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Mentor Appreciation Month: Dave Nielsen

A man on a jobsite.
Dave Nielsen, General Superintendent


I have had the privilege to know and work with Mr. Dave Nielsen for the past eight years and to say he has made a lasting impression on my career would be an understatement. As a young entry-level project engineer on a temporary assignment in the Manson Northern California office in 2014, I had the unique experience of sharing a single-wide construction trailer with Dave located in the back of the main office.

It was during that short time and through those thin trailer walls where I was able to hear Dave manage his crews that helped me realize that if I was going to learn the correct way to build work and manage crews, it was going to be from Dave and his core group of craftsmen. Not only has Dave taught me a lot about building work in these short eight years, but he also taught me how to be a leader and earn the respect of the team.

Anyone who has worked with Dave knows that his crews respect him and appreciate the passion he brings to any project site. No matter if it is a $5 million-dollar project or a $500 million-dollar project, Dave demands results. He does everything within his power to deliver a successful project.

Dave has taught me to be production-oriented, plan for the worst, and most importantly, have fun. He constantly reminds me that the second things are going good, then expect something will go wrong. In the event that something does go wrong, it is nice to have someone like Dave to call upon to offer his wisdom and then tell you a funny story of some of the mistakes he has made along the years.

Having a mentor like Dave is valuable as a young engineer because he does not sugarcoat things. He tells people what they did wrong and explains the correct way to do it. Dave’s ability to quiz people on their knowledge and preparedness for an operation is second to none. He is a wealth of information and if you are willing to listen and learn, he is willing to teach.

I truly believe Dave Nielsen embodies all the traits and characteristics of a Manson mentor. People like Dave show young people what it means to be a leader and a builder. Many people can lead and many people can build, but few carry both traits and are willing to teach along the way. It has been an honor to have the opportunity to work alongside Dave and I hope he is recognized for all of his contributions to both Manson and the construction industry over the past 45+ years.

Thank you, Dave!

Submitted by: Matt LaRue, Project Manager

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