Employee Spotlight with Dave Diffenderfer
Cagwin & Dorward is regarded by many as a leader in landscape construction in Northern California, largely thanks to its exceptional people, like Dave Diffenderfer.
Cagwin & Dorward Job Title
Construction Project Manager
How long have you been at Cagwin & Dorward?
I have been working at Cagwin & Dorward for 7 years.
What do you love about working at Cagwin & Dorward?
Cagwin has allowed me to grow and develop as a project manager. When I first started I did not have the skillset needed to be successful. Through making mistakes and learning I have been able to develop the necessary skills for success. These organizational skills have helped me professionally and have also helped me in my personal life.
The biggest motivator for me is to see my guys and the people around me continue to grow, promote and make more money! I take a huge amount of pride in developing employees, supporting their development, and helping create a path to bigger and better things.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married for 18 years and I have a nine-year-old daughter, and two dogs — a golden doodle named Ladybug and a chihuahua mutt named Mr. Dude.
As a family, we do a lot together. We enjoy working on our house together and attending my daughter’s gymnastics and activities.
When you are not working, what do you do for fun?
“I drag race. I have a 2003 Corvette Z06 and I do a lot of drag racing. So I’m either working on my car, racing my car, or earning money to buy parts for my car.
Do you have any other hobbies you enjoy?
I like to do woodworking. I like to do art wood building, anything to do with wood and building stuff. That’s how I make money to pay for my race car parts.
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SIGN FOR MY KIDS TEACHER
SIGN FOR MY KIDS TEACHER
OUTDOOR PATIO FURNITURE
Who are the mentors or people you look up to as a leader in your life?
Many people have had a positive influence on my life. My high school wrestling coach taught me a solid work ethic. Wrestling was the first time I was rewarded for the effort I put into it. The harder I worked and the more I focused on my sport, the better I became. This led to my developing confidence and a strong worth ethic.
I have not always been naturally “the best” at anything, but through hard work and dedication I can accomplish anything I focus on.
The leadership team at Cagwin & Dorward has given me the room to improve on my weaknesses and continue to develop my strengths. I pass this approach along to my crews. I manage my guys by empowering them to make decisions and to learn from their mistakes. This allows the team to grow and become more independent.
Do you have a guiding personal philosophy?
My goal in life is to never stop learning and growing. I strive to work hard and not let the challenges in life stop me from reaching my goals. I take this approach in my personal and professional life. The more discipline I have, the more I challenge myself, the more I challenge myself, the more I grow, the more I grow the better I feel. It is a cycle of learning and growing that keeps me motivated.
What accomplishments in your life are a result of your personal philosophy?
I have three Associates degrees in General Studies, Art, and Fire Science.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Service Management with a minor in Human Resource Management.
I have 16 certificates in life and safety, including a California State Fire Fighter, EMT license, and Haz Mat first responder.
I have 10 years where I was self-employed, two years of experience in business development, and over seven years as a project manager with Cagwin and Dorward.
What would your friends tell me about you?
They would tell you that I’m a very resilient person. I’ve overcome a lot to get where I am at in life. They would also say I’m a financially motivated person (because I like stability in my life). Also, they would tell you that I’m loyal and I don’t like a lot of change.
What is a day in your life like?
Busy. I wake up at 5:00 AM and I get going. I get to the office early and get my guys going. I head out into the field and do whatever I need to do in the field while it’s cool outside. I then get back to the office to work the rest of the day, such as bidding on projects. I will then pick up my daughter from school and head off to her activities such as gymnastics or helping her with her Garden Club at school.
After that, it’s dinner and chores, and then I sit down around six or seven or go into the garage for a few hours to unwind and then I head to bed at nine.