by Steve Kozak
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any association, especially the Texas Professional Photographers Association. They are the ones who make everything work, from decorating for banquets, to picking up program speakers from the airport, to working in the image competition. Volunteering is something they do because they care. However, there are those volunteers who work relentlessly behind the scenes who rarely attract attention. Often, they are the first to arrive and the last to leave. This year’s National Award recipient is one of those unique individuals.
Mitch Daniels began his photography career in 1977 while also working at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. In 1989, he left the telephone business to concentrate solely on photography. It was a good year because he also married Peggy. From 1989 to 1992, Mitch worked for Heinz Kugler and his team and shortly thereafter stopped working for other companies and, by 1998 had transitioned his photography business to solely video production.
He was active in the Professional Photographers Guild of Houston and served as its president in 2002. For two more years, he was the executive director of that same group. Since 1996, he has been an instructor at the Texas School of Professional Photography, teaching video production classes. Each year’s school video production was the highlight of the event.
Through all the years that TPPA held its summer events in Kerrville, Texas, we would usually find Peggy by the pool reading her books while Mitch worked late nights and behind the scenes to put together the slide show for the awards banquet. In 2009, Peggy passed away. They had been married for 25 years.
A few years later, Mitch Daniels and Kelly Staudt discovered that they had so much in common and a lot to share with each other and they’ve been together ever since.
After slowing down and practicing retirement for a couple years, Mitch officially retired on December 31, 2018. You might not have known about his commitment to TPPA but, if you ever attended an awards banquet in Kerrville in the last 35 years or the first few years in Conroe, you would certainly know his work.
The inscription on this coveted award simply reads, “For meritorious contributions to professional photography.” The words are few but the meaning is deeper than words can express.
Awards presentations don’t get produced by themselves. For all those years, we could rest easy knowing we are always in good hands. TPPA is proud to present the 2019 National Award to Mitch Daniels.