President, Global Fleet Management Solutions, Ryder System, Inc.
MSEE ’88, BSEE ’86
For contributions to health care, transportation and supply-chain management solutions in product planning, marketing, and engineering, and for keeping GE and Ryder System Inc. at the forefront of global business operations
As president of Global Fleet Management Solutions (FMS) for Ryder System Inc., Dennis Cooke leads all global business for Ryder’s largest business segment. He is responsible for the service of more than 14,000 lease customers and 50,000 rental customers with a fleet of over 230,000 vehicles maintained in 800 locations. Ryder’s FMS segment that Cooke oversees provides truck leasing, rental and maintenance in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Cooke joined Ryder in 2011 after holding various positions of increasing responsibility with GE Healthcare for over two decades, including his role as vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare’s Global MRI business for five years.
Cooke says that throughout his career he has relied on four main lessons learned during his Purdue education. Problem-solving is number one. “As engineering students, we were always solving problems and were taught approaches to solving problems,” he says.
The second lesson is learning subjects well enough to make them simple: “As a graduate student teaching assistant, I needed to understand a subject well enough to explain it simply to my students. Taking complex subjects and making them simple is what I have done effectively throughout my career.”
Perseverance and teamwork round out Cooke’s list of valuable lessons. “Electrical engineering was a very challenging major and required perseverance to succeed,” he says. “No matter how tired I was, or frustrated, in order to succeed I needed to maintain optimism and perseverance. Perseverance is extremely important in the business world.”
As for teamwork, he says, “Business is a team sport and what I learned at Purdue helped to develop my leadership and follower skills by being part of teams.” After more than 30 years as a professional at high levels, Cooke says he would advise today’s engineering students to try to grasp the relationships among the many different things they are learning.
“Strive to understand how various concepts tie together from all your classes,” he says. “Don’t just memorize to get through a test. The ability to tie concepts together to solve all kinds of problems is very powerful, and you’ll use that skill throughout your career.”
I have always believed in what I call the four C’s of business leadership: customer focus, collaboration, change and courage. I personally try to live these values in my professional career and look for leaders who exhibit these values to be part of my team.”
|2012-present||President, Global Fleet Management Solutions, Ryder System Inc|
|2011-2012||Senior Vice President and Chief of Operations, Ryder System Inc.|
|2009-2011||President, Chief Executive Officer, Board Director, Morpho Detection Inc.|
|2005-2009||President and CEO, GE Security, Homeland Protection Inc.|
|2000-2005||Vice President, General Manager, Global MRI Business, GE Healthcare|
|1998-2000||Manager, Global Order to Remittance Process, GE Healthcare|
|1996-1998||Manager, Global X-Ray Technology Platforms and Installed Base, GE Healthcare|
|1994-1996||Global Product Manager, X-Ray, Radiography and Fluoroscopy Products, GE Healthcare|
|1992-1994||Manager, Global Customer Satisfaction, GE Healthcare|
|1989-1992||Manager, Global X-Ray Order-to-Remittance Process, GE Healthcare|
|1988-1989||Applications Software Engineer and Product Manager, Proxim|
|1986||BS Electrical Engineering, Purdue University|
|1977||MS Electrical Engineering, Purdue University|
|1995||MBA University of Chicago|