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DANIEL Franklin

Company: Phoenix Diagnostic Labs, LLC
Title: Co-Founder
Age: 30

Favorite Part of Job? I enjoy being able to do some of everything necessary to run our business, as it means the work is always challenging and rewarding.  I relish seeing our business grow and evolve as we take one idea after another from conception to reality. And I get the greatest sense of fulfillment from finding solutions to problems for us as a business and for the people we serve, and most importantly out of seeing the real-world impact of the work that we and our community partners do in helping people overcome the obstacles in their lives.

Most Inspiring Mentor: I had a high school history, religious studies and Arabic teacher who not only inspired me through his knowledge, experiences and passion, but encouraged me to pursue what I was interested in, helped me believe in my abilities and made my big dreams seem more accessible.  

Favorite Vermont Escape: At the tail end of long, hard winters, I like to take breaks from everything else I’m doing to go to my family’s sugarhouse and farm, where I am sure to get plentiful samples of maple syrup, amazing meals, and great company.

Favorite Downtime Activity: My favorite downtime activities are playing pick-up or league Ultimate (Frisbee) and fishing, especially fly-fishing.

Favorite Super Hero: My favorite super hero is Iron Man/Tony Stark, whose powers were borne out of the will to survive but were then repurposed to be a force for good. While Tony Stark is a deeply flawed person whose individual capabilities are limited, perhaps Iron Man’s greatest contributions are as a leader of the Avengers, a collective of different heroes, each with their own personalities and gifts who know they are more powerful as a team than any of them could be on their own.

Favorite Social Media: Facebook is my favorite social media platform in large part due to its multi-functionality, as it has connected people around the world like never before and has continued to evolve to be useful in new ways. It has even become increasingly useful for businesses and professionals.

Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: Governor Phil Scott, politician, business owner, race car driver and more.  I would love to learn more about his story which strikes me as a quintessentially Vermont story.

What is the best career advice you have received? First, aim high, never give up, and believe in yourself and what you are doing or no one else will have a reason to believe in you. And second, the best way to get what you want in life is to help as many other people as possible get what they want.

Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years? I would be happy if, in ten years, I’m still helping to lead a company that is successful not just in terms of profitability and other traditional business metrics but in terms of the positive effect our work and our service have on individual lives and on our community, state, and region; I hope to be doing what I’m doing now, but much more and better. Beyond that, I hope to step up and lead by example in ways that inspire and empower others of my generation to recognize the many things that are great about Vermont while improving our state where there is room to improve, possibly by running for elected office.

What motivated you to live and work in Vermont? Vermont is my home, and I believe Vermont is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family; but I also know that we face challenges that affect everyone and the ways in which we deal with those challenges will influence not only future generations of Vermonters but other people facing similar obstacles to equality, prosperity, opportunity and dignity. I’m proud to live and work in Vermont, and I want to work to preserve what’s good for future generations while making it better however we can, so that we can offer and expand the blessings of living here to everyone who chooses to stay or to come here from somewhere else.

Career Highlights: Throughout high school, college and graduate school, I received many awards, scholarships and recognitions as a student, for community service and for athletics. For much of my life, being a student and teacher was my career or at least preparation for the career path I thought I would take. The highlight of my academic career was being Dr. Elizabeth D. Leonard’s research assistant at Colby College. Over a year and a half, I worked on two books with Professor Leonard: Men of Color to Arms! Black Soldiers, Indian Wars, and the Quest for Equality (W.W. Norton and Company, August 2010) and Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky (The University of North Carolina Press, October 2011). Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally won the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. That being said, many of the things I’m most proud of or that meant the most to me were less visible or measurable contributions as a teacher and mentor and through the work I have done in the communities I’ve lived in. And what stands out to me as the true highlights of my career and life are simply the opportunities and chances I have been afforded to experience extraordinary things for someone of my background and in general and each time someone has believed in me enough to give me the chance to do something more important and meaningful than I’ve ever done before.

Community Involvement: Over the course of my early adult life, I helped dozens of women and their children escape domestic violence and rebuild their lives, helped raise funds and support people who were homeless, undernourished or otherwise in harm’s way, and raised money or did work for numerous causes and organizations benefitting cancer research, refugee aid, underprivileged children, victims of natural disasters and more. After graduate school, my work helping people start their own businesses and improving energy and economic sustainability for businesses allowed me to work with people around the world including trips to several countries in Africa, Europe, and around the United States. Finally, back home in Vermont since 2013, I started working to benefit Vermont and other communities in many of the same ways as before with greater focus on people suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders.
Currently, I serve on the CommunityStat Rapid Intervention Team of the Chittenden County Opioid Alliance and am working behind the scenes on issues such as syringe exchanges, sharps disposal, prescription drug disposal, safe consumption sites, and greater collaboration and communication between stakeholders statewide.  I am working as well to try to bridge the gap in services and coordination between rural and urban Vermont. I have been a part of the Step Into Action Recovery Walk planning team for several years, and was just elected co-chair for the 2018 Walk. I support several community organizations as a fundraiser and volunteer. With 24 other people under the age of 35, I was chosen for the Vermont Changemakers Table by the Vermont Community Foundation and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and am a member of VBSR. And in general, though my work, I am trying to help create a more holistic and continuous continuum of care for people who are facing any number of mental and physical health problems or who have other obstacles on the way to healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.



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