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Alithya’s Dave Moreau reflects on a military career of learning, leadership, and loss

Published November 3 2021
David Pye, Communications Advisor
David Pye
Communications Advisor
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Although the roots of Remembrance Day trace back to 1918 and the end of the First World War, the lessons learned about the horrors of war unfortunately did not endure. However, Remembrance Day has endured as a way of honouring armed forces members who died in the line of duty in that global conflict, and in too many others that have followed in more than 100 years since. 

RA2021_Img_Team8One person who understands the relevance of Remembrance Day in the context of the past, the present, and the future is Dave Moreau, Senior Vice President, Public Sector at Alithya. For more than a decade, he served with the Canadian Armed Forces, honing skillsets that would eventually lead him to Alithya’s door. And as we prepare to pay our respects to those who fought and died for their country this Remembrance Day, Dave Moreau would like to remind us all of what it’s really about. 

An officer and a gentleman 

At the age of 18, Dave Moreau left smalltown life in Quebec City to enlist with the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent the following four years studying at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, where he graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and the rank of First Lieutenant. 

In 1999, after achieving the rank of Captain, he became a strategic and project management advisor to the R&D Canadian Forces program. However, as another promotion loomed, inevitably attached to a desk job, Dave opted to leave the Canadian Armed Forces in order to pursue his passion for engineering and R&D in the private sector. 

“While conducting my work with the Canadian Armed Forces, I met a contractor along the way from R3D Consulting,” he recalls. “I joined them in July 2000 and, 21 years later, I’m very happy to be part of the Alithya family.” 

Lessons learned 

In combining his years of military service with those spent in the private sector, Dave Moreau has leveraged the best of both worlds to develop important tools and skillsets that have defined his management style at Alithya. 

Organization itself, necessary as it is, is never sufficient to win a battle

 - Dwight D. Eisenhower 

“In the military, leadership takes on a variety of forms, both in wartime and peacetime, and you focus on getting the job done with the fewest casualties possible,” he explains. “If you apply that same approach to the private sector, you focus on getting the job done while respecting the scope and budget of the project, and on completing it within the framework of the mandate.” 

By leadership, we mean the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it, not because your position of power can compel him to do it 

- Dwight D. Eisenhower 

“Leadership skills extend to all relationships in life, whether it be with colleagues, family, friends ,or anyone else that you interact with,” notes Moreau. “In the military, you learn quickly that giving orders is not necessarily the best path forward, so you focus less on commands and more on becoming a convincing speaker and a strong motivator.”

Lest we forget 

For Dave Moreau, Remembrance Day is very personal and emotional. He has visited the beaches of Normandy, and he remembers the lifelong struggles of his grandfather, a World War II POW, who never experienced a single day of peace of mind after returning home in 1946. And although Dave was never shot at himself, he remembers friends he has lost along the way, who left for distant conflicts and never returned. He also remembers those who did return, but who did so as mere shadows of themselves. 

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From the First and Second World Wars, to Vietnam, Korea, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, and more, Remembrance Day for Dave Moreau is about honouring every single person who wore a uniform and made the ultimate sacrifice. But it is also about remembering those still with us, who returned with the physical and psychological scars of war. To that end, beyond Remembrance Day, Dave honours those individuals as a member of the Board of Directors of Fondation CASA, a non-profit organization providing specialized services in the prevention and treatment of addictions. Dave’s involvement with the organization has helped to develop a special program dedicated to armed forces personnel who continue to struggle with the debilitating effects of PTSD. 

“On November 11th, I can just as easily remember someone who is 22 years old as the 98-year-old veteran whose medals are now heavier than he is,” he explains. “Because they both have the same look in their eyes as they remember what they felt and those they lost, and the pain is the same, whether it was 77 years ago or 7 years ago.” 

This Remembrance Day, Dave Moreau will remember them all, while taking time to reread In Flanders Fields, the enduring poem written from a World War I battlefield by Canadian John McCrae: 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow, 

Between the crosses, row on row… 

And perhaps that’s exactly where Dave will be. 

“Don’t look for me at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month,” he says. “No matter where I am physically, I will be somewhere else in my thoughts, thinking about all of the sacrifices made by those people and their families.”