About Brian Daniel
Length of time in Gainesville: Went to college out of state, and lived and worked in Atlanta for a few years after school, but other than that I've lived in Gainesville my entire life.
Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration from Auburn University; master's degree in building construction from Southern Polytechnic State University
Occupation: President of Carroll Daniel Construction Co. commercial building contractor
Most interesting job: Without a doubt, my current job is the most interesting. Our business changes so quickly, new projects, new people, new places — it never gets stale. Being a family business, I grew up working at Carroll Daniel, so most of my jobs have been in construction. I did have a job for a while when I was in high school working after school and on the weekends at Strong Brothers selling men's clothes for Charlie and Nat Strong. I could never operate their cash register, and Charlie still calls me "Void" to this day.
Family information: Wife Kristin, son Stuart, 6, and daughter Callie, 4.
Each Monday, “5 Questions” asks someone in our community to answer five questions about their lives. If you know someone who would be a good subject for this feature, send their name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Daniel is a Gainesville native who runs his family's construction business. But he also stays actively involved in the community. This year, he serves as chairman of the United Way of Hall County's annual campaign committee, the group that oversees United Way's annual fundraising efforts. On Thursday, United Way will announce the results of the 2011-2012 campaign. Today, The Times asks Daniel five questions about his involvement with United Way.
1. How did you get involved with United Way of Hall County?
In 2006, I came to United Way of Hall County as a representative of Challenged Child & Friends to interview with the community investment committee. This interview was part of the evaluation process each partner agency goes through to apply for the funding they receive from United Way. I was very familiar with Challenged Child at the time, and I knew that these funds represented a substantial portion of their income and how important this money was to fund their operations. That experience sitting on the other side of the table made a lasting impression on me, and showed me how United Way serves this community. When Jackie Wallace asked me to join the United Way board a few years later, I happily accepted.
2. With the economy still struggling, how difficult has it been to keep donations to United Way coming?
It has certainly been a challenge for our campaign. This economy made forecasting and setting our goal more difficult than ever, and it has impacted many of our individual and corporate donors, leaving them with fewer resources to invest. Nevertheless, I've watched our community step up over the past year to rally behind and support our effort. In January and February, Hall County responded overwhelmingly to our call to raise $30,000 in 30 days, exceeding the request by raising $45,000 during that period. Some of those checks came from individuals who had already given once, each of them stretching to help keep us on track. This community has an amazing capacity to give.
3. How has being part of United Way affected you personally? Is there a particular United Way partner agency that is especially meaningful to you?
Despite the challenges of raising money in this economy, we chose not to lower our goal from last year's campaign, attempting to raise $1.8 million again this year. I'm a competitive guy and I have enjoyed the challenge of working toward that goal alongside our volunteers and the United Way staff. It's been a year of hard work, but it's been rewarding and a lot of fun. We hope to have a great turnout at the Georgia Mountains Center this Thursday at 11:30 a.m. when we wrap up our campaign and announce our results. Most meaningful to me? Tough call. Each of our 16 partner agencies do such great work in our community, and all serve very different missions. My wife and I have had more direct involvement with Challenged Child over the years than any other agency, and it is a very special place to our family.
4. What do you tell someone to convince them that United Way is worth supporting?
I would tell them that the money they are giving is invested right here in Hall County. I would tell them that the leverage from uniting their gifts with others in our community is the most effective way to make a substantive impact on the local partner agencies we support. I would tell them we are volunteer-led and governed, focused on the needs of Hall County, and that we provide oversight of how their donated dollars are invested. We are representative of this community, and we provide stable and consistent funding that allows partner agencies to focus on what they do best — provide critical services.
5. Where do you see United Way in five years?
We've come a long way in the past 64 years, and my hope would be for us to continue on that path of growth and improvement in the years to come. Since our inception in 1948 as the Community Chest, United Way of Hall County has raised over $47 million. That money has stayed here in Hall County and has been used to support numerous nonprofits that serve a variety of critical needs affecting our residents. During our long history, we have evolved to adapt to the changing needs of Hall County and I expect that will continue. During the next five years, I believe you'll see another generation of leadership step forward to lead United Way. We already have second and even third generations of volunteers that are assuming leadership positions to guide United Way in developing its future role in the community. We have people new to our community getting involved and making a difference through our organization. United Way of Hall County is here because we meet critical needs in our community, and as long as that need is there we will be here to serve.