Daniel was one of three sons of Cullen Coleman Daniel, a Methodist minister and the first president of Birmingham-Southern College and his wife Margaret. He finished high school in Paris, Tennessee where he excelled in baseball.
Daniel began working at the ACIPCO foundry after earning his bachelor's and professional degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama in 1936 and 1937. He left to join in the army in 1941, a week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was appointed Ordnance Officer for General Patton's 3rd Army in Europe. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star for his service. He invented a hedgerow tank plow and an outside trigger for the M1 rifle, making it easier to use in winter gear.
When he returned to ACIPCO in 1946 Daniel moved into the engineering department. He invented numerous improvements to plant operations, seven of which he patented. He was promoted to chief engineer in 1948, to vice-president of engineering in 1955, to vice-president for engineering and purchases and 1959, and to executive vice-president in 1961. He became the president of the company in 1963, the first president to have started as a foundry worker. He held that post until he retired on October 31, 1978. The executive office building was named in his honor at that time.
After retiring Daniel remained active in leadership at Canterbury United Methodist Church and with several civic and charitable organization. He was once the president of the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce and chaired the board of Mercy Hospital and the advisory board for the Salvation Army. He co-chaired the board of the United Way, and was a trustee of the Birmingham Symphony Association and the Southern Research Institute. He served on the boards of directors for the Jefferson-Shelby County Lung Association and Junior Achievement as well as for the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and First Alabama Bank of Birmingham. He also served on the advisory council for the Boy Scouts of America and the board of Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He served as president of The Club from 1982 to 1984.
Daniel also served on the boards of directors for the American Iron and Steel Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Associated Industries of Alabama. He was named Executive of the Year by the National Management Association in 1978 and was inducted into their national Hall of Fame in 1987. He was also awarded the Pangborn Medal by the American Foundyman Society and the Henry Laurence Gantt Memorial Medal by the American Management Association and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 1982.
Daniel died in 2008. He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Virginia Simpson and survived by four sons, Kenneth Jr, Cullen II, Robert and William. He also had five grandchildren and one great-grandson. He is interred at Elmwood Cemetery.
- Bouma, Katherine (July 7, 2008) "Kenneth Daniel, former ACIPCO president, dies at 94." Birmingham News
- "Kenneth Latimer Rule Daniel" obituary (July 6, 2008) Birmingham News
- Kenneth Rule Daniel profile at the Alabama Academy of Honor