Employee Spotlight: Superintendent Dan Blaesing
8 months, 3 weeks ago
As a teen in rural west-central Illinois, Dan Blaesing had grown up around construction. He did some work for his uncle’s concrete business, took all of his high school’s industrial arts classes, and had several friends who went right to work in the building trades.
But for Blaesing, community college beckoned. Briefly, anyway.
One semester was enough of that, and Blaesing went to work for a plumbing company owned by the relative of a friend. It was the first instance in a career-defining pattern where a friendly suggestion has led him to each new opportunity, and ultimately 18 years ago to Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO).
“I think we ought to … see if you can get an interview with Carl Nelson,” Blaesing said, recounting the advice of a friend and co-worker at a company in Fairfield, Iowa, who just hired on with Burlington, Iowa-based CANCO.
Blaesing interviewed on a Saturday and was hired on Monday. He brought more than a half-dozen years of commercial construction experience with him, including concrete, foundations, erection of pre-engineered metal buildings and interior finishes. After starting with CANCO in 2005 as a construction craftsman, he was promoted through the foreman ranks to project superintendent in 2016.
Better pay and benefits was what brought Blaesing to CANCO initially, he said. But other factors have kept him with the company, including the “the work, good work and good people. I’ve made a lot of friends here.” He’s also worked on and supervised large and complex projects at job sites spread throughout the Midwest, including most recently for a seed and grain industry client in western Indiana. CANCO crews spent more than two-and-a-half COVID-interrupted years on the project, building new structures and installing equipment.
Other memorable projects include millwright work for other seed and grain clients, including installation of new equipment such as optical seed sorters. Blaesing also had a role in demolition and replacement of an assembly line for a major Midwestern farm implement manufacturer.
Since late 2022, Blaesing has been providing leadership for self-performed and subcontractor work on a Carl A. Nelson & Company construction management at-risk project at the University of Iowa State Hygienic Lab in Coralville, Iowa, building a new biosafety Level 3 laboratory and support spaces.
A year after being promoted to superintendent, Blaesing was invited to become an employee-owner, and is one of 31 shareholders in the company. Ownership opportunity is a great incentive to strive for a superintendent role, he said. But, he added, having a stake in the company also provides strong incentive to provide excellent customer service.
And, Blaesing said, clients understand and appreciate that.
“I believe that’s why we get repeat work,” he said.
Away from the job site, Blaesing and his wife, Kris, have been married almost 13 years. They enjoy time with friends on and near the water at their Burlington home along the Mississippi River, barbecuing, fishing and boating. The couple also enjoys getaways to Cancun in Mexico. Blaesing also looks forward to his son, Kaleb, being home to student teach before graduating from the University of Northern Iowa.
— Craig T. Neises, director of marketing