The beginning

I often get asked as to where I learned to do our large projects. There is no formal school that teaches these things. I learned primarily by doing. I was also inspired by many trips to Disneyland as a young man. While most simply enjoy the attractions I was the guy trying my best to figure out how they built all that magical stuff. I started with what I learned from my dad who did carpentry. I surrounded myself with those who had other skills like welding. Most of what I do was learned by simply doing. Mistakes and failures were all taken to heart. Every project was a stretch, built on the project before. A can do attitude worked wonders.

One of our earliest, large 3D projects was a good example of how we work. I was asked to build a giant archway to a planned development. I did the design and then went on a trip with our family... to Disneyland. Splash Mountain had just opened and it was built using similar methods to what I had planned to use on our project. As we rode the fun ride I was all eyes to every detail. As luck would have it, just as we chugged up to the top of the mountain it broke down just before the giant drop. Most guests were disappointed to hear we would be walked out of the ride. I was delighted for it meant I would get a peek behind the fancy front. We would go where few guests get to go. In those few minutes as we walked out of the ride, deep inside the mountain structure, I learned much of what I needed to build my project back home.

I learned plenty on that first large project. Actually doing is a whole lot different than merely thinking one knows how. Since then each project has taught me more and with each sucessive project we reached a little further. After more than two and a half decades in the business I'm still figuring it out and learning every day.

-grampa dan

Dan SawatzkyComment