Alumni Spotlight: Daniel Pontbriand, ‘79

This Alumni Spotlight shines this week on Daniel Pontbriand from Auburn, Maine, who

graduated from the University of Maine at Machias in 1976 with a major in Recreation

Management. He is currently living in Grafton, New Hampshire and is a Retired National Park

Service Ranger.


Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now.

Currently, I work part time at the LL Bean retail store in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. I

spend a great deal of my job time working with the LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School teaching

outdoor skills; such as, kayaking, snowshoeing, fly-fishing, map and compass, wilderness ethics

and survival, emergency preparedness, and wildlife tracking.


What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?

First, confidence to do most anything in the outdoors like teaching outdoor skills and managing

recreation facilities and resources, and protected wild places. Second, I learned how to learn. I

was not well prepared to attend college and struggled my first two years at UMM, but toward the

end of my stay at UMM I became a good student.


Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?

Work hard and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t ever give up

on your dreams. Be practical and patient. Be kind and caring to others and learn how to

effectively communicate with each other. Your education really starts once you leave school so

be open minded.


How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?

In my career as a Ranger, many of the skills I needed to do my job effectively and be

comfortable in the outdoors I learned while at UMM. I tackled many assignments that, on the

surface, appeared to be well outside my comfort and skill level, but I had the ability to learn

quickly and adapt to the situation; which often times created an excellent result. Take your time

figuring things out and don’t be afraid to take on a job or task that might seem beyond your

abilities. Take your time and learn the task and document your learning experiences.


How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?

My highly successful career in government service is a direct result of my education at UMM.

My interest in working as an NPS Ranger came from ideas spawned at UMM.