Alumni Spotlight: Reginald Daniel
Reginald Daniel—Starting at the Finish Line
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.”