This article was originally published on February 3, 2021.
UM-Dearborn’s new Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Bryan Dadey, MBA, CPA, has experienced a recession, an academic merger and a pandemic. And despite challenging circumstances, Dadey continues to push forward and help campus communities succeed.
During the unprecedented 2020 year, Dadey served as Wayne State University’s senior associate vice president and deputy chief financial officer, where he — among his other responsibilities — created multiple budget forecasts and plans so the institution could quickly adapt to the pandemic’s uncertainty, and strategized how to distribute federal CARES Act funding.
While he enjoyed his work at Wayne State, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work for the maize and blue, especially on a campus that focuses on providing opportunities for underrepresented communities.
“Everyone knows U-M is an elite institution. With that, UM-Dearborn’s outreach efforts to make higher education accessible, and Chancellor Grasso’s focus on Urban Futures, I knew this was the right move for me,” said Dadey, whose first day at UM-Dearborn was Monday. “I had challenges as a high school student prior to college. Many people have challenges. But those shouldn’t limit anyone from reaching their true potential. I appreciate UM-Dearborn’s dedication to taking talented people who may be overlooked for a variety of reasons and giving them an opportunity to shine.”
Dadey comes to campus with an educational background in marketing, accounting and finance. So not only does Dadey understand numbers — he also understands the audience and tailors presentations to keep listeners engaged and the information relevant. He has an undergraduate degree in marketing from The Ohio State University (OSU) and an MBA from the University of Toledo (UT).
Prior to his time in higher education, Dadey worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young, where he served healthcare, nonprofits and higher education clients.
Impressed with Dadey’s work, one of those clients — University of Toledo — let him know of a campus job opportunity. That led to an exciting start to Dadey’s higher education career. During his first year working as a controller at UT, he experienced what many in higher education don’t — a merger. The University of Toledo integrated with the Medical University of Ohio to form Ohio’s third-largest public university operating budget.
In addition to his time at Wayne State and UT, Dadey also served as the vice president of finance and operations for the University of Toledo Foundation, where he oversaw the accounting and gift processing units, as well as participated in the management of an endowed investment portfolio.that's now valued at nearly $450 million.
Chancellor Domenico Grasso said Dadey’s outstanding business and finance background made him a standout when conducting the national search for the campus’ financial leadership role. At UM-Dearborn, Dadey will provide leadership and strategic oversight of financial services, budget, facilities and operations, auxiliary operations, procurement and contracts and human resources, as well as coordinating with U-M’s Department of Public Safety and Security in Ann Arbor to support the campus public safety and emergency management mission.
“Bryan comes to us with 21 years of progressive leadership experience in finance, budgeting, facilities and human resources, especially with comprehensive urban universities,” Grasso said. “He also shares our vision for UM-Dearborn's future and strategic plan. Bryan has a strong and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, financial integrity and the transparent communication of decision making.”
Dadey is responsive and on top of university needs — it’s his first week and the 2022 budget plan is on his mind. But, even though he’s a numbers guy, one of the most important professional lessons Dadey’s learned over the past two decades isn’t an Excel function. It’s to actively listen.
“When starting somewhere new, it’s important to listen to the people around you, learn what makes a place unique and hear what students’ needs are before you create a game plan,” he said. “We are all here because we’re focused on a mission that’s about impacting lives and providing opportunities. it’s not about proving who you are in the first 90 days. We are here so we can best serve the institution. That begins with active listening.”
Another lesson? When among the Wolverines, don’t flaunt the scarlet and gray. An OSU graduate, Dadey has a home office wall that's full of OSU sports memorabilia — but he promises no one will see it on a Zoom call. Out of respect, he has his computer monitor facing the opposite direction. And he’s even purchased a few maize and blue items, including new office-attire polos.
When he comes to campus — whenever it’s safe to do so — he’ll leave most of that at home except a photo or two with his three kids (two boys and a girl), ages 8 to 14, wearing OSU colors. He says he will root for U-M too (just not on a certain fall football Saturday), but the kids may be harder to convince.
Dadey said he’s glad to be part of an institution known for helping people reach their personal and professional goals. He’s a strong believer in opportunity and said it’s important to uplift learners who are working to better their lives.
“The mission of higher education is fantastic. We are serving in a role that has a positive impact on society by working at a place that gives someone the opportunity to transform his or her life. I love my career and I’m looking forward to my time as a Michigan Wolverine.”