Vector-style illustration of the middle-aged man similar in appearance to Daniel Harshman in a gym preparing to coach wrestling.

Daniel Harshman: Balancing Family & Duty

Daniel Harshman is currently an Equipment Specialist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts, where he plays a crucial role in advancing military technology to enhance soldier safety and performance. A native of Hagerstown, Maryland, Daniel began his lifelong engagement with discipline and perseverance at the age of five, starting his wrestling career which profoundly influenced his professional ethos and personal values.

His commitment extends beyond his professional duties; he is actively involved in community service, frequently volunteering at local centers. His early start in wrestling not only shaped his competitive spirit but also his dedication to mentoring and physical fitness, themes that recur throughout his career and volunteer work. Daniel’s comprehensive approach to life integrates the resilience and strategies learned from sports into his professional responsibilities and community interactions. I had the opportunity to meet with Daniel on a crisp morning at a local community center where he volunteers.

Early Life and Education

Daniel Harshman grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he started wrestling at just five years old. From this young age, he embraced the values of discipline and perseverance. These early lessons in sports deeply influenced his future, shaping his approach to life and work. After finishing high school, Daniel furthered his education at Ashworth College. There, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and an Associate of Science in Marketing. He also gained certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine during his college years.

The discipline I learned on the wrestling mat laid the groundwork for every success that followed in the classroom and my career. It’s all about setting goals, sticking to your plan, and adjusting as you learn.

These achievements prepared him well for his roles in the military and as a personal fitness trainer. Reflecting on his journey, Daniel often says, “The discipline I learned on the wrestling mat laid the groundwork for every success that followed in the classroom and my career. It’s all about setting goals, sticking to your plan, and adjusting as you learn.” This mindset has carried him through various challenges and triumphs, equipping him to lead and inspire others in every aspect of his life.

Career and Professional Activities

Military

Daniel Harshman has made a significant impact in the U.S. Army, serving as an Equipment Specialist at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts. In this role, Daniel leads field evaluations of cutting-edge military technologies. His work focuses on improving the safety and performance of soldiers by applying these technologies practically in the field. His dedication to enhancing the capabilities of military personnel is evident as he ensures that the equipment and technology they use meet the highest standards of effectiveness and reliability.

A fellow soldier, Michael Thompson, shared, “Daniel’s insights into equipment use in real-world scenarios have been crucial. He doesn’t just push for new technology; he makes sure it really works for us on the ground. His dedication is seen in how he handles every test and evaluation with great care and precision.”

Coaching and Fitness

Alongside his military duties, Daniel channels his passion for wrestling into coaching. He coaches youth and high school wrestling throughout Massachusetts, where he uses his deep knowledge of the sport to guide and develop young athletes. Daniel’s coaching extends beyond physical training; he focuses on building character, discipline, and resilience. Moreover, Daniel works as a personal trainer, helping individuals meet their health and fitness goals and emphasizing the importance of physical activity for well-being.

One of his wrestling students, Jason Lee, remarked, “Coach Harshman taught me that wrestling isn’t just about physical strength. It’s about mental toughness and character. He always says, ‘How you wrestle on the mat reflects how you handle life’s challenges.’ His training has changed how I view obstacles, in sports and life.”

Personal Philosophy and Approach

Daniel Harshman’s approach to life and work is strongly influenced by the principles he learned from sports, such as discipline, resilience, and a continuous pursuit of excellence. He sees physical fitness as more than just a way to stay healthy; it’s a method to develop mental toughness and clear thinking. Daniel incorporates these principles into his daily life, promoting a balanced lifestyle that combines intense physical activity with careful strategic planning.

“Excellence is a habit, not an act. You have to apply it to every part of your life, whether you’re training a soldier, lifting weights, or teaching a kid how to wrestle.

He is dedicated to always getting better, constantly looking for new methods to improve his abilities and increase his influence, whether it’s on the battlefield, in the fitness center, or on the wrestling mat. Daniel often says, “Excellence is a habit, not an act. You have to apply it to every part of your life, whether you’re training a soldier, lifting weights, or teaching a kid how to wrestle. It’s all about setting standards and not compromising on them.”

Personal Life

At home in Natick, MA, Daniel Harshman is a dedicated family man. He and his wife, Jessica, have three children who enjoy spending time together, especially when it involves outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. As a father, Daniel’s approach mirrors the leadership qualities he exemplifies professionally—he is supportive, instructive, and constantly encourages his children to tackle challenges with a positive outlook.

In addition to his family life, Daniel’s commitment to his community is evident through his extensive volunteer work with disabled veterans. He offers support and training to assist them in adjusting to life post-service, demonstrating his deep commitment to service and leadership. “Helping others, whether it’s at home with my kids or with veterans, has always been a cornerstone of how I live my life,” Daniel often remarks. This dedication highlights the values of community involvement and leadership that he strives to instill in his family and everyone he mentors.

Interview with Daniel Harshman

What keeps you motivated and excited about what you do?

What really keeps me motivated and excited about my work is the real impact it has on soldiers’ safety and performance. Every day, I get to work on technologies that could potentially save lives and improve the effectiveness of our military operations. That’s a big deal to me. It’s not just about the gadgets; it’s about what those gadgets can do for the people using them. The idea that something I helped to develop could make a critical difference during a mission is incredibly motivating.

Another huge motivation for me is the opportunity to teach and mentor young wrestlers and fitness enthusiasts. Seeing someone grow, learn, and succeed because of your guidance is a reward in itself. It’s similar to seeing a piece of technology come to life and work as intended, but even more personal. I love pushing others to be their best, and it’s that process of improvement and achieving goals, no matter how small, that keeps me going.

What’s your go-to way to relax and enjoy yourself during your downtime?

During my downtime, I really enjoy getting outdoors and staying active, which might sound ironic since my job and volunteer activities also involve a lot of physical activity. But there’s something different about hiking or cycling with my family—it’s refreshing and helps me disconnect from the daily grind. We often visit local trails or go for bike rides around Natick. These activities help me clear my mind and recharge.

Another favorite way to relax is to watch wrestling matches or other sports. It’s not just entertaining; I also find it educational to observe different coaching styles and techniques. Whether it’s a live event or catching up on recorded matches, spending time immersed in the sport I love is both relaxing and inspiring for me.

What do you think is your single most crucial trait for success?

I believe discipline is the single most crucial trait for my success. Whether in the military, coaching, or personal training, discipline drives consistency and improvement. It’s about doing what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like it. This trait has helped me maintain focus on long-term goals and daily tasks alike.

Discipline also means being prepared. In the military, this can mean the difference between success and failure, and sometimes, life and death. It’s the same discipline I try to instill in the athletes I coach. You have to be disciplined not just in your actions but in your thinking and planning. This has been the backbone of my approach in every aspect of my career and personal life.

What’s the weirdest thing that has happened in your career?

One of the weirdest and most unexpected things that happened in my career involved a piece of equipment we were testing at the Natick Soldier Systems Center. We had developed a new type of communication device that was supposed to be foolproof. However, during a routine test, it started picking up and transmitting a local radio station across the entire network. It took us a moment to figure out why there was sudden music and commercials interrupting our test procedures. It turned out to be a strange interference issue that none of us had anticipated. We eventually fixed it, but it was a funny reminder that unexpected things can happen, no matter how much you plan.

How do you handle negative feedback when you receive it?

Handling negative feedback has always been about learning for me. Initially, it can be tough to hear criticism, especially if you’ve put a lot of effort into something. However, I’ve learned that feedback is crucial to improvement. When I receive negative feedback, I first try to understand the perspective behind it. What is the feedback really about? How can it help improve the product or my performance?

Then, I discuss it with my team or mentors to get their insights. Sometimes, another set of eyes or a different perspective can help you see things you might have missed. It’s all about using that feedback constructively to make adjustments and move forward. This approach has helped me turn potential setbacks into learning opportunities and has been essential in both my military and coaching careers.

What’s the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome in your life or career, and how did you do it?

The hardest obstacle I’ve overcome in my career was transitioning from a purely military role into equipment specialization. It required not only a new set of skills but also a different way of thinking. I had to go from being solely focused on tactics and physical training to understanding complex technologies and their applications in the field.

I overcame this challenge by immersively studying the new materials, seeking mentorship from experienced colleagues, and not being afraid to ask questions, no matter how basic they seemed. It was a steep learning curve, but my background in disciplined study and the support from my team helped me make the transition. Overcoming this challenge taught me the value of adaptability and lifelong learning, qualities I continue to uphold in all areas of my work and life.

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