Visit Page
Skip to content

Episode 86: Dr. Joe Daniels is Building Community Through Love in Northwest Arkansas and Beyond

Spread the Ozark love

IANWA - Dr. Joe Daniels is Building Community Through Love (edited)

TZL Open [0:11] It's time for another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. The podcast covering the intersection of business, culture, entrepreneurship, and life in general here in the Ozarks. Whether you are considering a move to this area or trying to learn more about the place you call home, we have got something special for you. Here's our host, Randy Wilburn.

Randy Wilburn [0:42] Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. I'm your host, Randy Wilburn, and I'm excited to be with you today. I have a guest on the show today, and his name is Joe Daniels. Joe is an outstanding individual with a Civil Engineer. He is also the founder of Build Community Through Love and just doing some amazing things here in Northwest Arkansas. I was introduced to him by a very, very dear friend of mine. And whenever this individual says I need to meet somebody, I make time to meet them. And so, Joe was kind enough, and I don't know if he bought me coffee, or if I bought him coffee. But regardless, we sat down at an Onyx, there on Greg in Fayetteville and just got a chance to meet each other and talk and it was just an uplifting conversation. It's one of those conversations where you're talking to somebody and you're like, man, I feel like I've known this person for a long time. And so, we built our friendship from there. And one day I said, hey, Joe, I got to get you on the podcast, I want to talk about what you're doing, both in your professional life, as well as with some of the things that you have decided to speak up about in our community. And so, without further ado, Joe Daniels, how are you doing this afternoon?

Joe Daniels [1:52] I'm doing good, man. Happy to be here with you finally. We have been talking about this on and off the record for a long time. So, I'm finally happy to be here.

Randy Wilburn [2:00] And it's so funny because like other people were like, oh, you need to get this guy on your podcast. And they would mention your name as if I didn't know you. And I was like, oh, yeah, I know, Joe. And I'm like, we had talked about it. And you know, it is a small community, especially for people of color in Northwest Arkansas. It's not that we all know each other, let us not make that case, because even all white people don't know all white people, so that's not the deal. The bottom line is we just happen to have made a connection and we have maintained that connection. So, Joe, I'd love for you to tell our audience a little bit about yourself and your superhero origin story. And actually, how you ended up here in Northwest Arkansas.

Joe Daniels [2:40] Yeah, for sure. So, I was born in DC, raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. So, I did pretty much kindergarten through or preschool through senior year of high school at Silver Spring, Maryland. My dad is a pastor. My mom worked 35 plus years for the Federal Government and Human Resources and I have an older sister. I'm praying for her and all our colleagues. She's a teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland in Montgomery County; she teaches special needs children. So right now, she's doing a lot of great work, but still trying to stay safe while providing for the community in the academic realm. I went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina for my undergrad, got a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, and then I just wasn't ready to leave the higher education world. So, I think my inflection point with education, whether you came---. I was very active in the National Society of Black Engineers or like folks called NSBE, and undergrad. And so, I went to a convention, I think my junior year of college. They put up on the stage, maybe seven or eight black students who graduated with their Ph.D. and someone said in engineering alone, there's under 1% of those who graduate with their Ph.D. in Engineering in the United States are black. And so, I say, well, I have a 3.97 GPA, there's no reason why I can't be one to add to this statistic. So, I looked at some stuff. I was connecting with some guys out here, the University of Arkansas, and when I came to it, the University of Arkansas gave me the best package to pursue a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and so that's what brought me to Northwest Arkansas back in 2013.

Randy Wilburn [4:19] I remember when you told me that. I was like, man, you have got it in spades in terms of just your skillset and understanding. Of course, we had a good conversation about that, because I've worked in the design industry space for more than two decades. And so, not that it's rare, but you don't come across a lot of African Americans that have achieved some of the stuff that you have achieved even in your short period of time. You went to North Carolina A&T, which is a historically black college, just like Howard University. My alma mater is a historically black college and actually, what a lot of people don't know is that North Carolina A&T produces the most engineers out of any historically black college period, end of story. I mean, and they have been at the top of that list for a long time, along with Howard and Fisk and a few other schools. So, you know, it says a lot that you could bring your talent here to Northwest Arkansas and take advantage of what this area has to offer. So how has it been living here working here studying here?

Joe Daniels [5:18] It's been different. I've been living in the South since 2009. Being born and raised in the metro Washington DC area, I was very fast-paced? there's a lot of things to do. Once I got out here, it was a slow pace, not many things to do. But the barriers to meeting people and connecting with people are so much different here than they are back in the metro Washington DC. I feel like in DC, you have a lot of silos, and your credibility and your credentials are what allow you to meet a certain class and certain groups of people. Here, those barriers of entry based on your class based on what your job title is, based on how much you have in the bank, those things aren't as hard to be able to meet different people. So, I've just enjoyed living here because of a slower pace but most importantly, I'm enjoying living here because I can meet people like you. I can form relationships with people who were just all across the spectrum and it doesn't require me to have the highest of highs or a certain income to be able to fall in line with certain groups of people. So, I've enjoyed it here so far.

Randy Wilburn [6:26] I love that, and it's great. And you and your wife are here, and you guys are making your mark here in Northwest Arkansas. So, tell me, I mean, with everything you're doing in civil engineering, and I know you work for a firm up in the Rogers Bentonville area, you've done a number of things since you've been here. And one of the things that I thought was cool is you made a commitment to connecting with 100 people just to have coffee, and I was one of that 100 people and I would be curious to know, and I'd love for you just to share your why behind doing that endeavor. And a couple of things, I'd love to get some of your takeaways from that experience of just connecting with people without any type of request or ask or anything like that, but just literally having coffee with folks. How did that inform you, Joe Daniels, for sure?

Joe Daniels [7:22] So I finished my doctoral studies. And as I was finishing that I was in the Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Arkansas as well. And so coffee is like a thing there. They have a whole wall of coffee mugs where you can come, find your name, grab coffee. It's an open space almost like a [inaudible 7:42] where you can come work on your projects, but the collaboration energy in that space is always amazing. And so as I was finishing up my dissertation, and I graduated in 2018, I was moving, just being a part of that program, going to different business plan competitions. But in that space, I was trying to network and communicate with different people from the standpoint of doing customer discovery, for this new venture that we were looking to build within that program. In that customer discovery, I started having coffee with people around the idea of what I was looking for. But I found that connecting with people, in general, was just a cool thing that allowed you just to build and grow your network. And so as I talked to the people who were over that program, I said, hey, I love to talk to such and such, do you know anybody in that? And they say, yeah, we can connect you with, you know, this person here, this person there. After a while being a newly found doctor, it was the barriers of entry of meeting with people, when they say, hey, Dr. Dan wants to meet with you, it became a little bit easier to get into those doors and having these meetings. The difference between doing customer discovery for a topic or just having coffee that I found was when you disarm a conversation with the perfect stranger that you'd never met but had been recommended by somebody else, you allow that person to come to the table with a certain set of energy, where you know that I'm not being pitched or not getting ready to be asked something and so it happened organically. The challenge of doing 100 was just saying, if I meet two people a week for 50 weeks, I can reach 100 people in a year. So it became a goal just to meet and communicate with more people. But there's a thing I think, especially in our generation of those who are in college of only meeting people because something transactional that needs to happen for me to get somewhere. And typically, what you find is someone says, oh, yeah, talk to Randy real quick and ask him if he can do this for you real quick. And so, I don't care about Randy. I only care about what Randy can do for me to hurry up and get this done. And that's a common theme that I'm finding a lot more as we are getting older as I'm growing up and seeing that we are using people in ways in which are more transactional. And I can't understand you or get to know you if all you think I'm coming to you for is for a favor. And so being able to have a conversation where at the beginning of the conversation, we say, hey, look, I'm not coming to you with no ask, I'm not coming to you with a request, I just want you to bring your true authentic self to the table. And that way, we can have a truly genuine one on one relationship building exercise, I get to know you. I get to know your passions. I get to know your weaknesses if you choose to tell me. I get to know things that you want to work on and vice versa; you can know the same thing about me. And then at some point down the line, if there are ways to collaborate on stuff, or if I can put you in positions where you could be strong, that's the best way forward. But I think right now, especially in the times we live in right now, people are so divided on things that they don't know about and if we can find ways just to communicate and to get to know one another, we find that we have a lot of intersecting likes and dislikes. And we're a lot more common than we are uncommon. We're a lot more like than we are not alike. And so right now, that exercise allowed me just to get to know a lot more people in my community. And that's how we met. And I thought it was genuine like we scheduled to meet for about 30 minutes to an hour and we ended up sitting in a coffee shop for three hours. We had a great talk so, I had a great time.

Randy Wilburn [11:33] You're right. I think we are in a transactional economy of sorts. And I'm hoping that some of that changes, especially all around this whole pandemic, because people are having not to be so inclined to think about themselves, but also think about other people, hence the whole mask issue and everything else that's going on. As a society, we are at a point where we can affect some real change. And in my mind, part of that change, being affected is doing things like what you're doing, which was just connecting with people just because and not out of some idea that you're going to get something in return. That whole quid pro quo as I like to say, don't say it too fast but I mean, this idea of a tit for tat, it doesn't work. And I don't think your grandparents operated that way. I know my grandparents didn't. I could remember stories of my grandmother would yell at my grandfather because he was always just bending over backward for people and just giving of himself freely. And, I think there's something to be said for that and while you don't want to run yourself into the ground, people out there could use the help. And if you have some help to give, you should figure out a way to give it and that's what my grandfather used to always say to me. He's like, listen, if I can help somebody, I'm going to help them. And you know what, Joe, I think that the interesting thing about that is I don't think any of his kids nor any of his grandkids have ever wanted for anything because of his willingness and desire to help out his fellow man and woman. And so, I think there is something to be said for that. And I think that's something that we should all be aspiring to do because as we give of ourselves in the interest of helping others succeed and be successful, we will be successful. And I don't want to get into a whole philosophical thing, but you understand, I mean, you get it and you experience that up close and personal. So that in and of itself, I think is a very interesting process and program that you did with the coffee and then at what point did you decide that I'm going to start this program this organization, Build Community Through Love. You have an organization you have a podcast which I want to publicize here and we will certainly put all that information in the Show Notes so people can listen to your podcast because I'm not the only guy out there podcasting. There are a lot of people podcasting and I think folks that listen to the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast should check out Joe's podcast and listen to what he has to say. But at what point did you make the connection or the leap to Build Community Through Love? For you what was the spark that ignited what you have now started?

Joe Daniels [14:16] Thanks for the plug the shout out for the podcast. A lot of things happen for me in this area back in 2015. It was when my then girlfriend now wife, moved up to Northwest Arkansas to be here full time, and I took her to [inaudible 14:34] Barbecue which for me was always just turkey leg, funnel cake and I go home; that was my experience with it. From a historical standpoint, if you look back 2015, that was the year that the white guy went into the church in South Carolina and shot up the pastor and the other parishioners there during Bible study.

Randy Wilburn [14:56] Dylan Roof

Joe Daniels [14:56] At that point, the confederate flag was removed from the State House. And that summer of 2015, there was a lot of protesting in Northwest Arkansas, with the overt display of the Confederate flag on people's cars in different windows and people were driving up and down 49 just protesting the fact that the Confederate flag in South Carolina at the State House had been taken down in 2015. And so, the [inaudible 15:23] and BBQ rally in 2015 was very overtly at least from a display on an eye standpoint, very racially tense. And I got fed up with the idea that Fayetteville could preach diversity, inclusion, equity, access, opportunity, for every day of the year, besides the six to seven days that the biker rally came into town. And so, I talked about it when I did the keynote speech at the Martin Luther King vigil in 2016, that a city that prides itself on diversity would even allow something like this to happen. When I couldn't figure out ways to do anything to get that stuff to stop, a team and I put together a petition to say sign if you don't want people at [inaudible 16:08] to be able to display the flying of the Confederate flag. Long story short, the hashtag Build Community Through Love started to push out this petition to condemn the flying of the Confederate flag during a biker rally in a city that prides itself on wanting to be diverse, inclusive, and the like. So, the hashtag has continued to grow from 2016 into an actual idea. And so, when looking at Build Community Through Love, it's turned itself into a real organization or an entity of sorts, to grow the community to build a community from a community development standpoint, from an economic standpoint, and then from education. I'm a real big student of the freedom movement as it started within the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to go along. The one thing that the shift that a bunch of scholars believes got Martin killed and Malcolm killed was the idea that we got to go from just wanting to be accepted in the community to being able to have a standalone economic system for black and poor folks. And it's important right now, as we build a community to make sure that we build from the standpoint of economic development. As my dad would say, you have to have three strong community components to have a thriving community. You have to have a strong public sector, a strong private sector, and a strong governmental sector. When all those three bridges collide and each has mutually beneficial relationships, projects, and things going on, you have a strong community. But when one of those three branches aren't working effectively and aren't being allowed a seat at the table, then you don't have a community that thrives. And so, between Fayetteville and Bentonville, like those are the two cities that people understand our Northwest Arkansas from looking outside. And so, Fayetteville can be right at the top five places to live. Year after year after year, one has to question well, then why do we have nonprofits that aren't looking to do stuff to house people who can't find housing and are homeless. If Fayetteville supposed to be the top-five area places to live in the country, why do we have a bunch of nonprofits that aren't trying to fix food and security? If this area is supposed to have the top company in the country and sometimes even for some folks in the world, how do we have people who allow their kids to go to bed hungry? And so, there are things that we have to do, even when the press says that we're a great place to live, we still have work to do. And that work has to be in those three areas in education and educational reform and community development, as well as economic development, which is the whole premise of Build Community Through Love.

Randy Wilburn [18:55] I love that. I mean, I think that's great. It's not necessarily a knock on Northwest Arkansas, as much as it is an acknowledgment that Northwest Arkansas is not perfect, just like any other place. Some other areas have even bigger problems than we have here. I will say that I have experienced, and again this is my personal experience has been that there has been at least an acknowledgment and a movement of trying to rectify these situations. And then, of course, we had the pandemic which messed us all up, of course, but the pandemic also did something I think, which I guess you could say is good, which it revealed some of the things that were just under the surface, especially with food and security, right. Because I mean, we got people like Nate Walls from Second Hand Smoke BBQ running all over the place, feeding everybody and their mother, he's killing it. It is because it's needed, and you got a guy that now he's got people opening up their kitchens to him. He's smoking food 24 seven 365 to make sure that no kid or no kid's parents go to bed hungry, especially for those that are struggling the most. I mean, we have lost, like, I don't know what the actual number is, but I heard something like 20,000 service jobs have been lost in this area. These are the folks that are the glue. This is the WD 40 of Northwest Arkansas, they make things happen. They are the waiters, the waitresses, they are the people the Uber drivers the Lyft drivers the people that get you back and forth when you need to get from the airport. I mean, all of these individuals are struggling right now. And I think it's going to take a Herculean effort; it's not just one organization that's going to do it. But I appreciate your ability to lend a voice to this problem and to come up not only to say it and complain about it, right? Because that's a lot of people just say, oh, this is wrong, this is wrong. You guys are doing this wrong. You people suck over here and all that, instead of saying, how can we fix it? And I know that you have been working on it from that perspective. And I'd love for you just to kind of share with me your ideas and some of the things that you're thinking about doing and what you have proposed, and maybe what you have done in the past, perhaps since the pandemic that has allowed your organization to make an impact?

Joe Daniels [21:14] I know, there was something that we did, because there's a small percentage of those in this area who are facing a double pandemic right now. They're having to exist in a majority, all-white space with being black in America, and being black in Northwest Arkansas. And so, after the killing of George Floyd, there was a lot of my peers that say, I'm still trying to make it at work. I mean, yeah, I'm on the zoom calls, I'm going to zoom meetings, I'm being asked to speak for the black race in my small group at work, and I'm just trying to get my stuff done and go home, or I'm trying to get my stuff done and log off zoom. And so we had a lunch and learn about just how to navigate the workplace right now, during a double pandemic. So we were able to put together a good panel discussion, talking about mental health, talking about how do we maintain our ability to continue to be successful, and continue to deliver on things that we suppose to at work while still facing this rise in the acknowledgment that black lives matter so we do things like that. We partner with Startup Junkie to find ways to allow people to continue to grow and continue to build. Right now, during uncertain times during the COVID 19 pandemic, a part of that is something that is in my dad's book, Connecting for a Change, as well as man what's that book called I forgot, just like that, Building a Real Cchurch, no, I forgot. Anyway, his first book, I'll send it to you so you can put it into the Show Notes. But he talks about just seeing the community and observing and seeing assets and to stop and think about what assets do we already have. Yes, you have money as a resource but don't just think of money as the only resource. Let's look at all the different assets we have in this area. And so right now, we're just doing an asset check throughout Northwest Arkansas, again having a relationship with the people, I had 100 cups of coffee with being able to converse with them. I mean, just looking at things that we can tackle once one at a time. A big thing we're looking to tackle is voting pre-pandemic. The idea for us was to try to rent out trucks because we understand that there is a an issue with people physically getting to the polls to cast their votes with the pandemic. Are people going to be comfortable getting into a car? Or is a driver going to be comfortable taking somebody to the polls? Now, we got to think if the whole mailing system here does not work, or it's not going to be in play like we would hope it would be. How are we getting people to and from the poll so folks still can cast their vote? So those are just a couple of things that we're trying to use as we build and as we grow. We are only really about six to eight months old, but we're just trying to find ways to be relevant in this community, as well as in the community nationally.

Randy Wilburn [24:13] I'm glad you mentioned the whole vote thing because I know you and I have kind of spoken offline about that. And I guess we have got an election coming up on November 3. And I think, everybody, I don't care what side of the aisle you're on, everybody needs to vote. And everybody that is concerned about maybe getting COVID or something. There's a lot of people because I've heard arguments to say that, oh, well, people can stand and wait on the line, they can go to Walmart and what have you, but there are actually a lot of people that haven't left their house since this whole pandemic has happened and I get that. Listen, I don't want to catch COVID just like the rest of us. So, I think we need to be mindful of that. And that's part of that having some empathy for other people and what they're dealing with. So, I certainly want to encourage everybody that's listening here. I think you have until October 7th or 8th to get all of your information. If you haven't registered to vote in the general election of November 3, which would include, as the presidential election for everybody here in the United States. I think it's just as important that we take the time to do that. And if somebody needs help, I've just noticed lately that everybody even their mother is posting information about where to go to get registered, or where to go to apply so that you can get a mailing voting and do all that stuff. And, as I said, I don't try to get into a real political conversation on this podcast because there are enough podcasts and programs out there to talk politics all day long so the thing I want to focus on is some of the things that I believe are our civic duties. And I just like to highlight them and I think voting is one of them. And I want to encourage everybody listening to this, everybody that's taking part in this podcast, and if you've listened to it, at any point in time, I want to encourage you to get out and vote. Your vote does matter and it does make a difference. And make sure that you have the information and whatever we can provide through our Show Notes. We will put it up there so that you guys can see for this particular episode with Joe. You can see where to go maybe to get your stuff taken care of, and make sure that you're fully registered and that your vote counts.

Joe Daniels [26:21] And then, by the way, I just remembered a book while you were talking. It's 'Begging for Real Church' by Dr. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr.

Randy Wilburn [26:32] Okay. And your dad has pastored a church for how long and is it physically in DC, or is it in Maryland?

Joe Daniels [26:41] It's physically in DC. You would have driven past it if you went to Howard. It is the Emory fellowship. It is off of Georgia and [inaudible 26:50] If you know where [inaudible 26:53] church is or Red Church down Georgia Avenue, as you're driving into Maryland, it's the church up on a hill with columns. It's diagonal from the police station and the radio towers right next to it?

Randy Wilburn [27:05] Yeah, I know where it is.

Joe Daniels [27:08] He's pastored there for, I'm 29, he's pastored there for 28 years.

Randy Wilburn [27:14] Okay. Now you're making me feel old because I guess what, 28 years ago I was just 20, never mind. [laughter] Getting out of our university, I was there probably when you were born, but that's a story for another day. It's all good. DC has a very special place in my heart. I have family there. And, like you, that's a special city so excited to hear that. And I will be sure to share those books, both of those books that you mentioned, Connecting for Change and Begging for Real Church, both of those books by your father. We will be sure to put those in the Show Notes in case anybody wants to get them and I'll find the---. Are they on Amazon? Can you get them through Amazon? So, when, is your book coming out, Joe? Not to put you on blast but I mean---.

Joe Daniels [28:10] We will talk. I've been trying to find ways to make the content of the book real, so it's not just super fictional but I'm looking to come out with the notes that I had from my 100 cups of coffee and looking to put that into a manuscript. I'm also doing something starting here in the next couple weeks, a segment on my podcast called, Do Dreams have Zip Codes? I want to write a book about that because the more I do my studies of housing from the 50s and 60s throughout looking at redlining, looking at the experiences of those who have been consumed and caught up in the school to prison pipeline, and just understanding friends here who grew up in Little Rock, and who are now up here in Northwest Arkansas. I never had to worry about not being able to dream and live out a dream. For those whose life, their life expectancy is 25. What are your dreams look like? And so, being able to just get over the next 30 to 40 episodes and being able only to get a bunch of anecdotal experiences of where are you from? What zipcode are you from? And then, what were the levels of dreams that you could even find yourself dreaming in the zip code that you had. And then be able to determine is housing, education, and dreams, do they all play a role of each other? And so, I'm looking to just do a deep dive in that and just study how are we providing kids not with the access for school and education, but how are we providing people with the ability and the opportunity and the permission to have dreams bigger than they could ever imagine based on what they see on a regular day?

Randy Wilburn [29:54] Oh, I love that. I can't wait to hear that. I think that's an important conversation, and I'm sure you're going to get a wide and varied response for people that have had different experiences as far as that's concerned so, I think that will be exciting. I just like the title Do Dreams have of Zip Code? So that's cool. Did you ever see The Banker?

Joe Daniels [30:15] No,

Randy Wilburn [30:15] You didn't see The Banker? You need to check that out. That's with, I think, Samuel Jackson and it's a story about redlining in LA, and it was on Apple Plus, and it's a really good take on that whole issue and how a couple of people used it. It's just a really, really interesting story. But it tells the story about how a couple of black bankers used a partner that they had, that was actually a white guy as the straw buyer for their real estate so that they could purchase real estate because otherwise them going to purchase it was not going to happen in 1950s L.A. and they had a great amount of success doing that, unfortunately. It's part of the history of our country and I would imagine it's still happening now, in some ways, it may not be as overt as it was in the past. I think that's one of the refreshing things that I've experienced since being here is I have not been directed to one place or another and that's definitely one good thing I have to say for Northwest Arkansas. I have felt welcomed wherever I have been, I've not been a place here. But I also understand that there are other people that look like me that may not share that same sentiment. So, I do understand that I'm not this Pollyanna that thinks that everything's perfect. I'm just saying, I have felt welcomed here since I've been here. Because people say, well, why are you still in Northwest Arkansas, and like, I really like it here. The people are great. I've made some great friends, like yourself and so many others. And I think it's a good place to raise children. But is it perfect? No, no place is perfect. So, I mean, I could go on and on about that. I think it is incumbent upon us to make where we are the reality that we want to see and each and every one of us has to play a part in that. Asa Hutchinson can't do it, he's just the governor? I mean, honestly, he's just the governor. It takes everybody in a natural state to make the natural state a great place. So, it's something that we're all working towards. So, man, anything before we close out that you'd like to share, anything that you're reading or anything that has really moved you lately? I mean, I know a lot going on, there's a lot of stuff just going on in society right now. How are you maintaining running this organization and working a regular full-time job? I mean, how is that working out?

Joe Daniels [32:43] It's a challenge. I spent from 1995 to 2018. I was in school and so, having to move from a school lifestyle, especially in college, when if you're done taking classes and you just doing research, you have the days to do everything that you want. The only reason why having 100 cups of coffee fell through is because people don't want to drink coffee after they get off work. The concept of asking if somebody wants to go drink coffee unless it's on like a Saturday morning, it's just like, man, I got soccer practice, I got this I got that so, that was a challenge. But right now, I had a podcast interview on my podcast with a good friend of mine, his name is Marcel Jackson. He's doing big things in the community up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through NSBE at a North Carolina. But he said, man, if you had a passion for it, and you just want to do it, you just got to do it and so, there is no excuse anymore. If you want to do it, you do it, you find time to do it. So, at this point, I feel as though I have a heart for the community, I'm still trying to reconnect and get things moving again in this area. Again, there's no excuse to do it or not to do it, if you want to do it, you get it done. And so that means long nights and trying to figure some things out. That's what it means. But I'm excited. I think someone said, you know, 2020, not being what we all imagined it to be when---

Randy Wilburn [34:11] You have a year vision and your vision became the plague.

Joe Daniels [34:16] I'm just happy that you know, we are at work, we are at a space where this is going to be our inflection point. And so those who have kids, those who are having kids, those who are growing up, this is when our kids and grandkids are going to be able to look back on us and say what did you do in a time such as this, to move the country forward. And I tried not to look so macro because when you look macro, you get consumed by the power that you think you don't have. And so that's why it's not build the country through love it's Build Community through Love. And so, everything we have to do has to be centered and focused around the community level meaning that could be as small as your house. That could be as large as this entire Northwest Arkansas area as you're tackling yourself and so we just have work to do. But, at this point, find out exactly what your superpower is, and start to live in your superpower. Because we all need each and every person in the community to be able to make the effective change that we're looking to make.

Randy Wilburn [35:17] Yeah, that's great. I like that. Find out what your superpower is, and start living in your superpower. That's good, man. So, tell me as we close, where do you and your wife like to go eat when you do go out to eat or before the pandemic? The one thing I've told people about Northwest Arkansas is that we have great restaurants. We have great places to go hike some of the best mountain biking trails in the country. Do you bike at all?

Joe Daniels [35:44] I have one now. I haven't biked effectively, but I have jogged on the trails though. I will say that.

Randy Wilburn [35:49] Okay, now that's cool. So, you like trail jogging? So, what about good restaurants in the area because you're up in the Rogers Bentonville area?

Joe Daniels [35:58] I am up this way. I know before the pandemic we were starting to go to Mary Bella's table a lot over there in the pinnacle hills area. But to be honest, man, just still having that college lifestyle. We visit and patron different areas because for my wife she only likes it when we have stuff like two or three times and then she's ready for a change. She's the one that likes to experiment with different food options and I'm the one that's super habitual. So, you can almost bank on if you know it's lunchtime, you can probably count three or four places that I'll be so I should probably change it up so if anybody threatens me, they can't find me.

Randy Wilburn [36:41] I love that. That's funny. That's good. I know Mary Bella's Table. With your wife's challenge, it's not really a challenge because here in Northwest Arkansas, there are so many places to choose from, that you could go out every day and try something different.

Joe Daniels [36:56] But I like to plug is it Kingsley's Food Truck? I like to plug that food truck because I'll go there if I want some links. So, I definitely go there. Now more than anything, I'm very ecstatic that we have the black on the NWA page because they're opening a lot. And they're making visible the places out here that we can't eat and we cant patron a lot, a lot easier to be able to know that they exist, and they're here. So, we've been using them as our Yelp, kind of, to see what's here, and make sure we go out. And then for another plug, right, quick, my father has a group of six, and all pastors, and they have made every Friday for the rest of the year, Black Friday. And so, they're pushing out to their congregations into their community at large to say on Fridays, we're going to, we're going to buy black. And so that is to answer the question, how can white people help the black community? And so, every Friday now, I'm pushing to find a place to eat, or if I need to buy something, I'm pushing to go there, especially on Friday to make sure that I continue to circulate my black dollars in my black community.

Randy Wilburn [38:12] That's true. And, I have said it on this podcast, 441,000 black businesses have shuttered since the pandemic started, and they will never open again and that's a real number. So, listen, a lot of businesses are affected. We had Jose's on this podcast and his businesses is affected. He has not opened up the inside of his restaurant, he's only seeing people on the patio and doing takeout. And he's also selling a whole lot of sanitizer, but I mean, his business has fundamentally been changed. So, I mean, I want to see people support all businesses. But you're absolutely right, especially for those black-owned businesses that are local in this area, check out black-owned NWA, to find out about all the different black businesses. They featured me on their Instagram about a week ago, which I was really appreciative of, and I had a chance to tell my story and to talk about the podcast and everything that I'm doing. I just think it's great that so many people are stepping up to help out black-owned businesses, black and white individuals are doing this, so, I think it's huge. And again, that's part of the whole community, right because the community is not a color, we are all part of that community. So, I really want to encourage that type of participation. But I appreciate you sharing that, Joe. And thank you so much for coming on the podcast and just taking some time out of your busy schedule to meet with me and to talk and I hope everybody listening, got something out of what Joe shared. And again, I like what he said, find out what your superpower is and start living in your superpowers. So, as they say in the church community that will preach. So, thank you so much, Joe, for coming on the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. We really appreciate you. Thank you.

Joe Daniels [39:59] Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Randy Wilburn [40:00] Well, folks, there you go another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. Again, we are endeavoring to bring you the best of the best at Northwest Arkansas has to offer and certainly, Joe Daniels is a prime example of that. We thank you for listening to our podcasts on a regular basis. As you know, we come out every Monday, please check us out wherever great podcasts can be found and leave us a review. We would love to get a rating and a review on iTunes or anywhere that you listen to the podcast. Let us know what you think about what you like what you don't like. We got to review a couple of weeks ago from a guy that just took a job with one of the big three here in Northwest Arkansas. We were so blown away by what he shared with us because he said that our podcast was the reason which really helped him submit his decision to come to this area because of what it represents. And we couldn't have done it without all of you listening to this podcast without all the guests like Joe and so many others that we've had on the show. So, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We're going to continue to keep this going. I'm going to continue to press record. And we're going to make this happen here in Northwest Arkansas by hook or by crook. So, thank you so much and that's all we have for you this week. We will see you next week. Peace.

TZL Open [41:18] We hope you enjoyed this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. Check us out each and every week available anywhere that great podcast can be found. For Show Notes or more information on becoming a guest, visit We will see you next week on I am Northwest Arkansas.

About the Show:

We sat down with Build Community Through Love founder Dr. Joseph Daniels to learn about his new podcast and the organization that shares the same name. Dr. Daniels is on a quest to create an authentic community with anyone that will listen.  

He is a Civil Engineer by trade and a Preacher’s son by birth. 

Dr. Daniels has proven that he is good at multitasking as he practices engineering by day and works to make a difference in his local community here in Northwest Arkansas and beyond at night and on the weekends.   

Even the pandemic has not slowed him down. Dr. Daniels recently started a podcast to share his stories and experiences and those of other people around the country that are trying to make a difference where they live.  

The primary focus of Build Community Through Love is Economic Development, Community Development, and Education. While Dr. Daniels gives equal time to everyone in the community; his focus has been on creating systems that foster equitable opportunities and access to each community member, especially those that are systemically, racially, and economically disenfranchised.  

Hear all of this and also learn how Dr. Daniels and I originally met during his quest to sit down with 100 people for coffee. Of course, not at the same time, but over a period of a few months.  It is such a unique story and one that will encourage those of us that are trying to get out of our shell and meet new people. 

Important Links and Mentions on the Show*:

This episode is sponsored by*:

The Exclusive Real Estate Group – Serving all of Northwest Arkansas from Dickson St. to the Bentonville Square, Broker Chris Dinwiddie, and his agents are ready to provide first-class representation for any of your real estate needs.  

Chris’ team has expanded to include in house designers and architects.  They can facilitate  everything from design services to turnkey new construction.  Click Here to contact them and be sure to mention that you heard about them from IANWA. 

Or, if you need to move quickly call Chris directly on his cell at 479-305-0468 and mention that you heard about him here on the podcast. 

Build Your Perfect Business with Next Level 7 – If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business or giving your current business a real tune-up you need to check out Next Level 7 and take some lessons from the master, Brian Clark. Brian has built two 8-figure businesses from scratch – and sold them! 

We use Brian’s training here at I am Northwest Arkansas and it has really transformed how we do business.  Get the FREE Course today! 

Be a part of the Entrepreneurial Movement here in the Ozarks. 

Email to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

*Note: some of the resources mentioned may be affiliate links. This means we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Connect more with I am Northwest Arkansas:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. We showcase businesses, culture, entrepreneurship, and the lives of everyday people making Northwest Arkansas what it is today. 

Please consider making a one-time donation to our production team through PayPal to help with the expenses of keeping this podcast running smoothly