Daniel Openden is president and CEO of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center. Before participating in a panel on autism education, he talked about the perils of surfing in Fiji before you’re good enough to surf in Fiji, rooting for the Diamondbacks, and his biggest pet peeve in the Zócalo green room.
Where do you come up with your best ideas?
I come up with a lot of ideas while running, actually.
What teacher or professor changed your life, if any?
A sociology professor named John Baldwin.
What’s your favorite ice cream topping?
Where would you like to travel to next?
I’d like to go to Italy.
Who or what do you root for?
It’s hard right now, but I’m rooting for the Diamondbacks, hoping they turn it around. And my kids—I root for my kids.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
You know when you’re in a parking lot and you’re waiting for a spot, and the person takes a really long time to back up, even when they know you’re there? That bothers me. I don’t know why it bothers me so much—it’s inconsiderate, right?
When you turn on your TV, what station was usually on last?
ESPN. Or, if it’s during baseball season, then Fox Sports.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I went on a surf trip to Fiji before I was good enough to be surfing in Fiji.
How’d that work out for you?
It was great. I had some scary moments, but I had a lot of fun, too.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given someone else?
It’s a little cliché, but probably kids—for me and my wife.