James McDaniel ’14

Partner and Wealth Management Adviser, Legacy 1 Financial




By Ryan Jech, VP of Communications

 James McDaniel, a native Austinite and graduate of Bowie High School, earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Geology in 2014 from Texas A&M University. After working in oil and gas as an MWD Engineer for a year, James transitioned into the finance sector. He is currently a wealth management adviser and partner for Legacy 1 Financial

Over the past 2 years I’ve met James through A&M alumni events and various social functions in Austin; friends and peers describe him as a proud Ag, and a man with the highest pursuits for excellence coupled with the maximum commitment to self-less service for others. As I’ve learned more about James’ life, his actions describe how much he has enriched the lives others and succeeded in his own right. 

His involvement in several student-led organizations included: the Texas A&M Judo team; Texas A&M crew (rowing) team; Kappa Upsilon Chi; and the Geology & Geophysics Society. His most prominent involvement through his undergraduate academic career was with Pine Cove, a Christian centered organization with summer camps for kids. In 2011, he started out as a Conference Host, he served as the primary liaison between off season camp guests and resident staff during retreats for one of the largest Christian camps in the country. He managed programmatic duties, directed volunteer work crews, and supported staff. In 2012, he was a Senior Counselor, and directed the entire male staff alongside 3 other senior counselors. His duties included optimizing programmatic efficiency, leading other staff in their responsibilities, maintaining camp security, and providing a conducive environment for productivity and comfort. In 2014, he was a Straw Boss, and led multiple groups of recent high school graduate men in a 5 week program geared towards discipleship in regard to biblical masculinity. Taught character studies over various men of the bible, performed regular manual labor, and supervised a myriad of lesson-specific activities.

Academically, James conducted one year of geological research spanning from 2013 into 2014. He prepared and organized geologic samples collected from the field. Additional duties included the use of mass spectrometry to determine geochronological data in zircon crystals, and the systemization of prepared samples. His significant experience with lapidary equipment, rock saws, and other equipment was used for sample preparation and analysis.

Upon graduation from Texas A&M University in 2014, he accepted a role as a MWD Field Engineer with Nomac Directional. His responsibilities included to process & communicate data relating to wellbore trajectory; specifically including inclination, radiation, temperature, and azimuthal direction. He was also responsible for assembling, programming, and monitoring the downhole tool in order to assure quality data is relayed to the relevant recipients.

James sensed his calling to make a difference for others in another industry, and began considering a change in his career path. After a year as a field engineer, he transitioned into the finance sector as a Wealth Management Adviser in his current role with Legacy 1. Professionally achieving financial certifications to include: Series 66; General Lines Agent (Life, Health, and HMO); and Series 7.  In current professional pursuits, he is a Level 1 Candidate for the CFA exam, testing in December; is in the process of completing the Graduate Gemologist program through GIA; and is a student with the Dallas Theological Society.

A natural leader embodying the core values of Texas A&M University; James strongly characterizes the Aggie servant leadership style. Nearly every person who speaks with James, leaves with a greater sense of appreciation that he wanted in some capacity to make you feel valued, and better off from talking with him. Ags like James leading by example, and his commitment to serve others in the Austin community further the exemplifies the Aggie spirit, and his passion to contribute toward the greater good. I hope you have the chance to meet James at future A&M Alumni events as he would undoubtedly greatly welcome meeting you.

Recreationally James is an avid rock climber, boxer, reader, chess player, and hiker. He also serves at the Austin Stone, mentoring young people.