Dennis is the inaugural director of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship located in the School of Business at Montclair State University (MSU). This Center is being created to facilitate real-life entrepreneurial experiences by potentially all students at MSU. The Center is also developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem (entrepreneurs, investors, professional services) which will be leveraged to support the entrepreneurial education model.
Dennis retired in the summer of 2012 from Verizon New Jersey Inc., where he served as President & CEO for more than a dozen years. Dennis’ 33 year career at Verizon and its predecessor companies challenged him with numerous assignments and responsibilities across many organizations. Beginning as an engineer with New Jersey Bell in 1979, he worked in a variety of jobs with increasing responsibilities in operations, regulatory, external affairs and public policy positions. Dennis was named President and CEO of Bell Atlantic West Virginia in 1995, where he served until his appointment as President and CEO of Verizon New Jersey in 2000. Overseeing one of the largest companies in the state, Dennis helped guide Verizon through unprecedented advances in telecommunications technologies, helping to transform the company from a predominately voice services company in 2000 to a potent voice, data and video services company today.
Outside of Verizon, Dennis has been influential in initiating positive growth within New Jersey’s business sector. He has been active in strengthening the state’s workforce system as chairman of New Jersey’s State Employment and Training Commission. He served as co-chairman on Gov. Chris Christie’s 2009 Economic Development Transition Team, which led to the formation of Choose New Jersey, with Dennis as founding chairman. In addition, Dennis serves on the boards overseeing the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning. He previously served on the boards overseeing the Newark Alliance, the Liberty Science Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Aviation Research and Technology Park. Dennis is the immediate past chairman of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce and formerly served as the chairman of the West Virginia State Chamber of Commerce.
Dennis’ leadership across New Jersey’s economic development and education sectors has garnered numerous awards and recognitions. Included among them are being inducted into Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni, being selected to receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Conference on Diversity and being inducted into the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame.
Dennis is a graduate of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology, with a BS degree in mathematics. He also holds an MBA in finance and economics from Rutgers University and a MS degree in counseling from the Johns Hopkins University. Dennis holds a Top Secret federal government clearance and he has been awarded four honorary doctorates.