While today Dan manages multi-million-yard earthmoving operations around Southern California as the general superintendent for LB3 Enterprises, he’s spent decades working his way up from the bottom.
“My family has always been in construction and earthmoving, including my dad, my uncle, and my grandpa. This type of heavy equipment and construction is in my blood. Even as a little kid, I knew I wanted to run tractors like my dad.”
Dan’s father is retired now, but he spent his working years as an operating engineer and a foreman in the earthmoving industry, which is a career path Dan has also followed starting fresh out of high school.
“I started my first two years after high school as a laborer with a heavy civil company in San Diego. I used to practice on machines after work on my own time. The old-school way is I’d pay another operator a 30-pack of beer to teach me how to run a scraper. I took the initiative because I didn’t want to sit there with a shovel for the rest of my life.”
Thanks to his initiative, Dan climbed the ladder in a relatively quick fashion, and he spent the next decade of his career as an operator.
“I ran everything. Excavators, scrapers, dozers, and blades ― you name it, I’ve done it all. Primarily, I liked doing finishing work. I ran a finish dozer and a finish blade, doing pads, slopes, and streets. Finishing is my forte. I liked it because it is fun to move mountains and fill up canyons, but when you’re going back and sculpting that mound into a house pad, you’re building the finished product.”
While Dan loved operating, he always had his sights set on being a foreman, just as his father did before him.
“I went to work for a pretty big company in 2007. After a year, they asked if I wanted to become a foreman. And after a year of that, they asked if I wanted to be a superintendent, so I gave that a shot. I always knew that I’d at least be a foreman, but 15 years ago, I would’ve said I didn’t want to be a superintendent. Now, I’ve been a superintendent for ten years.”
As he looks back, Dan says that he never would’ve made it this far without taking risks along the way.
“It’s tough for me to get out of my comfort zone. I’m a very good operator. It makes sense to me. I can sit there in a dozer and bust my ass all day ― everybody’s happy, and I’m comfortable with it. It’s always terrifying to take that next step. Everything I’ve done in the end was well worth it. It made me a better person and a better manager. It was just hard for me to have the vision when I was younger.”
When it comes to advice, Dan keeps it simple.
“It’s hard work, but you make a great living. It’s about the basics. Show up every day and be reliable. That’s the guy I want. Those are the guys I’ll give opportunities to. Those are the guys who will grow.”Back to all stories