David Pierce '85 knows the value of flexibility to keep pace in a changing and unpredictable business climate
NORWICH RECORD | Fall 2021
As a senior executive for Boston Scientific, David Pierce ’85 saw that the shutdowns, tie-ups, plunging sales, and spiraling uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic presented not only an object lesson in managing through a crisis but also an opportunity to see beyond challenges to future opportunities.
Pierce adopted the practical strategy of splitting his team in two. One focused on troubleshooting daily operations, the other on the future: How could their business unit emerge better, stronger, and together? “What are we learning today that we can apply later?” he asked.
The same philosophy informs his donations to the Norwich Fund, which gives the added gift of flexibility to keep pace in a changing and unpredictable world.
Such unencumbered financial gifts, Pierce says, are crucial when the university is faced with “having to do things tomorrow that they hadn’t thought about yesterday as every organization discovered in 2020 and 2021. They have to have the ability to pivot—fast, because the world is changing so fast.”
“Attending Norwich has been a key point in my success going forward. The discipline, the structure, the routine, the energy to take on tough challenges— all of that was embedded in me during my four years there.” DAVID PIERCE ’85
The son of a mailman and a nurse, Pierce grew up with his five siblings on Boston’s North Shore. He attended Norwich on an Army ROTC scholarship, where his Hill education delivered “the structure and the discipline that allowed me to be successful,” he says.
After his military service, Pierce was working for Airborne Express in Houston, when Boston Scientific came calling. Thirty years ago, the company was relatively small and privately held. Today, it is an international giant with 30,000 employees worldwide and $12 billion in annual sales. Pierce serves as the executive vice president and president of the company’s MedSurg division, where he oversees endoscopy, gastroenterology, and urology product lines, as well as corporate marketing and sales.
Pierce joined the Norwich Board of Trustees in 2020. He gives back by helping guide his alma mater forward. “The school has done a remarkable job of staying cur¬rent, in understanding the demands not only of the military but also of government service and private industry,” he says.
“When you walk out of Norwich, whether you’re military or civilian … you walk out of there having experienced four years of academic rigor, and social and intellectual rigor, as well. You’re a different person.”