IHRDC Founder and President Named as Recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State University

IHRDC, a leader in training and competency development for the worldwide oil and gas industry for more than 50 years, announced today that the company’s founder and president, David A. T. Donohue, JD, PhD, has been named as a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State University, the highest honor presented to the university’s worldwide community of graduates.

Donohue pursued his career in oil and gas after studying engineering at McGill University and receiving a bachelor of science in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State. He worked in operations, research and engineering for several energy companies before returning to Penn State as a faculty member in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1964.

“It’s an honor to be recognized like this by my alma mater,” said Donohue. “I’ve always had a great affection for Penn State, and my time there was a great foundational period for me.”

When he was a young man, fresh out of graduate school at Penn State and working for a major oil and gas corporation, Donohue believed he had found a way to improve a production process for his employer. His suggestion went up the chain of command but, apparently it got caught in red tape and never came to fruition.
The experience awakened a passion in Donohue to start fresh in building a company — and to do it his way. He followed his ambitions and eventually started two successful enterprises — along the way becoming a noted technical specialist, businessman, attorney and lecturer.

International Human Resources Development Corp. (IHRDC), which Donohue founded more than 50 years ago, and where he still serves as president, is a worldwide leader in training and employee development for the oil and gas industry.

More than 15,000 energy industry managers and executives worldwide have taken IHRDC’s many courses over the decades, and during that time, Donohue never stopped building. The company started with a handful of lecture-based courses and gradually evolved into books, instructional videos, competency management systems, interactive learning simulation games, and more than a thousand internet courses, which hundreds of learners access daily around the world.

“I’m motivated by creating new and better ways for adults in our industry to learn the knowledge and skills needed to be better performers,” Donohue said. “As new technology evolved, we used it to create innovative products and services to enhance the learning experience.”

Since his time as a graduate student and later a faculty member at Penn State, Donohue has continued to give back to the University over the years. He and his wife established the David and Pamela Donohue Trustee Scholarship in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and he and his son Timothy, a fellow graduate, endowed a professorship in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in 2015.

“I’ve always wanted to find better ways to teach and for people to learn,” Donohue said. “Penn State gave me a strong foundation in technology; the opportunity to develop my teaching skills; the academic background and curiosity to research, write and develop learning content; the creativity to present it in a simple way; and the satisfaction of seeing a person’s eyes light up when you reveal a new world to them.”

Donohue will receive his Distinguished Alumni Award during a ceremony in October on the University Park, Pennsylvania campus.

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