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From Stopping Fires to Saving Businesses: One DBA Graduate's Story

What drove a fire rescue captain to earn a DBA?

Dr. Harry Kemp knows what disaster looks like, and what a disaster can do to a small business. He spent two-plus decades as a fire rescue captain in Jacksonville, Florida, responding to natural disasters ranging from fires to floods. More than once, he saw small business owners lose all they had. Eventually, Dr. Kemp had had enough. He was ready to do more than show up after a disaster was already in progress. He was ready to help businesses prepare for disasters before they struck.

Dr. Kemp’s goal was to gain the advanced business management knowledge and problem-solving skills necessary to help small businesses properly prepare for—and ultimately recover from—natural disasters. To achieve this, he chose to attend the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at Walden University.


While at Walden, Dr. Kemp studied business administration and management at an advanced level, learning what it takes to keep a small business running. Then, he built on his existing knowledge of disaster to research and write an ambitious doctoral study examining how natural disasters impact businesses and what those businesses can do to improve their ability to survive.

Titled The Survival of Small Businesses in Northeastern Florida After a Natural Disaster, Dr. Kemp’s study was so thorough and well-done, he won the Walden University Frank Dilley Award for Outstanding Doctoral Study. But his achievements from his DBA program didn’t end there. In fact, his doctorate in business administration was just the beginning.

Now retired from the fire department, Dr. Kemp uses the knowledge and skills he gained through Walden’s DBA program to provide small business owners in Florida with expert advice on how to avoid losing everything they have in the event of disaster. In a region where hurricanes are common, Kemp’s business management expertise is invaluable. You can read a few of his tips on surviving disaster in our newsroom article “Insights: Weathering the Storm.” And you can put yourself on the path to reaching your own business goals by enrolling in a Walden University online DBA program. It’s a great step for anyone who wants to change their life, and the lives of others.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program with a variety of specializations. Expand your career options and earn your DBA degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,