Describe your role with The Stahl Companies.
MD: Project Manager who assists with anything that needs to be done, campground chef and movie projectionist.
How did you become interested in a career in construction?
MD: 2001, I decided to quit my job, buy land, and build a house. I was surrounded by multiple friends who had construction experience of some level, but I knew nothing. My father had not taught me anything about working with tools, so I put myself in a situation where I had to learn in my early 30’s. The experience was great and it opened up new avenues and opportunities that I had not imagined I would be a part of.
What has challenged you most as you’ve progressed through the industry?
MD: Just getting comfortable with not being the “guru” and knowing it all - it was a humbling experience to leave an industry/work environment where you are “dialed in” and are viewed as the authority if there is a question, to adapting to a work life where you are constantly learning and evolving on a near daily basis.
How did you overcome that challenge?
MD: I have always been adaptable and I have always striven to be part of a team. Having confidence in those around you, knowing that they “have your back” (and the humility to know that you NEED guidance and support) makes all the difference in the world. Being part of a good team makes the prospect of dealing with adversity SO much easier. Rarely have I ever been “stabbed in the back” by a peer (yes, it’s happened), so I find it rather easy to stay embedded in a team, not needing to feel concerned about being all alone and entirely self-reliant. Surround yourself with good people. Always the best idea.
Was there one person who was instrumental in getting you through that challenge?
MD: I have had multiple peers who have been of unbelievable support through many trials. I have been blessed to have been among men of faith who have truly become my “brothers," dependable, honest, and trustworthy. I have worked with (3) specific gentlemen who will be my brothers until the end.
In your opinion, what skills/or traits are crucial to have in this career?
MD: Adaptability, problem solving, organizational skills, communication skills, multi-tasking, decision-making, courage to question, willingness to follow, well-spoken, people skills, and the ability to commiserate with people in any walk of life.
Who is a role model you look up to, and why?
MD: I appreciate and admire MANY people who I think are amazing, with amazing skills that I KNOW I will never have, but I’ve never really felt I have had a “role model.” Most likely, it's the result of a life of being raised in the military and never having been able to feel planted or at home, with life always being churned up and flipped over.
What has been one of your favorite experiences so far in your career?
MD: Having the opportunity to form new relationships with my peers, customers, and vendors, etc. I’ve seen all kinds of things during projects and you learn from them, but it’s the relationships and the adventures of dealing with humans that make a real impact.
What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
MD: Cooking, scuba, motorcycles and, at one point, aviation and piloting.
Do you have a charity that is close to your heart?
MD: Compassion International, St. Jude Children’s Hospital
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
MD: Captain of the R/V Neil Armstrong, based out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts.
Who is a person you would most like to meet, current or historical?
MD: He is both current and historical, Jesus, and I know that we’ll all get a chance to meet Him. Again, no role models, I don’t idolize people. There are interesting people, for sure, but meeting Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln doesn’t really get me all geeked-up. Y’know, come to think of it, doing a desert motocross ride with Steve McQueen might be cool…..