Justin Daniels ‘09 is but one alumnus who has been a privilege to watch grow from a fledgling Skyhawk to a successful young man who has made a mark on both his profession and community. He is as affable as he is articulate, and possesses the same boyish charm and sense of humor that were hallmarks of this 2008-2009 Student Body President.
Although work has taken him across the country and back, he has never strayed far from the nest. Husband of our own Kathryn Reddic Daniels ’11, College Counselor, and son of Teri Daniels, Lower School DEC Coordinator, Justin is a familiar face around campus, whether attending an alumni event or speaking at the annual Career Symposium.
A University of Georgia graduate, Justin parlayed a marketing degree into a career in the beer and wine industry that has found him in Asheville, California, Florida, and finally back home in Columbia. Following work with Skyland Distributing Company, he worked for E & J Gallo Winery as an analyst, evaluating consumer trends across the country. His expertise led to a promotion consulting with Florida-based grocery and independent liquor chains to help evolve their wine business. Since 2019, he has served as Wine Director for Green’s, and notes he wears many hats as he also assists with day-to-day operations of the family-owned business. He is responsible for wine selections throughout the chain, and most recently helped open the company’s first new location in 15 years.
As a Hammond student, Justin played the center position for the Skyhawks varsity football team. A starter for two years after taking over for his brother Chris, Justin anchored the position in the trenches. He helped lead Hammond to two of 19 state championship titles. Offensive line coach, Jeff Barnes, remembers Justin as being a very intelligent player who was able to direct the entire line. "We ask a lot from that position as far as leadership and knowledge of the game. Justin was a true leader, loved for his infectious personality, hard work, and dedication to the game."
Aside from the success he enjoyed on the athletic fields, he is quick to credit Hammond for the many opportunities that helped instill in him the ability to excel under pressure. “I feel like I learned to successfully balance competing responsibilities because Hammond has such an inviting environment that encourages students to get involved in the arts, athletics, and academics. In addition to finding that I was better prepared for college than most, I also had the confidence to step out of my comfort zone with the mindset that I can handle anything that comes my way.”
Of the many memories made over the course of 14 years at Hammond, Justin points to his most memorable as performing in The Wedding Singer. According to Justin, “It was spring of my senior year, we were looking forward to graduation, and most of my classmates were in the play, as was Kathryn. So as a Senior, I performed in my first drama production and had a blast. It was a great play and a fun way to end my time at Hammond. ”
Upon graduation, Justin received the Student Leadership Award for his work as Student Body President, set his sights on the University of Georgia, and in 2018 married his high school sweetheart. Suffice it to say, his most memorable Hammond experiences started with a wedding and ended with a wedding.