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Born and raised near Chicago, Illinois, Dan received his B.A. at Hartwick College, M.A. at California Polytechnic State University and M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the Fielding Institute. He spent most of his career as an individual and group mental health therapist. Dan also spent two years in the U.S. Peace Corps, serving in Kenya, East Africa.

Upon moving to Montana in 2000, Dan organized the Wave in Whitefish. He did much of the fundraising and planning for the aquatic and fitness center which opened in 2005. From 2005 to 2009, Dan served as Montana State Senator, chairing the Senate Public Health committee.

In 2008, Dan founded the Montana Innocence Project, along with its first executive director, Jessie McQuillan. He continues to happily serve on its Board.