Macon State College MVPs is a web feature that profiles notable students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Full Name: James Wesley Daniels.
Hometown and Residence: Macon.
High School: Stratford Academy.
Family: “I receive support and comfort from both my friends and family. Without them, I would not be who I am today. In addition to my parents and step-parents, I have seven siblings, four nephews, two nieces, two grandparents, and many close friends.”
Current Employment: “I periodically work in the Center for Economic Analysis at Macon State and at night I work at Natalia’s Italian restaurant. This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Graphic Packaging International in Perry, where I assisted the Lean/Six Sigma manager.”
Degree Objective: Bachelor of science in business with a major in production/operations management.
Class Rank: Senior.
Activities: Student chair and founding member of the American Society for Quality at Macon state, ASQ Mid-GA Section 1525 member, peer tutor in the Academic Resource Center.
Career Goals: “I’d like to work in continuous improvement. I find many of the methodologies and techniques pertaining to Lean/Six Sigma fascinating. Therefore, after accumulating the required industry related experience and after completing the required projects, I plan on obtaining a Six Sigma Black Belt. The experience I gained from my internship at Graphic Packaging International in Perry has improved my position to do just that. I assisted certified Lean/Six Sigma professionals in analyzing and evaluating all aspects of the manufacturing process. I gained exposure to SAP®. I participated in ‘Lean’ events and was responsible for preparing statistical analysis for Six Sigma project teams. The opportunity that Macon State provided me has proven to be invaluable. I would like to obtain a master’s degree or at least a professional certification other than one related to quality. Perhaps a CCNP, a CCIE, or a PMP would help complement my current education.”
He chose Macon State College because … “I haven’t always been a good student. I didn’t used to care much about school and I felt that everything would just fall into place with minimal effort. Needless to say, life does not happen that way. My attitude and behavior didn’t afford me the option to go to a prestigious university out of high school. Eventually I was coerced by friends and family to ‘go to college.’ I guess Macon State chose me. The cost of tuition was, and continues to be, very attractive at Macon State. Furthermore, Macon State was very close to home. I believe that one receives an unbeatable educational value at Macon State. After my first semester at Macon State, I knew that this is where I would stay. The caliber of the professor rivals any institution in the area. The professors are dedicated to their students and the faculty-to-student ratio fosters this environment. One has the option to get to know their professors on a name-to-name basis and to utilize the resources that the professors have to offer. It is really rewarding to see your hard work and effort pay off.”
The one thing that surprised him about Macon State was … “The quality of the academics. I always assumed Macon State would be easy. I was wrong. Friends would come home for the summer from other universities and sign up for classes at Macon State. They would do this thinking that they could wipe out some course work that would be more difficult elsewhere. They too, were surprised.”
His favorite professor is … “This is really an impossible task. There is no way I could reduce all of my learning experiences to a single professor. However, there are several I’d like to mention for their substantial contributions. Dr. Tony Patti has taught/mentored me throughout my degree track and he continues to help me better myself intellectually and professionally. Dr. Francisco Lopez made business statistics, quantitative methods, and advanced production/operations management fun with his ‘shots of tequila.’ Dr. Trip Shinn and Dr. Greg George have helped me further my professional development in the CEA and have become nightlife friends at Natalia’s. Terry Cantwell was my first ‘real’ professor. He taught me how to be patient (even though I wasn’t patient then), he taught me the importance of discipline, and most importantly, he taught me that hard work does pay off. Through challenging obstacles and unquestioned faith, all of these professors have showed me what I am capable of. For that, I owe them my gratitude.”
His favorite place to study is … “The second floor of the library at Macon State or the kitchen table at home usually provides adequate sanctuary to get my work done. While I enjoy a little quiet time for studying, my best work is usually done when I’m under pressure. A little noise or a nearing deadline can be all the motivation I need.”
One thing people don’t know about him is … “I used to be a music major. I studied classical guitar for many years privately and in a classroom setting. I have played at many weddings, one bachelorette party, and once on NPR. I also enjoy playing a collection of stringed instruments. My current favorite is my octave mandolin that was handmade by my uncle.”
His friends make fun of him because … “I’m tall, awkward, lanky, and sometimes clumsy. Some say I look like Jon Arbuckle from the Jim Davis comic strip, Garfield.”
The one person he’d most like to meet is … “This is a tough question. There is not really anyone in particular that I’d like to meet. I admire many people, but I’m not sure I would have anything of importance say to any of them. I tried to think of candid responses, serious responses, and thought-provoking responses. And this is what I came up with: If I was hosting a dinner party, I would invite Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler. As we know, these mortal enemies never met and it would be interesting to see what they would say to each other. Of course, I would need a referee/ mediator. I could choose from a variety of MMA fighters to keep the peace and they would surely do a fine job. But, instead of Fedor Emelianenko, I think I’d choose Andrew Jackson. Not only do I think he would provide better conversation, but I also heard that ‘Old Hickory’ once nearly beat a man to death with his cane after a failed assassination attempt on his life (certainly not a 67-year-old I’d want to mess with). As I watched the mayhem unfold, I would need someone to provide commentary in the style of MST3K. Any clever comic, satirist, or social commentator would do. Perhaps Bill Hicks, Frank Zappa, or Homer Simpson would be amusing.”
Five years from now he sees himself … “I want to be as marketable as possible so I would like to continue my education. However, education isn’t everything. I need experience too. I would likely be most happy in an environment that would allow me to pursue both of those goals simultaneously. Ideally, I see myself gainfully employed, using the skill set I have acquired over the years to better my position in the workforce. I see myself having a family of my own, saving for retirement, and living the ‘American dream.’ Realistically, I see myself searching for a better job, struggling to make ends meet, and searching for a foothold in life. Whatever life brings; I’d like to be healthier, wealthier, and wiser than I am today.”