Monday Coffee Meeting -- Dave Nagle
Retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief and brand spanking new Voxer, Dave Nagle, presents a natural subject for our Monday Coffee Meeting effort to introduce you to our staff – he’s been on the job about a week now, and he’s probably downing a cup of joe as you read this.
As a globe-hopping, over-caffeinated former Navy journalist Dave fits right in here at Vox. He’s a storyteller at heart (we bet he spins a great Icelandic saga, based on his love for that Nordic nation), and he brings a wealth of writing, editing and public affairs management experience to his new gig as a speechwriter at NAVSEA.
Apparently he’s been admiring us from not-so afar for a while now, too, so that’s a plus. Now we just have to work on his wine appreciation “Merritt” badge (that’s an award given out by honcho Merritt Allen once you can tell the difference between a merlot and a pinot, or at least use them in a non-slurred sentence).
So let’s get to know Dave a bit in his own words, shall we?
Q: Senior, (I understand chiefs do not like to be called ‘sir,’ but something more than ‘Dave’ seems called for) what brought you to Vox Optima?
Dave: To be honest, I’ve wanted to work for Vox Optima before you all were Vox Optima. I was assigned to the staff at NAVSEA back in 2002, and got to work with Merritt and crew. So in a sense, this is my dream job of sorts. Vox has an amazing reputation with outstanding people. So when Gary approached me about this opportunity, of course I had to say “yes!”
Q: What is your position at Vox, and how do you think your experience in the Navy and elsewhere have prepared you for this new venture? You’ve spent time in Italy, so obviously wine appreciation is one avenue where you will fit right in.
Dave: I’ll be initially assigned to the NAVSEA account as their speechwriter and executive communications dude. Having been assigned to the NAVSEA public affairs staff once upon a time, I have a good understanding of the organization and its mission. Throughout much of my Navy career, I’ve helped senior leaders craft and deliver their message, so I think that’ll be a huge plus as I fit into this new role. And as far as Sicily goes, I didn’t really develop my wine appreciation there, but did gain a deep love of a good cappuccino.
Q: Is this your first time as a speechwriter? How do you think that kind of writing will differ from what you’ve done in the past?
Dave: I’ve written some speeches in the past as well as newspaper columns and articles for senior leaders, but this will be my first time as a full-time speechwriting guy. Much of my writing throughout my career has been press releases and news articles, where you’re writing in a straightforward “just the facts” style. As a speechwriter, you’re not just communicating a message. You’re also trying to put yourself in the shoes of the potential speaker and capture his or her voice in the speechwriting process.
Q: Speaking of your broad international experience, what are the relative merits of living in Iceland and Hawaii?
Dave: Loved, loved, loved Iceland! It’s a beautiful country and it had a relaxed, small town feel to it. You quickly learned to appreciate 20 hours of daylight in the summer and three hours in the winter, and acclimate yourself to the idea of 40 degrees being “warm.” And then, I went from Iceland straight to Pearl Harbor and shocked my system. Of course, Hawaii is a great place too, but believe it or not, if I could only choose one place to go back, I’d choose Iceland in a second.
Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of, and what are some assignments you’d like to do over?
Dave: My job, at its very essence, has been as a storyteller for the Navy. I’ve been involved in a lot of cool things, some very sobering things, been at sea traveling around the world and been to a lot of cool places in my career. There were amazing people doing amazing things everywhere I went. Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things. And I got to tell their story. THAT’s what I’m proudest of – the privilege of telling their story. I’m equally proud of the fact that I got to work with, lead, teach and mentor some of the most talented professionals in Navy public affairs. I can say I probably had the best job in the Navy, and it was the people that made it the best.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you like to do when you’re not furthering the Navy’s public affairs mission?
Dave: I am a coffee junkie, probably to a fault. But no frou-frou…just plain, black coffee. So I do what I can to keep the area coffee houses in business. But when I’m not over-caffeinating myself, I love to bike, go sightseeing and dabble in photography a bit. Oh, and I love to cook.- Going back to the wine issue, what’s your favorite drink? To some this may be the most important question in the Q&A, so take your time. Well, I’m partial to a good red wine. That said, my experience is limited to “Two-Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s, so I’ll be looking to the Vox Jedi Council for guidance as I develop my palate. Rachel’s already promised to help me.
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