Developing Leaders – Damon Ploger

June 22, 2020

Damon Ploger headshot

BATON ROUGE - Ploger always had a passion for learning. After graduating from East Saint John high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps out of the New Orleans Louisiana recruiting station. Through this opportunity he was groomed for different leadership roles and acquired many technical skill-sets as a radar technician, instructor, recruiter, maintenance chief, and noncommissioned officer in charge of a Marine Air Control Squadron Detachment. Over the course of his military career, and during his nights and weekends, Ploger earned undergraduate degrees in Liberal Arts & Sciences, Electronic Systems Technologies and a Masters of Business Administration.  This, all while being deployed overseas to Iraq in 2007/08. After retiring from the Marines, Ploger decided to pursue his passions of environmental cleanup & sustainability, and working with people. He accomplished this by earning a Master’s in Sustainability from Lipscomb University, and completing the Vanderbilt University Owen School of Management Executive Leadership Program.  Ploger then applied the skills he gained in the classroom and from the Marines to founding Valor Solutions Group, LLC, a general contracting, staffing, program and construction management firm, in Nashville, TN. 

Continuing his quest for additional leadership training, Ploger has completed the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business Advanced Management Program and most recently the Masters of Leadership & Human Resource Development program from LSU.  He really enjoyed his experience being an instructor in the Marines and was eager to get back into the leadership and training world with hopes of becoming a full-time professor in the near future.  While earning his Master’s degree from LSU, Ploger credits professors Dr. Tracey Rizzuto, Dr. Petra Robinson and Dr. Leslie Blanchard with challenging him to make the most of his education and how to apply it.

“I work in a very left brained world with people who are very analytical and technically objective… Getting back into the core of leadership really allowed me to learn a lot and apply it to my field of project management,” says Ploger.

Ploger was recently accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy Leadership & Human Resource Development for Fall 2020 at LSU. He chose LSU over other universities across the country by carefully weighing the pros and cons of each program. He says he even utilized his 6-foot whiteboard in his garage to list out and visualize which program was best for him. Ploger is looking forward to working with Dr. Edward Gibbons as a Teacher’s Assistant. He was apprehensive about applying for an assistantship and starting the PhD program, but credits Dr. Gibbons for the support and encouraging push he was able to provide.   

About the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development

The LSU School of Leadership & Human Resource Development (SLHRD) offers programs dedicated to producing world-class practitioners, leaders, and instructors in human resource and leadership development. The BS, MS, PhD, and certificate programs are designed to develop the leadership, planning, analytical, problem solving, and change management capabilities that today's globalized organizations need to be successful. Additionally, SLHRD also offers two master’s programs and a certificate program, of which are 100% online. The School is housed within the College of Human Sciences & Education.  

About the College of Human Sciences & Education

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree programs, enrolling more than 2,020 undergraduate and 879 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.