This article was originally posted February 2012 by The Huntsman Post.
By Paul Lewis Siddoway
On Jan. 4, 2012, after six Ogden City police officers were shot, Chris Dallin faced a sudden challenge unlike any he had ever encountered before.
Chris, the director of public and government relations of Intermountain Healthcare’s northern region, graduated from Utah State in ‘97 with a degree in human resource management. He said there are lessons and principles he continues to apply that he learned during his years at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
Around 8 p.m. on Jan. 4, six officers from a Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force and Ogden Police Department were shot while serving warrants. The shooting left one officer dead and put the other five, who are now recovering, in the hospital.
When the police officers were taken to McKay-Dee Hospital, Chris said the police department’s spokesperson told reporters if they wanted updates on the condition of the officers, they would need to contact the hospital. He said he faced a barrage of questions from reporters from major national media outlets such as Time Magazine, The Today Show, and the New York Times. Despite the fact that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not allow him to reveal that type of information without patient permission, Chris said he “was constantly receiving requests for updates on the health of the officers” from reporters.
While he had dealt with some tough issues before, he said this was the first time he experienced the type of sudden pressure that came with being in the middle of a major news event. Despite the intensity of the calls, he said he knew he could not release the information, because he had decided years earlier how to act ethically in difficult situations.
He said the way he thinks through these situations always comes back to lessons he learned in the classroom of Caryn Beck-Dudley, who taught law and ethics classes at the Huntsman School and was the dean. He said not one fiscal quarter of the year goes by in which he does not think about, and use, what she taught.
Chris said it is important to recognize the individuals who have helped create your life’s blueprint.
“It is important to understand the parts that make you a person,” Chris said. “USU opened up a lot of opportunities to me.”
Reed Durtschi was another professor who Chris said continues to influence his business decisions. As a member of the senior management team for McKay-Dee Hospital, Chris said he can still hear Durtschi’s voice in his mind.
“Any time the management team talks about consumer price indexes or is considering any financial decision, I remember everything Reed Durtschi taught me, all summed up into ‘Guns and Butter,’ his phrase describing the basket of goods your company is trying to market,” Chris said.
Two other professors Chris cited as helping him become who he is today are Melissa and David Baucus, who, he said, taught him everything from essential vocabulary to critical thinking skills and analytical rigor. He said he is grateful for the things they taught him whenever he interacts with officials from Hill Air Force Base, the Utah State Legislature, and county council members from Davis, Weber, Box Elder, or Cache counties.
“I have always been taught that you can only think as deeply as your vocabulary will allow,” Chris said.