Stories of Service<br />
SteelMaster Gives Thanks This Holiday Season through Website Series<br />The series will focus on ten employees, all of wh...
Part 1: Zandra McKenzie, marketing assistant<br />As a senior at college in North Carolina, Zandra McKenzie never could ha...
Part 2: Rob Poellnitz , vice president<br />Tucked away somewhere between the old and the new, there is a photograph of yo...
Part 3: Desiree Lapid-Guiaman, accounting specialist<br />Considering the rate at which Desiree Lapid-Guiaman rattles off ...
Part 4: Emma Granada, international business development manager<br />“America is not merely a nation but a nation of nati...
Part 5: Daniel Howard, project specialist<br />By his sophomore year of high school, Daniel Howard had lived in more state...
Part 6: Al Hanks, customer management coordinator<br />By all accounts, the years Al served as a deck seaman in the U.S. N...
Part 7: Michelle Wickum, director of marketing<br />Michelle Wickum is a tried and true optimist, and she credits her fath...
Part 8: Rich Merrill, construction consultant<br />As far as mascots go, a bee brandishing a machine gun and tools  may be...
Part 9: Diane Sharry, sales coordinator<br />There is a certain feeling that is often associated with the holidays. For ma...
Part 10: Robert D’Agostino, project specialist<br />Robert “Dag” D’Agostino doesn’t test the waters; he doesn’t wade in or...
Part 10: Pat Patterson, Former CEO<br />SteelMaster brings its “Stories of Service” series to a close by highlighting a pe...
For SteelMaster Buildings, being the best means hiring people like Pat and others profiled in our “Stories of Service” ser...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

Steel Master Stories of Service


Published on

Being located in the Hampton Roads community, SteelMaster is surrounded by a vast military presence. We have strong ties to the military community through our own staff, as well as the work we have done with bases around the world. We wanted to show our gratitude through a new series on our website.

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Steel Master Stories of Service

  1. 1. Stories of Service<br />
  2. 2. SteelMaster Gives Thanks This Holiday Season through Website Series<br />The series will focus on ten employees, all of whom embody the fundamental ideals and principles that SteelMaster strives to uphold in every aspect of its operations—honesty, integrity, loyalty, hard work, and resolve.<br /> <br />“The only way to be the best in our business is to hire the best people, and we’ve done that at SteelMaster,” says Wickum. “As a company, we are proud to represent the best that United States has to offer, which includes our people, prices, and products.”<br />For more information on SteelMaster, visit or call (800) 341-7007.________________________________________________<br />Corporate Summary<br /> <br />SteelMaster Buildings represents over 27 years of premium quality manufacturing, providing the highest quality steel arch buildings in the world. Throughout its years in business, SteelMaster has successfully designed buildings and structures for a variety of applications across the globe ranging from residential customers, the government, and the military, to numerous Fortune 500 companies.  <br />SteelMaster offers a wide range of building applications including: garage/carports, workshops, agricultural buildings, aircraft hangars, commercial/industrial structures, roofing systems, athletic facilities, and custom building applications.<br />Virginia Beach, VA—November 26, 2009—Holidays are commas interspersed throughout the writing of the American tale—moments when society collectively takes a moment to pause, reflect, and regroup before moving forward. This Thanksgiving SteelMaster Buildings is pausing to give thanks to some very special people by showcasing their stories of bravery, loyalty, sacrifice, and resolve in the four-week series “Stories of Service: SteelMaster Gives Thanks”, which will be hosted on its website<br /> <br />From December 2 -21, SteelMaster will highlight employees who have either served in the U.S. military, like Project Specialist Robert “Dag” D’Agostino, a 20-year veteran of the Navy’s elite SEAL commandos, as well as others who come from military families—including Project Specialist Daniel Howard, whose father recently retired from the Navy after 40 years of service and whose uncle, a New York Port Authority police officer, who was a victim of the 9/11 attacks.<br /> <br />“We are thankful for every member of our SteelMaster family as well as all of our customers who believe in the quality of our buildings,” says Michelle Wickum, the director of marketing for SteelMaster, a manufacturer of premium steel arch buildings, which is headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. “Because we are located near several U.S. military bases, we are privileged to work with people who have exceptional histories of service to our country. As an expression of gratitude to them and their families, we are sharing their stories with the SteelMaster community through our website.”<br /> <br />
  3. 3. Part 1: Zandra McKenzie, marketing assistant<br />As a senior at college in North Carolina, Zandra McKenzie never could have imagined that her job working at a Banana Republic store would eventually lead her to a brief stay in the Republic of Cuba, but as the saying goes, love knows no boundaries.<br />When she met her future husband Zack, who also worked at Banana Republic, he had recently enlisted in the Navy and was biding his time until he had to report for boot camp outside of Chicago. Once he left, their love continued to blossom across the miles through an ardent letter-writing courtship that culminated into an impromptu wedding on a California beach three months later.<br />“I wrote to him every single day he was in boot camp, and he wrote back when he could,” says Zandra. “We decided that I would move to San Diego to be with him once boot camp ended, and the day after my mother and I arrived in California with all of my stuff, Zack and I got married. We just knew we were meant to be together.” <br />The Navy sent the newlyweds to live in Pensacola, FL for six months until Zack was assigned to duty at Guantanamo Bay, where Zandra was able to visit him twice. In 2009, the two were reunited, and Zack was stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, where SteelMaster is headquartered.<br />“Since I was not able to join Zack at Guantanamo Bay, I realized just how important having a strong support system is for a Navy wife because there are long stretches of time when you are separated from your spouse,” says Zandra. “When I was hired on as a marketing assistant for SteelMaster in August 2009, I didn’t just start a new job—I also became part of an extended family. There are many people on staff who were either in the military or are related to someone in the military, so there is a strong connection there.  I couldn’t ask for a better place to work.”<br />
  4. 4. Part 2: Rob Poellnitz , vice president<br />Tucked away somewhere between the old and the new, there is a photograph of young man in his mid 20’s, his face partially covered by a bandana as he stands under the watchful gaze of a clock with hands reaching toward the noon hour. He is consumed by the surrounding darkness, which is in eerie opposition to the time on the clock for it is noon after all. The man in the photo, Rob Poellnitz, doesn’t need to hold the worn photo in his hands to step back into the past because the moment is perfectly <br />“I was 26 years old at the time and had a position of significant responsibility,” remembers Poellnitz. “When you are responsible for the lives of the people serving under you, you lose sleep over it. We didn’t know what we were heading into because it wasn’t like it is today where you can send an email to get information from the outside world. After returning from Desert Storm, I was blown away when I watched CNN—viewers knew more about the war than I did while I was on the ship.”<br />Poellnitz’s father, a 34-year Navy veteran, also served in Desert Storm as an intelligence officer under General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. “My father was deployed six times during his career in the Navy, so I grew up being aware of the sacrifices that have to be made in order to serve the country. I was raised with the values that the U.S. military thrives on—discipline, loyalty, and hard work. I bring those same attributes to my professional life as well, and I expect them from the people that I work with.”<br />As vice president of SteelMaster Buildings, Poellnitz says he runs a tight ship and places great value on communication and growth. “Whether it is developing and nurturing relationships within our office or with our customers, it is vital that it occurs on a continuous basis. But first and foremost, it takes hard work, <br />preserved in his mind: Black smoke. Black water. The noxious smell of sulfur assaulting his nose. Flames licking the horizon. Fear creeping up his spine, causing him to stand straight and alert like a toy wooden soldier ready for war.<br />It was 1991, and Desert Storm was raging all around Poellnitz, a recent graduate of the Naval Academy who was serving as an officer on board the USS KIDD (DDG-993) out of Norfolk. The blackness and foul smell in the air were the result of oil fires lit by Iraqi military forces that were destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from the area. Because the dangers were too great to send in firefighting crews, the fires burned out of control. The Iraqi military also placed land mines in areas around the oil wells, and a military cleaning of the areas was necessary before the fires could be put out. Somewhere around 6 million barrels of oil were lost each day.<br />Eventually, privately contracted crews extinguished the fires, but by that time, the fires had burned for months, causing widespread pollution.<br />and I’m proud to say that the people at SteelMaster are some of the hardest working folks that I know. We are like-minded people who put value on family and on achieving a healthy work/life balance. We are proud of our work and proud of how we treat one another and our customers.”<br />
  5. 5. Part 3: Desiree Lapid-Guiaman, accounting specialist<br />Considering the rate at which Desiree Lapid-Guiaman rattles off numbers during a conversation, it is no wonder she enjoys working as an accounting specialist at SteelMaster Buildings.<br />It was April of 1999 when Desiree, then 20 years old, left her home in the Philippines and moved to California with her mother and two brothers, who were 18 and 19 years old. They reunited with her father and 21-year-old brother who had arrived a few<br />Also in 2001, Desiree joined her mother and father when they moved again, this time to Virginia Beach, VA, where her father’s family lives. In 2003, she joined SteelMaster Buildings as an accounting specialist and has two years left until she receives her bachelor’s degree in management from Old Dominion University in Norfolk.<br />“I am so thankful that I live in America and am proud of the work I do for SteelMaster,” says Desiree. “This country is the land of opportunity, and that is something that I will never take for granted. I’m also very proud of my brothers who are still in the Navy and serving this country that has given us so much.”<br />months earlier, and settled in close to her mother’s relatives who had emigrated from the Philippines in years past.<br />“When we moved to California it sort of felt like coming home because of our extended family who were already living here,” remembers Desiree. “We were together every day in the Philippines, and life just wasn’t the same after they left.”<br />Within a few months, the landscape of her life shifted again when all three of her brothers joined the U.S. Navy, following in the footsteps of two of her uncle’s who had both retired from the Navy. “When they joined it was a bit of a shock because we are so close in age and had always been together, but it helped that I was living with my mom and dad and we were surrounded by our relatives,” says Desiree.<br />Then after September 11, 2001, Desiree and her family learned that one of her brothers was deployed to Afghanistan on what turned out to be one of the first ships sent to the area.  “I cried so much when I found out,” says Desiree. “We were all so scared, but thank goodness he made it through his six month deployment just fine and came back safe and sound.”<br />
  6. 6. Part 4: Emma Granada, international business development manager<br />“America is not merely a nation but a nation of nations.”<br />Lyndon B. Johnson—36th President of the U.S.<br />The collage of stamps imprinted on Emma Granada’s passport is as vast as the places she has traveled, but it was her brother’s 10-month trip to Iraq in 2009 that has made the most indelible mark on her heart. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Jose Pehovaz-Diez helped fight the war in Iraq as a Navy helicopter pilot before returning home two months ago to Virginia Beach. “His return was bittersweet because although it was great to have him home safe, a lot of things had changed while he had been away…my daughter had grown up so much since he last saw her, and it was the first time he met my son who is now four months old,” says Emma.  “I was so proud of him, though, our whole family was.  I know it was hard for him to be away all that time, but I know that in his heart, he knew that this is what he was meant to do.  I admire him greatly, I really do.”<br />Jose’s decision to join the Navy was influenced by their stepfather Robert Pinto, who fought in the Vietnam War and served 23 years in the Navy. “He always told us about how <br />as well as in my personal life.”<br />Emma is the international business development manager for SteelMaster Buildings where she has worked for three years. Her ability to connect and communicate with SteelMaster’s international customers is due in part to having traveled extensively. Born in Peru, Emma’s family moved to Virginia Beach when she was 8 years old, but the<br />family often traveled back to Peru to visit family and friends. After marrying her husband, Emma moved with him to his birth country of Honduras, where they lived for six years before returning to Virginia Beach.<br />Fluent in English, Spanish, and French, Emma instills an appreciation and respect for other cultures in her 7-year-old daughter, who is fluent in Spanish and English and travels to Honduras for two months each summer.  “It is important to me that my children are proud of being Americans as well as to know and respect their heritage,” says Emma. “I enjoy working for SteelMaster because we do a great deal of business with international clients. I think we can all learn from the example SteelMaster sets—we embrace diversity and recognize that building relationships with other countries can only make us better at what we do. It’s the same with the military—my brother fought in Iraq with people from many different countries, and they all worked together toward a common goal.”<br />great military life is and how proud he was to have been a part of it,” remembers Emma. “He and my mother raised us with a respect and appreciation for the military’s core values of loyalty, responsibility, and sense of urgency. I carry these values with me in my work here at SteelMaster <br />
  7. 7. Part 5: Daniel Howard, project specialist<br />By his sophomore year of high school, Daniel Howard had lived in more states than most people do in a life time. His family set up roost in New Hampshire, Maine, Florida, California, New York, and Pennsylvania before settling down in Virginia Beach, VA, where 28-year-old Daniel still lives. “I was actually pretty fortunate,” says Daniel, a project<br />value honesty, fairness, and integrity, and they instilled the importance of those traits in us our whole lives. In fact, most of our family has served in the military, and allegiance to those values is a thread that binds us all together.”<br />The family suffered an unimaginable loss when on September 11, 2001, Daniel’s Uncle George died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Although it was his day off from his job with the JFK Airport Emergency Service Unit, Officer George Howard rushed to the scene with a rescue vehicle to help in any way he could when he heard a plane had crashed into tower one—a selfless move that Daniel says was indicative of his character. “In 1993 when the World Trade Center was bombed, he ended up single-handedly saving 12 children who were stuck in an elevator by climbing down the shaft and lifting them all out,” says Daniel. “He was awarded the Medal of Valor for that, and then on September 11, 2001 he was on his way to play golf, but turned the car around when he heard something had happened again at the World Trade Center. We learned at his wake that he died instantly when a piece of sheetrock struck his head after he threw his body over a NYC police officer to try and protect him from the debris. That officer survived because of my uncle.”<br />Daniel fondly remembers spending time with his uncle at family get-togethers and says he always looked up to him as well as his other relatives who had dedicated their lives to serving their community and country either in law enforcement or the military. “My Uncle Patrick is a retired NYC police officer, Uncle Timothy and Aunt Geri-Anne both served in the Air Force, and my grandmother and grandfather are retired Navy,” says Daniel. “Growing up in my family meant appreciating and respecting each other, our neighbors, and our country. Although I chose a different career path than most of my family, the core beliefs and values that they instilled in me guide me both personally and professionally. My uncle’s death shook our family to its core, but it never shook our faith in what we believe in.”<br />specialist who has been with SteelMaster Buildings for six years. “My two older sisters moved more than I did.”<br />For Navy families like the Howard’s, moving tends to come with the territory, as does sacrifice. Daniel’s father Robert retired as a Naval Captain in June 2009 after 40 years of<br />service and was deployed four times throughout his career. While Daniel says the military life was sometimes challenging for his family, it also came with some memorable perks. “When I was 10 years old, I joined my father on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower [a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier] for a Tiger Cruise,” says Daniel, referring to the naval tradition of inviting the sailor’s family and friends along for a few days to experience life at sea. “I got to fly to Bermuda, take a helicopter to the ship, and then ride home at sea for three days with my father, whom I hadn’t seen in six months. It was an incredible experience and probably my best childhood memory.”<br />A piece of advice that will never leave his memory is one that his father impressed upon him and his sisters since they were young. “My dad always says that if you tell the truth always you never have to remember anything, and that is something that has stuck with me,” says Daniel. “He and my mother<br />
  8. 8. Part 6: Al Hanks, customer management coordinator<br />By all accounts, the years Al served as a deck seaman in the U.S. Navy pale in comparison to the affect it has had on him as a civilian. “It changed me as a man,” says Al, a customer management coordinator with SteelMaster Buildings in Virginia Beach, VA.<br />family, and you stick together. You have to be committed to one another, look out for each other’s welfare, and above all else, value and respect what each person has to offer to the common good.”<br />That lesson has served him well off the ship and at SteelMaster, where he has worked since 2004. “We are a smaller company and that allows us to know one another very well and work as a team,” says Al, who is married and has two small children ages seven and three. “To do our jobs as well as we do requires a great deal of discipline and a strong work ethic, and I credit my parents and the Navy for instilling that in me. I try to incorporate those attributes into being a husband, father, employee, and citizen, and I am teaching my children the same. The goal isn’t just to succeed, but to do so with class and integrity.”<br />Born and raised in Irvington, NJ just outside of Newark, the 35-year-old didn’t travel much growing up and remembers thinking the world revolved around the tri-state area. “The Navy allowed me to travel to places like Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, and Scotland—those experiences alone changed my whole outlook on life,” says Al. “I remember right before I left for Puerto Rico I had<br />reservations about going, but my dad told me that it would be an experience I wouldn’t regret and teach me that there is so much more to life than Irvington, and he was right.”<br />Although his overall experience was very positive, the years Al spent in the Navy (1992-1997) were not without hard work, sacrifice, and loss. Two of his fellow servicemen on the ship died during that time—one in his sleep from a heart attack and another when the bus that was bringing him back to the boat careened off the side of the pier.<br />“Whether a fellow serviceman dies in combat, from a tragic accident, or from natural causes, it is a traumatic loss,” says Al. “Regardless of what department you are in, when you are assigned to a ship everyone on that ship becomes your<br />
  9. 9. Part 7: Michelle Wickum, director of marketing<br />Michelle Wickum is a tried and true optimist, and she credits her father Garry Petre for teaching her that not only is the glass half full, the water tastes pretty darn good as well. Although he died last August, Michelle has navigated through her grief with what her father called ‘PMA’—positive mental attitude. “My dad always taught us kids to not to allow life events to block us from moving forward,” says Michelle, who is the director of marketing for SteelMaster<br />Although neither Michelle nor her husband Todd served in the military, Todd does work for ADS, Inc. in Virginia Beach, a company that provides operations equipment and tactical gear to the government, military, and law enforcement agencies around the world. As for SteelMaster, the company’s steel buildings have earned the favor of not only the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard, but also the Departments of Corrections, Transportation and Defense, FBI, Public Works, DEA, and the Army Corps of Engineers.<br />“The SteelMaster metal building line serves the United States government well, especially in its ability to quickly assemble, disassemble, relocate, and then reassemble,” says Michelle. “I feel good knowing that the work that Todd does and what I do with SteelMaster helps support the needs of our nation’s military, and that in a small way, I am continuing the commitment to this country that my family has shown for three generations.” <br />Buildings in Virginia Beach, VA. “He said to always have a PMA and view the world as a place full of endless possibilities, not problems.”<br />It was the world that as a young boy of 17, Garry could not wait to explore—literally. Too young to enlist in the U.S. Air Force himself, Garry’s mother signed him up at his request so he could set forth on his own and explore the unknown. Among other places, his work as a cryptographer [person who decodes information] brought him to Crete and Africa. After he completed his service with the Air Force, he attended college at SUNY University at Albany where he met Michelle’s mother Jeannie, whose grandfather and father also served in the military.<br />“My great grandfather was part of an Army ground troop during World War I, and my grandfather was a telegrapher [a person who transmits messages by telegraph] with the Army in World War II,” says Michelle. “My two sisters and I were definitely raised with military values and discipline because the culture was such a large part of my parents’ lives.”<br />
  10. 10. Part 8: Rich Merrill, construction consultant<br />As far as mascots go, a bee brandishing a machine gun and tools  may be a bit confusing to some, but for Rich Merrill it epitomizes his 23 years of service with the SeaBees, which are the construction battalions of the U.S. Navy.<br />His retirement in 1996 as an Equipment Operator Chief, <br />“But he always remained a very patriotic man. He raised us with the beliefs that when you make a decision, you stick by it, your word is your bond and your work ethic describes you to the world. I knew that I would enlist because of the sense of patriotic duty my father instilled in me. I chose the Navy because I always wanted to be in construction and the best place to do that was with the SeaBees.”<br />Once he retired from the Navy, Rich joined SteelMaster and traveled across the country constructing steel buildings until his health no longer permitted him to do so. “The folks at the company created a position for me where I could work as a construction consultant from our office in Virginia Beach, VA,” says Rich. “I worked with steel while with the SeaBees, and I chose to continue my career with SteelMaster because their products are top notch and the people and customers are great. It was tough transitioning to civilian life at first, but SteelMaster maintains the core values of the military and my<br />Surface Combat Warfare Specialist marked the end of a career which brought Rich to Orlando, Guam, the Philippines, Okinawa (before it became part of Japan), mainland Japan, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Hawaii<br />and Norfolk. “I knew moving around a lot came with the job, but I did not realize its impact until my wife and I had twins. I was only able to spend 10 months with them during the first four years of their lives,” says Rich, a construction consultant who has been with SteelMaster Buildings since February 1998. “That was tough.”<br />But Rich is able to handle whatever comes his way, thanks in no small part to his upbringing. His father, who was an Army Paratrooper assigned to replenishing ammunition to soldiers in combat during the Korean War, was captured in the early 1950s after American forces lost position and he landed behind enemy lines. He remained a POW for almost three years before returning to the states, marrying and starting a family. “My father didn’t talk to me too much about what happened to him while he was in captivity until after I enlisted in the Navy,” says Rich. upbringing, so joining their team made it a lot easier.”<br />
  11. 11. Part 9: Diane Sharry, sales coordinator<br />There is a certain feeling that is often associated with the holidays. For many families it is as likely to obtain as catching a glimpse of Santa Claus wielding his bag stuffed full of toys. Thankfully, instead of willing themselves into a Norman Rockwell painting, people can harness warmth and  <br />served as an Admiral’s Writer and lived in DC for awhile and then was stationed in Norfolk, VA. After my time was up with the Navy, I got a degree as a Legal Assistant from Old Dominion University in Norfolk.”<br /> <br />After she finished college in 1974, she worked at a law firm for a brief period of time before settling in as a stay-at-home mother to her two sons and daughter. Her oldest son, Mark, joined the Army and was stationed in Bosnia before completing his service. Her other son, Robbie, gave up a full soccer scholarship to a university in order to join the Marine Corps. He continues with them now, 16 years later—a period of time during which he has served three tours of duty in Iraq. “He always looked up to my father, and I think when you come from a military family you are often pulled in the direction to want to serve yourself,” says Diane, who believes her strict upbringing and time in the Navy has also served her very well.<br /> <br />“My background has carried me through a lot and served me<br />friendliness all year long through a simple phone call with Diane Sharry, a sales coordinator for SteelMaster Buildings who has been with the company for 14 years.<br /> Perhaps it’s because she comes from a tight-knit Midwestern family with an<br />acumen that is a fusion of military values, hard work, clean living, and lots of love. With this Diane’s nurturing spirit rings through loud and clear. Raised on an Iowa dairy farm, 58-year-old Diane says that the values instilled in her and her four siblings since childhood have provided a compass by which she has always kept her on the straight and narrow. “My dad was a Marine during World War II, so he and my mother raised us with military discipline and ethics,” says Diane. “We each had a responsibility on the farm that we took very seriously, and we worked together to get the crops done or the hay in—kind of like how we work at SteelMaster.”<br /> <br />Coming from such a large family, Diane’s parents could only afford to send her older sister to college, so she joined the Navy to get an education and a taste of life outside of Iowa. “It was a great experience,” says Diane. “I <br />well, especially at SteelMaster. With a total belief in SteelMaster’s product, I have set my commitment for a consistent and tenacious drive to succeed. Honesty is the first and foremost policy when dealing with clients or fellow employees, and I hope I have succeeded in instilling that with my children like my father did with me. The<br />drive to excel can take you wherever you want to go.  Our military is fighting for our freedom of choice, so there are no limits for what we can do and where we can go.”<br />
  12. 12. Part 10: Robert D’Agostino, project specialist<br />Robert “Dag” D’Agostino doesn’t test the waters; he doesn’t wade in or even get his feet wet first. At 51 years old, Dag gets a running start, bends his knees with tensile grace, and jumps in with the same exuberance as he did more than 30 years ago when he joined the Navy. Most of<br />submarine, and aviation warfare.  D’Agostino completed the requirements for the three non-required pins during trips to the Persian Gulf in 1989 and 1991 and a trip to Italy in 1990. “I have a lot of energy and a need to learn and be challenged.  The military is a great place to be able to thrive when you have that type of personality,” says Dag (on right in photo below).<br />While he admits it was crushing for him when it came time to retire from the Navy, he found a new challenge when he met Rhae Adams (on left in photo above), a principle owner of SteelMaster Buildings. “When I met Rhae I absolutely knew that this is the company I wanted to be with,” says Dag. “I knew that a man with his integrity would only hire the finest people and put out the best product on the market—and I don’t settle for anything but the best.”<br />the time he has no idea how deep the water is—he just likes the feeling of soaring.<br />In 1977, Dag’s goal when he joined the Navy fresh out of high school was to be an aircraft mechanic, but the tide turned during<br />a routine swim test he performed while in boot camp. “As I got into the pool, I noticed a poster on the wall about the Navy SEALs, and that was the first I heard about them,” remembers Dag. “I thought that it sounded cool, so I went for it.”<br />Twenty years later he jumped from a C-130 Hercules and soared 10,000 feet before landing at Fort Story in Virginia Beach, VA and into his own retirement ceremony from two decades of service with the Navy’s elite SEAL commando unit.  “As far as I know, at that time no one had retired with a parachute strapped onto his back, and I don’t think anyone has since,” says Dag, who has worked as a project specialist with SteelMaster Buildings since October 1997. “It’s a complete thrill to make history.”<br />SEALs are required to qualify for the special warfare “trident”, but Dag earned himself another place in the history books by being the only person in the Navy to qualify for three more warfare specialties: surface, <br />
  13. 13. Part 10: Pat Patterson, Former CEO<br />SteelMaster brings its “Stories of Service” series to a close by highlighting a person whose vision, motivation, and tenacity live at the very heart of the company—Donald “Pat” Patterson Jr.<br />In late 2004 when Pat came out of retirement as executive vice president of Landmark Broadcasting, he joined forces with founding owner Rhae Adams to become President and Chief Executive Officer of SteelMaster. Pat saw a need in the steel building industry for a company that was fully committed to his core values of integrity, ethics, and responsibility to customers—traits that served him well during his service with the US Navy from 1967-1971 during the Vietnam War.<br />Pat’s tour of service began after he graduated from Washington & Lee University in 1967 and was admitted to Officers Candidate School and commissioned as an Ensign in March of 1968. His first tour of duty in Vietnam lasted nine months during which time he worked as a Supply Officer aboard the USS Dynamic, an ocean-going minesweeper. Pat rose to the rank of LTJG and volunteered for a second tour in Vietnam as an Officer in charge of a &quot;Swift Boat&quot; PCF (Patrol Craft Fast). His responsibilities included conducting combat patrols in the rivers, canals, and coastal areas of South Vietnam under operational control of CTF 115 and CTF 116. These patrols took Pat and his crew to the inland canals of the Mekong River Delta as part of the US Naval Support Activity Detachment Cat Lo (Coastal Division 11). During this nine month tour, Pat was awarded two Bronze Star Medals—one for combat action and the other for meritorious service. He <br />also earned a National Defense Service Medal, three Vietnam Service Medals, a Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, and a Rifle Sharpshooter Ribbon. He was honorably discharged in December 1970 and served in the reserves until July 1973.<br />During his two tours of duty and throughout his life, Pat exhibited leadership, sacrifice, duty, honor, and commitment to his country. He set his mind out to do the very best job he could both for himself and for those around him.<br />
  14. 14. For SteelMaster Buildings, being the best means hiring people like Pat and others profiled in our “Stories of Service” series and delivering a product each of us believes in 100 percent. We are dedicated, driven, and above all, we are thankful. We are honored to work for a company where each of our lives has been influenced by people who have sacrificed for this country and for the greater good. As the landscape of living and working in America continues to grow and change each day, we stay firmly committed to the ideals that the people of the United States hold dear—honesty, integrity, determination, discipline, fairness, and hard work. We do so as a team, and a team is only as good as its players. Our shared goal is to continue to work together in providing only the best products and services available on the market to our customers. We wish everyone a safe and happy 2010.<br />For more information, please visit<br />or clickhere.<br />