Steve Daniel: Born to Build
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SACRAMENTO — Raised in the construction trades, Steve Daniel was all but destined to become a builder like his forefathers. “My dad was a contractor and so was my grandfather, so it’s in my blood whether I like it or not,” he laughs. “By the time I was 13, my dad was taking me out on jobs regularly. He worked all the time and always needed help, and who do you think he was going to call to help him? That strapping young man sitting on the couch watching cartoons, that’s who!”
Following high school, Steve attended college, but it wasn’t long before he was back on the construction site. “I went to school with plans to be a chemical engineer, but I got bored with it after a year and a half and went back to work for my dad. In 1981, I got my contractor’s license, and I’ve been building ever since.”
Today, after four decades in the construction industry, Steve says his favorite part of his job is pleasing his clients. “I like to see the customer smile. I enjoy helping people, and it feels good to give someone exactly what they want at a price they can afford.”
A resident of Sacramento (where he lives with his wife, Linda), Steve spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I’m an outdoorsman, so I enjoy camping, hunting and fishing,” he details. “As a matter of fact, I was camping just this past weekend at 10,000 feet, on a mountaintop called Mount Patterson.” As far as day-to-day life, Steve enjoys reading, playing cribbage with Linda, and visiting with his children and grandchildren. “Between Linda and I, there are four kids and eight grandchildren, so we like to spend time with them whenever we get the chance.”
Looking back, Steve credits his professional success in part to his father’s instruction and influence. “My dad instilled a strong work ethic in me,” he explains. “He believed it didn’t take eight hours to do a day’s work, so he would do it in six. But he also put quality first. When he taught you something, you’d first learn how to do it right, and then you picked up speed as you got better at it. It was always quality first with him, whether it was a minor job or the overall project, and that’s the same way I approach the job today.”
When asked what he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Steve says he’d find ways to keep himself busy. “You always need a game; something to keep you creative and active. If you’re just sitting around and watching TV, you’re not being very creative, and that actually shortens your lifespan. So, the first thing I’d do is start on some of the projects I have around the house. That’s the thing about being a contractor—you’re so busy working on other people’s houses that you never get around to working on your own!”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: La Rosa Blanca in Sacramento.
Q: If you could take a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
A: I’d probably go to Washington, D.C. and visit the Smithsonian.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both—I’m happy with six hours of sleep.
Q: What types of books do you like?
A: I like good stories where the main character has to overcome the odds and win the day. Some of my favorite authors are Clive Cussler, James Rollins and Steve Berry.
Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Spring. It’s when things come to life after winter. The trees are the greenest they’re going to be and all the colors are vivid. It’s very invigorating.
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