Steve Sefton First Project Story

S. Sefton v.small


In September of 1987, I started as a Co-op at the Wright State University Library project. Tom Haverkos was the Project Manager and Nellie York was the Superintendent. It was a poured-in-place concrete structure. I was there for one quarter and was a jack of all trades, doing daily reports, approving submittals, etc. I remember the first time Tom brought me an expandable file of invoices and said, “Review and approve them all”. Up to that point, the biggest check I had written was probably $200 for my car. Some of these were a quarter of a million dollar invoices. I thought, holy cow! This is my first co-op and someone trusts me with all of these approvals! Tom said, I guess it’s just more zeros than you’re used to using.

I didn’t like school, but I knew I had to get through. I remember Nellie York taking me out to the Stockyards for lunch one day after he had just received his Christmas bonus. He told me, if you stick with school, you can work for Danis. Then he showed me his Christmas bonus. He really pushed me to continue on with school. Nelly was a big influence on me.

BIGGEST CHANGE. Life is so much faster now than when I started in 1987. Technology has been a huge change since then. When I started, I remember filling out logs by hand and transmittals in triplicate. I remember having my first cell phone on the Reynolds and Reynolds project. My first job as a Project Manager, I had a desktop computer I would take apart to take home on the weekends.

I can remember when we switched to smart phones. We were discussing the switch in a staff meeting and Tom Hammelrath, our former President, said he didn’t need one. Within a month, he was not only using a smart phone, but needed an extra battery.

FAVORITE PROJECT. My favorite project was Citizen’s Federal Center. It was my third Co-op assignment. On Friday of my second week, a Project Engineer told me he was resigning the next day. I went to Doug Addis and said, don’t hire another engineer; let me do that job. I was given responsibility at Danis that the average Co-op wasn’t given at other companies. It was a big reason why, when other job offers started coming in after graduation, I came to Danis.

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