About Dan Holdridge

In April 2001, Mr. Dan Holdridge was one of the youngest Program Directors at General Dynamics Corporation in Needham, Massachusetts. Dan oversaw computer engineering operations for General Dynamics and was sent to the United States Pentagon to support the construction of the newly renovated section of the Pentagon.

On September 11th, 2001, Dan’s life almost ended when he was injured in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Recovered physically, Dan dedicates his time speaking to people across the country about his experience that day, what helped him heal and how he became an even stronger person than ever before.

More about me

Leadership, Resilience, and Accountability

When we are introduced to change it causes unease due to the unknown. You’re not alone! When we embrace the element of change whereas there is a potential of an “upside” with a positive attitude, we tend to see change in a more favorable light. I’d also argue that the probability of success of such change is significantly higher when we anticipate success as an element of appreciation of what good can come, instead of pessimism which is grounded in entitlement.
On September 11, 2001, as I was under the rubble from the terrorist attack at the Pentagon, I received a firsthand education on “change”. The world changed that day, but did the world learn from that day? What do you recall learning from that day in history? Change is an opportunity for the leaders in us to challenge possibilities, change probabilities, and act proactively to embrace what could be the best thing that has happened to you, your family, your organization – our world. After 9/11, I’ve learned to appreciate every possibility, every person, every moment.

One of the last to live in the United States Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Dan Holdridge has a unique and incredible vantage point from underneath the rubble to bring your audience on a journey of appreciation for all we have in life and leadership lessons. Dan has taken the nation’s worst terrorist attack in US history, and inspired thousands with his amazing story of survival – but more important than surviving – is how to live. Dan’s message of “What we focus on is who we become” is inspiring audiences to never feel entitled to anything in life, and instead create appreciation and gratitude for all we have.


Don’t Miss WBR’s Moment at TEDxMidAtlantic

I want to thank you immensely for re-kindling my passion for helping others. The Lions motto WE Serve will be revived by all who were at the N. S. Lions Club meeting to hear you talk last night. If we can apply the concept that something good can come out of tragedy, after last nights talk, I’m sure that you are one good thing that fits that concept ! Well done ! As a lifelong NoSto resident myself, I can feel the pride in community that you felt last night in coming home.

In that vein, I would like you to take a look at the attached TED talk by F.K. Day. The NOG person from Zambia that he speaks of is non other than fellow N.S. resident and Swamp Yankee, Bruce Wilkinson. I met F.K. at Bruce Wyass up lake cottage 10 years ago and was inspired to ride my bike across the U.S. in support of World Bicycle Relief. I put you and Bruce into that box of N.S. resident who have helped change the world for the better. And there are many others, past and future, who will join your ranks; people coming out of the North Stonington’s community and school system to help better the world. I am on the North Stonington’s Education Foundation and would like to somehow get your message to them and the community that we serve. I have Chris Anderson, NSEF President, to connect us all and hopefully we can put our heads together and continue this amazing legacy of N.S. people making the world a better place in the future !

Again, thanks for everything,


P.S. You have my permission use this tribute in any form that will help your cause.

Henry Kates

Henry Kates, Partner, Reavis Cianciolo, LLC

Dan is skilled as a business leader and mentor. A man of the highest integrity and character, Dan’s has built a successful company with a highly functioning team in a few short years. Don’t be fooled, though, by his willingness to share credit for his company’s successes. He tough as nails.

Pat Yandell

Pat Yandell

Dan is a gifted speaker who both inspires and motivates. His insights and sharing of his near death experience on 9/11/01, are not only a tribute to his lost colleagues but an example of the good that can come from every hardship.

Thad Henry

Thad Henry, Professor, University of New Haven

Dan guest lectured at several of my master’s-level leadership classes at University of New Haven. The insight and inspiration that the students gain from Dan’s story and life’s lessons are the bright spot for the course. Embedded in student’s final papers, Dan is referenced often and the profound impact he offered from his speech. His delivery and message are first class and truly transformational in nature.

Jim Abbiati

Jim Abbiati, President, ABBS, LLC

I am pleased to recommend Dan, not only because he is an inspirational speaker and competent business leader, but more importantly, because he is a young man of high integrity, who walks the walk. Faith, family, friends- Dan lives his message.