November Employee of the Month: Dave Daniels
photo by Tim Fitzgerald
Anyone who has participated in a Group Ex class, taken dance lessons through Campus Recreation or visited the UNO Fitness Center has experienced the efforts of David Daniels, assistant director for health and wellness. For the past decade, he has been the guiding force behind many programs designed to impact the wellness of the campus community.
Daniels is responsible for the overall operations of the fitness/wellness areas and programs within Campus Recreation. In addition, he coordinates Mav-Rec Wellness, the UNO health promotion program.
Among his other tasks are supervising the fitness/wellness graduate assistant, planning and evaluating programs, maintaining parts and service for exercise equipment and lining up independent contractors for programs like golf lessons and massage therapy.
"I like the variety," Daniels said. "I get to work with and interact with great people who like to work out in a fun, active setting. It's not just a desk job, which I would get very bored with."
A large portion of his time is spent planning special programs and events, including the annual UNO Health Fair. Recently, Mav-Rec Wellness has collaborated with additional departments across campus to plan new activities like the "You Look MAVelous!" program, which began last summer.
Along with his regular duties, Daniels has been kept extra busy with tasks resulting from the ongoing renovation of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Building, which houses many Mav-Rec Wellness programs. Colleagues say his leadership during the project has been outstanding.
"Dave has developed into a fitness expert through many hours of research and hands-on participation," an individual wrote. "This dedication has resulted in an outstanding new addition for the students, faculty and staff of UNO."
A longtime health and recreation enthusiast, Daniels has also gained helpful experience assisting with parks and recreation and YMCA programs, as well as working with professional sports.
"All of these have been great learning experiences and have definitely assisted me in my current position," he said. "I wanted to return to a college or university to use my recreation experiences. I like the academic setting, as there is constant learning and sharing of ideas and a common goal of educating students and preparing them for life."
In his free time, Daniels enjoys traveling, reading, music and working outdoors in his yard. He also participates in a variety of recreational activities and likes to volunteer when he is able.
When asked to describe memorable experiences throughout his tenure at UNO, Daniels said he really enjoys planning the Health Fair and student appreciation and Welcome Week activities. Other significant events, he said, are still in progress.
"I think, looking back in a few years, the renovation and expansion of HPER will be a big one, but we're too much 'in the eye of the storm,' to enjoy it right now. It’s full steam ahead."
Being named Employee of the Month was a pleasant surprise for Daniels, although he didn't expect the extra attention.
"It's nice to know somebody thinks that you are doing a good job," he said. "It makes me feel appreciated."
(Pictured above: Daniels and UNO Chancellor John Christensen.)