Alumni Spotlight: Reginald Daniel

Reginald Daniel—Starting at the Finish Line

By Allan Zackowitz |   October 2010

Reginald Daniel , Alumnus

Modeling himself after an fictional advertising executive—Darren Stevens from Bewitched—was just  the first in a series of steps that would allow Reginald Daniel to retire at age 44  and dedicate his time and energy to trying to making the world a better place.

Starting out, going to college wasn't easy for a teenager  earning minimum wage without many prospects for advancement.  But  Reginald focused on where he wanted to be and  found a solution. So, in 1979, Reginald  enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. It would prove to be another important step on his pathway to success.

“I heard about UMUC while in the military. There were lots  of signs around base, and a career counselor recommended it,”  Reginald said. He started working on his bachelor’s degree in Computer Ccience while still enlisted, then used Veteran’s Education  Assistance benefits to finish up after his discharge.

Reginald’s UMUC coursework provided him with the technical  knowledge he needed, along with a deeper understanding of the  career concepts he had been exploring while in the military.  Reginald said that most UMUC courses were “taught by  people typically working in the field, so I felt comfortable challenging  them. That’s how I got answers to some tough questions.” 

Using money he had been able to save  while the military paid his UMUC tuition,  he established his own company with three  employees, working out of the basement of his  own home.    Scientific Engineering Solutions, Inc.  (SES), under Reginald’s leadership, SES competed against industry giants for worldwide  business, winning more than $200 million in contracts.

He wasn’t  afraid to challenge “standard business practices” and—based on  his own experience using life-planning and business-planning  strategies—threw out performance appraisals at SES, replacing  them with a five-year life planning and development tool that  allowed him to better understand each employee’s personal goals.

“One of the things I’m most proud about,” Reginald said, “is that  SES spawned about nine other companies founded by SES employees who were nurtured and encouraged by that environment.”

At the same time, though, Reginald maintained his focus on his  goals; he realized that his own priorities centered around his family and spending more time with them. So he positioned SES to  sell and got ready to retire. He was 44. 

After the sale of SES, Reginald had enough money to do as he  pleased and the luxury of spending as much time as he wanted  with his family. Reginald said. “At some point you have to say,  ‘This is enough money’—to say, ‘I can now help others.’  “

  So Reginald has turned his attention to helping  those around him. After selling SES, he established a  program that worked with state and local government  offices to “identify kids that would likely go to prison  and intervene in their lives to make sure they [are]  contributing to society, rather than taking away from it  by being in prison,” Reginald said. 

More recently, he has focused on sharing the strategy  that helped shape his own life, and in 2006 he published  Living Your Life Backward: Finding Balance Between Family,  Money & Work (King & Queen Publishing, 2006). 

“I’m a truly spiritual person,” Reginald concluded.  “When I was 40, I believe I found my purpose in  life—to receive blessings and pass them on to as  many people as possible.”