Daniel J. Zimmerman was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to serve as the 10th Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. As Secretary, he is the chief advocate for the nearly 400,000 veterans of Wisconsin. In this capacity he is responsible for the leadership and management of the Department to include strategic and long-range planning initiatives aligning with the Department's vision.
Secretary Zimmerman is a career Army Intelligence officer and former Combat Engineer soldier. Hailing from New Berlin, Wisconsin, he spent his 25 year military career serving in various command and staff positions in support of the tactical Army worldwide. His experience includes numerous training-related assignments at three of the Army’s premier combat training centers. His most recent deployment in 2006-2007 involved service as Director of Strategic Initiatives and de facto Chief of Staff for the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team in Baghdad, Iraq, where the 1000-person unit was responsible for training all Iraqi police, border, and customs forces as well as rebuilding the fundamental rule of law structure throughout Iraq. Secretary Zimmerman is a decorated combat veteran, having been awarded two Bronze Star Medals, five Meritorious Service Medals, and numerous other Army, NATO, and foreign medals and awards.
Since his retirement from the Regular Army in 2008, Secretary Zimmerman remained engaged with the military and educational communities. He most recently worked as a contracted training consultant for U.S. National Guard Bureau and as an exercise officer and threat planner at Wisconsin Emergency Management, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. Formerly the Director of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs at both Marian University and Ripon College in central Wisconsin, he served as the Founding Director of Homeland Security Programs at Marian University.
Secretary Zimmerman is very engaged civically, recently serving as vice president of Ripon’s Board of Education and Chairman of Big Hills Lake Management District in Waushara County, Wisconsin – both at-large elected offices. He serves as president of two tax exempt charitable organizations – the National Republican History Museum Foundation, which is developing the world class National Republican History Museum and Library in Ripon, and the New Berlin West High School Class of 1983 Education Foundation. He is the past Deputy Board Chairman for the Center for Politics and the People at Ripon College and actively promotes expanding military veteran educational opportunities at local universities, colleges, and technical schools. Additionally, Secretary Zimmerman serves as coach and booster for several local youth sports organizations and as a leader in Ripon's downtown historic district redevelopment. He is a member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) R.H Fuller Chapter 17 in Oshkosh, American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 7 in Oshkosh, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Schultz-Klemp-Wentland Post 5278 in Ripon, and American Legion Brown-Parfitt Post 43 in Ripon and is a past volunteer at Badger Boys State at Ripon College.
Secretary Zimmerman holds a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security specializing in Intelligence operations from American Military University in Charles Town, West Virginia, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with a Political Science emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as basic and advanced certifications in Leadership and Military Intelligence operations from various U.S. Army schools. He is a seasoned university-level educator and recognized academic scholar, having graduated top in his class for both his university and military schooling.
He and his wife of 28 years, Carey from Waupaca, Wisconsin, reside in Ripon with their four children: Aubreigh (20), Reagan (18), Daniel (14) and Sheridan (12), with Aubreigh and Reagan being Army ROTC cadets at Ripon College and UW-Madison, respectively.