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Stafford Staff Spotlight: Don Snyder

Everyone takes a unique path to their final career: Some are lucky to land a job that helps them advance, some spend years finding the right fit, and some know exactly what they want to do early on. The latter is the case for Don Snyder, Stafford Builders’ project manager and skilled negotiator.

In a way, Don’s career began long before he obtained his degree in Building Construction from the University of Florida, which has the oldest continuing building construction program in the country. As he puts it, he comes from a “family of constructors.” Don’s grandfather was in the construction industry and his father went on to own a building supply company. Don himself started out as a cost engineer, working on large industrial construction projects before heading several construction companies in Georgia.  By the time Don joined Stafford in 2012, he had almost 40 years of construction industry experience.

On any given day, Don is managing a handful of projects at Stafford and works with superintendents to ensure that everything is moving from conception to completion with minimal interruptions. He estimates the projects, subcontracts the work and purchases the necessary building materials. Don enjoys the negotiations he has to handle at work, comparing the process to a chess game: “It’s fun to negotiate the best price and try to get the best possible deal for your company while ensuring it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

When asked what advice he would offer to someone who is thinking about going into construction, Don says both education and field experience are important and encourages hopefuls to get as much of both as they can. Construction is a tough business and field experience will prepare you for the inevitable challenges that will come up. “Books are one thing, but you’ve also got to get out to the school of hard knocks,” he adds.

These days, Don is particularly excited about and proud of the Hunt School Village project, which will feature a senior community center and 60 low-cost rental units for seniors. The project is scheduled to wrap up by January 2017.

When not handling negotiations or managing projects, Don relaxes by doing yardwork or practicing his favorite hobby, woodworking