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2 April 2014

Gym employee creates award to honor director

Daniel Diaz is most likely to be found in one of three places: at the Wellness Center’s “Canes crossfit” class, running around the Wellness Center keeping things in order, or at the School of Engineering dreaming up the next social media phenomenon.

“After I graduate I really want to get my MBA and start up my own entrepreneurship,” said Diaz, who is originally from Miami. “I had this idea that came to me one day that I thought was so unique and had the possibility of growing to be as popular as Google or Facebook.”

The mechanical engineering student is the facility supervisor and chair of the Wellness Advisory Council. Diaz is also the founder of the Norman C. Parsons, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Danny is a great example of a student maximizing opportunities at the university … he is truly an exceptional young man,” said Parsons, director of the Wellness Center.

Diaz has been an active athlete all his life, playing volleyball, badminton, football and ice hockey throughout his childhood and high school career. When he came to Miami, he started out as a lifeguard but wanted to contribute further to fitness on campus.

“Right when I was hired I knew that I wanted to be a facility supervisor,” he said. “I knew I could do more and lead a staff alongside others.”

Diaz’s responsibilities as facility supervisor include managing all aspects of day-to-day Wellness Center operations, such as the front desk and the pool. As chair of the advisory board, he is in charge of setting meetings and updating members on Wellness Center activity.

“Danny is not one to sit on the sidelines and let his team do all the work,” said David Furones, operations coordinator and Diaz’s direct supervisor at the center. “He’s always showing the utmost initiative, and his positive attitude permeates through all the other employees on his shifts.”

Despite holding such important positions at the Wellness Center, Diaz says that his greatest accomplishment is founding the Lifetime Achievement award.

It recognizes the longtime director of the Wellness Center employee who recently announced his retirement.

The award “recognizes Norm, the director of the Wellness Center, for his lifetime of commitment and contribution not just to the lives of students within the Wellness Center but those across campus,” according to Diaz.

The award will be given from the student organization suite presidents in the Student Activities Center to staff, administrators and faculty who have greatly impacted student life during their time at the university.

The winner of the award will have his or her name engraved on a plaque that hangs in the student center and will receive a personal plaque as well.

“To be able to honor Norm as the first recipient just before his retirement and my graduation has been a blessing,” Diaz said.