Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Dan Herlihy, THON

By Billi Maynard

Dan Herlihy is the Technology Director for THON 2020. He is a senior who spends much of his time working on all digital aspects that help run THON weekend. 

Tell me a little bit about your role in THON.

As overall tech captain, I am in charge of 22 other captains spread throughout five different teams that each handle a different area of THON’s technical needs. 

Being in charge of 22 people and all of THON tech must be challenging. How do you ensure good communication throughout the group?

On tech, communication as a whole is simple because of its analytical design and my style of leadership. Most of the decisions we make are based off of efficiency rather than negotiations. Our group as a whole is very autonomous. Each group has a project manager and that manager reports to me.

What has been your biggest leadership challenge?

Definitely accepting that the way I would do something isn’t always the way that someone else would do that. 

What advice would you give to the next person in this position?

Don’t micromanage. Trust your team. I’ve always lived by the quote, “if you set the bar high, people will reach to meet it. 

Do you believe that, considering our nation as a whole, we as people can come together and communicate (i.e deliberate) as efficiently as you do working on THON tech?

Yeah I do. The cultural climate is pretty heated now, but I definitely think people will reach a breaking point and then figure it out.