Daniel Nichols’ pursuit of his own calling to bridge education and employment began more than a decade ago working with new medical students on the Haiti-Dominican border, and has stretched through wide-ranging experiences from combat operations in Iraq to serving as a Presidential appointee at the US Department of Labor to launching vocational programs in healthcare, energy and advanced manufacturing. As Victory Media’s Chief Product Officer, Daniel drives the strategy for all military and STEM brands, multimedia platforms, benchmark ratings programs, curriculum and transition resources for individuals, educators and employers.
Daniel began developing classroom-to career pathway programs as early as 1999, first for medical students and eventually entire education-employment pipelines to address the technical skill gaps in critical STEM occupations. His academic leadership has led to multiple certifications and awards, including program approval by the American Council on Education, matriculation agreements, and institutional licensure by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, among others.
Prior to joining Victory Media, Daniel served in educational and workforce leadership roles in both the public and private sector. A leader in civil service, he was appointed by the President in 2001 to serve as Chief of Staff at the US Department of Labor, Veterans Employment & Training Service. In this role, Daniel represented the agency with senior representatives of private and public organizations, and led projects for several multi-agency taskforces. He also served as Lieutenant Commander, US Navy Reserve, specializing in workplace ethics, conflict resolution, leadership development, and counseling. While in the Navy Reserve, he provided pastoral care during Operation Iraqi Freedom alongside the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in combat.
In the private sector, Daniel held several senior-level positions including Executive Director of Military to Medicine (part of Inova Health System), a not-for-profit organization providing healthcare training and career placement for military families, and Director, System Recruitment & HRIS, at Inova Health System. Daniel joined Victory Media in 2011 as head of its STEM JobsSM brand and platform, connecting “classrooms to careers” for high school students and K12 educators.
Daniel’s business leadership has been recognized numerous times, including the Newman’s Own Award for Workforce Innovation (2010), Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal for Superior Meritorious Achievement: Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003), and multiple Secretary Honor Awards for the development and leadership of workforce development and technology initiatives.
An accomplished speaker, Daniel Nichols has testified before Congress as an expert witness on competency equivalency and education reciprocity, and presented at national STEM and veteran-related conferences. A published author, Daniel’s account of serving alongside combat troops was published in the anthology Battlefields & Blessings in 2009.
Daniel holds an MBA from the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business; an M.A., Counseling, and M. Div., Theology, from Asbury Theological Seminary; and a B.A., Religion/Spanish from Grove City College. He resides in the Pittsburgh area with his wife and four children.
Guilty pleasure: Kung Fu Panda. I don’t know why, but I have to watch it if it’s on.
Craziest hobbies: Playing the banjo! I’ve finally gotten to the point where the dog won’t leave the room.
Greatest personal accomplishment: Getting a song professionally produced. Hey, you can pick it up on iTunes!
Oddest job: Green House keeper. Apparently I was the only one that could tell the difference between a leaf and a flower.
Believe it or not: My two front teeth are fake. Broke ’em when I was twelve in a biking accident.
On the bookshelf: “Unbroken” by Lauren Hillenbrand.
Mac or PC: Mac; a recent convert within the past few years.
Favorite sports team: Gotta be the Steelers! And yes, Seattle fans, that was a legitimate win!
Go-to pizza shop: Pizza Roma in Cranberry Township since I was a kid. Still the best.
Pop or soda: Pop, unless you’re in polite company.
Favorite PGH attraction: The Strip! If yinz iz dahntahn, stop der first.
Must ride Kennywood ride: The Jack Rabbit, and I still feel like I’m gonna fly out on that mid hill bump!
When Franco made the catch I was … three months old, but that still counts right!?
Did you serve? Yes. 16 years in the Navy Reserve as a Chaplain. 1 OIF tour in Iraq in 2003. Served with USMC, Navy and Coast Guard Units.