Carmel Valley man finds calling with Miracle League of San Diego

Dan Engel

Carmel Valley resident Dan Engel has lived in Carmel Valley with his wife, Suzie, son Sam and daughter Jordan since 1999. He received a BA in economics from UCLA, and then earned a joint JD/MBA degree at the Boalt Hall School of Law and Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. He began his investment banking career at Salomon Brothers in New York. After more than 15 years in the deal business, he was recruited by the CEO of Applied Underwriters, a company he had financed earlier in his career. Engel helped grow the company 500 percent over four years before selling it to Berkshire Hathaway. 

After this more than 20-year-career in the for-profit world, he found his calling in the non-profit world when, together with his wife, they founded the Miracle League of San Diego, which gives children with special needs the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league. The Miracle League of San Diego offers games in the spring and fall and has just completed its ninth season. It now serves more than 180 players and 200 “buddies” (volunteers) per season.

The Miracle League of San Diego is very much a family place for the Engels and many of the other participants. Engel’s wife Suzie has coached, his son Sam helps at the field in many capacities, and his daughter Jordan has been a buddy every season. Engel likes to call Engel Family Field, a Little Padres Park in San Dieguito Park, the “happiest place in San Diego.”

In 2010, Engel formed the Non-Profit Purchasing Group (NPPG) to help non-profits nationwide save on their most commonly purchased goods and services. NPPG is the only group purchasing organization dedicated exclusively to non-profits nationwide and serves many non-profits in San Diego County.

  1. What brought you to this neighborhood?

I was working at a boutique investment firm that was winding down its business and we decided to move closer to my wife’s family in Del Mar and Solana Beach. Also, we missed going to Padres games on a regular basis.

  1. What makes this town special to you?

It’s a great place to raise a family. We’ve got excellent schools, fantastic weather and easy access to anywhere we want to go.

  1. If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract, or improve in the area?

I would like the proposed Main Street development in Carmel Valley completely built out. Better restaurants in a friendly, walking environment like the Grove in Los Angeles or Kierland Commons in Scottsdale would be a huge improvement.

  1. Who or what inspires you?

I love the whole concept of the Giving Pledge started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. I only hope that these billionaires live up to their obligations during their lifetimes. I’m also inspired by all the players in the Miracle League who play baseball with such joy and passion every Saturday.

  1. If you hosted a dinner party for 8, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

John Wooden, Bill Clinton, Bruce Springsteen, Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Crystal, Frank Deford, Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Graham. I’m going with a mix of sports, politics, music, comedy and acting. I’ve added Graham, the legendary dinner party hostess, to keep the conversation going.

  1. Tell us about what you are currently reading.

“Love you More” by Lisa Gardner.

  1. Name a few of your favorite movies.

“'Hoosiers,' 'Diner,' 'North by Northwest,' 'Sabrina' and 'Body Heat'”

  1. What haven’t you achieved in your life that you would still like to?

My goal is to break 80 on the golf course. That being unlikely, I’d like to move to Del Mar and be able to watch the sun set over the ocean every night.

  1. What is your favorite vacation spot?

Maui. I could spend all day overlooking the ocean and the islands every day, reading books and playing golf.

  1. What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I’ve made the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” my ringtone and I play it all the time. I love seeing the smile on people’s faces when they hear my phone ring.



Be relevant, respectful, honest, discreet and responsible. Commenting Rules