March 8, 2016

Start Impacting the World: Duane Woerth

Duane Woerth
For more than 40 years, Duane Woerth ’70 helped lead the way in international business and global politics. Currently president of Vision du Monde, LLC, an international aviation consulting firm, he also serves on the advisory board of Sojern, Inc., an internet advertising and big data firm he co-founded in 2007 in Omaha, Nebraska, with offices throughout the world. Woerth knows firsthand how a degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration leads to success.

When Woerth visited CBA this February, the Scribner, Nebraska, native told a group of international business students, “Nebraska students never have to take a back seat to anybody. I learned the foundations of business at Nebraska. I learned how to make deals here. I learned how to communicate here. I learned how to sell here. I’ve been able to outperform Harvard graduates all the way to next week and I learned it at Nebraska.”

Confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2010, he has taken some grief from other business people about where he went to school. However, he told the students his company is thrilled to hire Nebraskans.

Woerth lectures at CBA
Woerth lectures at CBA
“Harvard, Wharton and Chicago are all good business schools, but your success in business isn’t about your pedigree. It’s about you. If you learn how to apply yourself, you’ll find out as Nebraskans, companies know you’re loyal, dedicated, truthful and will work as hard as anyone. With Donde Plowman leading the way, it’s getting even better at Nebraska, but it all comes down to you,” he told the students.

Currently serving on the CBA Dean’s Advisory Board, Woerth sees the change happening at the college and believes it is reflective of the “Start Something” attitude.

“Donde is a real change agent and wants the board to provide leadership to create a 21st century business school for 21st century business. I’m honored to be on the advisory board because it’s more than writing checks. The alumni are engaged to participate, mentor and help students get jobs. Being able to talk to these international business students lets me make a real contribution,” he said.

A member of the Northwest Airlines board of directors from 1993-98, he served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association from 1999-2006. After September 11, 2001, he served on the Department of Transportation’s Rapid Response Team and the Next Generation Air Traffic Control advisory board to coordinate private and public sector investment. He also worked under President George W. Bush while serving on the labor advisory board to the U.S. Trade Representative.

He believes Nebraska students can have a big impact on the global economy if they learn the process of blending business with politics.

“I learned how to work the politics in the European Union and in the United States and how important politics is in international business. You have to be aware of the political implications at all times when you’re working for an international business. The awareness of politics is vital in helping your company succeed,” he said.

Woerth lectures on the subjects of board of governance and international trade policy at Harvard, Columbia, MIT, George Washington, McGill and the London School of Economics. In 2013, he received the William Shea Award by the University of Nebraska Aviation Institute.

Woerth with international business students
Woerth with international business students