David Hodnett '07 likes people and problems. And, like many lawyers, he especially likes helping people solve problems. That may explain, at least in part, a professional trajectory that has propelled him from advising students at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) to advising trust clients at PNC Wealth Management—while earning an MS and JD along the way.
Hodnett was a full-time Internship Coordinator at UMBC, when, as a third-year law student, Mercantile Bank (later acquired by PNC) approached him about a job: they were impressed with the high quality of the interns he had prepared. Would he consider managing the bank's college recruitment program while also working in its legal department as he finished law school?
"It was a great opportunity," Hodnett says. "It’s hard getting practical legal experience as an evening student. The position was a terrific way to use my recruiting skills while I looked for areas inside the bank where I could apply my legal skills."
After completing his JD, Hodnett faced a choice. Rather than settling in the legal department, "where the bank is your only client," Hodnett moved to Wealth Management, where the clients are external, more varied—and in need of all kinds of help. "Some clients want to transfer wealth to the next generation," Hodnett says. "Other clients want to protect their wealth to provide for a spouse after their death. And others simply want to manage their wealth so they’ll have enough to live on in retirement."
In addition to his responsibilities as a Vice President and Trust Advisor, Hodnett chairs PNC's Greater Maryland Diversity and Inclusion Council, where he builds relationships with minority- and women-owned businesses across the state and forges partnerships for PNC with other organizations serving those same constituencies.
Hodnett has also drawn on his seven years of career counseling experience to help UM Carey Law students and recent graduates. He's participated in several career panels and alumni lunches at the law school and convinced PNC to be part of a law school coordinated career fair, where the company will review UM Carey Law students' resumes. "I like building relationships," Hodnett observes. "With my clients, with my law school, with my community. It’s a satisfying experience."
"Building relationships"—or "making friends," as most second-grade boys would put it—was one of the big attractions Scouting had for Hodnett, as he progressed from a seven year-old Cub Scout to a 17 year-old Eagle Scout, to his current post as District Chairman for the Boy Scouts of America, leading all Scouting volunteers in West Baltimore. Hodnett loved Scouting as a child: "Now I’m ready to give back."
That’s an understatement. In addition to his work with Boy Scouts of America, Hodnett serves on the boards of Roberta’s House, a family grief and loss center; the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel; and the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.
A native New Yorker who came to Baltimore to study at Morgan State University, Hodnett’s commitment to the city has not gone unnoticed. He has won a 2011 Business Diversity Achievement Award from the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, a 2012 Emerging Leader Award from the Associated Black Charities and was recognized as a Very Important Professional Under 40 by The Daily Record in 2012.