars.
We’ll jump ahead here to the late ’80s and early ’90s, that’s when Dennis did Membership Development at Cleveland’s Chamber of Commerce,aka The Growth Association. Being brought onboard by then Executive Vice President K. Michael Benz was interesting for Dennis. Why? Because before Benz started COSE (“The Council of Smaller Enterprises”, a division of the chamber) he also was a student of Gubkin’s.
Speaking of Chambers of Commerce
After doing a Membership Directory for the city of Cleveland, it came to the attention of Ron Beers, President of Community Communications (headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama), that Dennis could do other books for other cities. He was tapped to do books for Cleveland, Columbus and Canton. Community development books, that is. He was project manager for the respective chamber-of-commerce-sponsored books.
Dennis particularly enjoyed being Project Manager for the “Columbus Celebrates the Millennium” book. Why? Because he got to know a most dynamic individual, Ivan Gilbert. “As president of the Columbus Historical Society, (co-sponsor of the book along with the chamber), Mr. Gilbert was one wonderful gentleman to work with”, Dennis said. Other mutual interests tie the two together and they continue to communicate.
But, What Are Friends For?
Let’s go back to the late 70’s and early 80’s. That’s when Dennis first was able to really marry his love of music with his business accumen. It was while he was working at a-Camelot-of-a job at the Gibson Guitar Company, in Sales & Marketing of course! (Plus musician-Dennis got to perform in their “Gibson Guitar Greats Showcase Series”.)
What was Dennis’ biggest accomplishment at Gibson then? He feels it was getting Gibson to make The B.B.King / Lucille production line model… Why?… Because he vowed back in 1965 to B.B., his dear friend, teacher, mentor, a man whom Dennis calls his “Second Father”, that he “would be the one to get Gibson to make King his own signature guitar”. He was (the one) and the guitar debuted in 1980.
But how did it all happen?… read all about it… by going to the page that reads “B.B. King – Lucille”.