Techlandia Issue 5- 2021/2022 - Page 82

Nothing could prepare Gary Daniels for his new job in April 2020.

Not his upbringing in Lacomb, Oregon, where his family shared a phone line with five neighbors. Not his college years running out to a roaring crowd at Autzen Stadium as a member of the University of Oregon football team in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Not his MBA from George Fox University or his ascension through the ranks of the large health insurer, UnitedHealthcare.

That’s because, when Daniels was promoted to CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Pacific Northwest division, the world had just descended into the first massive COVID-19 wave.

“There’s no manual for being a new CEO in a pandemic,” Daniels said. “There’s no amount of schooling or training, so it was a big challenge. Obviously, there’s a lot of sadness, with the loss of life, and a lot of stress across families and entire communities. At the same time, there are some amazing feats of ingenuity, a lot of resourcefulness, and community leadership who will help us get through it. That’s what we’re proud to be part of.”

After joining UnitedHealthcare in 2010 as a Key Accounts executive, Daniels rose to a director position by 2014 and vice president of sales and account management in 2015. In 2018, he was tapped as regional growth officer for UnitedHealthcare’s West Region, overseeing the company’s growth strategy in 13 states.

A Touch of Team Spirit