A Visit to the Oval Office
Brendan Leonard has worked for Fortune 500 companies like Hasbro, Samsonite, and Capital One, but it is his work with the small, niche-product company Health Enterprises, Inc., that paved his way to the White House.
Last May, Health Enterprises earned the “E” Award for Excellence in Exporting from President Bush. As the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, Leonard represented his company at a ceremony in which Health Enterprises was honored for its model of growth in international business.
“My biggest challenge was letting it all sink in,” said Leonard, who earned a B.S. in marketing at URI. “I wish I could have found a way to slow down time that day. After we left, I took a video tour just so I could refresh my memory of what I saw.”
Headquartered in North Attleboro, Mass., Health Enterprises is at the forefront of health care products around the world. It works domestically on branded and private-label products with companies like CVS and Walgreens but also has clients in over 45 countries. It was one of 15 companies honored, along with powers like FedEx. Leonard and company president Glenn Leman visited the West Wing, where they met President Bush in the Oval Office.
“He was extremely gracious, and it struck me how—with everything he has on his plate—he was so focused on why we were there,” Leonard said. “He freed up his time and was actively involved in the day.”
Leonard saw Theodore Roosevelt’s Congressional Medal of Honor, the Great Seal, and the Resolute Desk, which has served as the working station for most presidents since Rutherford B. Hayes.
“It was an overwhelming experience,” Leonard said. “You see all the history and realize the magnitude of the decisions made by the people who occupied that office. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
—Shane Donaldson ’99