NASCA State Member Spotlight - Daniel Kim, California

Friday, September 25, 2020

NASCA President Daniel C. Kim built a long history as a public servant before being appointed the Director of California’s Department of General Services (DGS) in May 2015. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University, Dan previously held positions in Sacramento County’s Department of Human Assistance, San Francisco’s Department of Human Services, and California’s Department of Public Health and the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Within his first year at DGS, Dan implemented an annual strategic planning process to challenge the department to create ambitious yet attainable goals, focusing on five themes that clarify the direction for the organization and guide the goals each division creates for itself. Each goal should help DGS be more collaborative with partners, consultative in the advice it offers, sustainable in its role as steward of state resources, data-informed to make better decisions, and effective so DGS can better serve its customers. California has long been a leader in sustainable practices, and DGS leads the charge in the state’s efforts to carry out directives such as greening the state fleet and striving for carbon-neutral buildings.

Dan embraced NASCA early in his tenure, having attended six NASCA in-person events and countless virtual events. He has served on several committees, including Membership, Research and Policy, Strategic Partners, and Programs, where he offered his leadership as the Chair of the Programs Committee in 2018. Dan Kim has been on the NASCA Executive Committee since 2016 before being elected as President in 2019.

“As NASCA President, I’ve had the good fortune of working with so many of my colleagues from other states and learned so much from them,” Dan said when asked how NASCA has impacted his professional career. “NASCA provides Chief Administrators like me with a forum to learn best practices from both state leaders and corporate partners who know how to marry vision with execution. It has been especially true during the pandemic as we have all picked each other’s brains to better respond to the emergency while maintaining state operations.”

While Dan’s home is in California, he loves to travel around the world. During his travels, he likes to try local dishes, whether it’s fried clams in New England, moussaka in Crete, sockeye salmon sashimi in Vancouver, or Voodoo Donuts in Portland. He says, “For me, travel is a means to an end – and that end usually involves a neighborhood restaurant.” Since COVID-19 has put travel on the back-burner, Dan tries to make new dishes from the New York Times “What to Cook This Week” section but says he often thinks about how much better it would taste in one of those neighborhood restaurants.