Dirt is in Dan Fernandez’s blood. Dan has worked in the field of site development for 36 years. For 28 of those years, he has owned his own company. Originally from the Boston area, Dan relocated to Florida in 2007, lured by good weather and better business opportunities. He initially worked with a company in the Orlando area but in 2008, he started another company with his son. McKenzie Contracting, LLC (named after his daughter) was formed in Tampa in 2013.
How has being a certified DBE and MBE helped your business?
Certification has definitely opened the doorto secure contracting opportunities with Austin Commercial and others. I know that if I did not have the certification required, I may not have been given the opportunity to perform. Certification definitely gets you in the door, then it’s up to you to perform!
What excites you about being a part of the ConRAC/APM project?
It’s exciting just to have the opportunity to work with such a large, well-managed company as Austin Commercial and the other project team members. I have learned so much from observing how these guys operate and looking at processes that I can apply to my own business to make it better. The ConRAC is a huge project. When we were awarded the job, I knew we could perform the work outin the field. I had key personnel in place, Lenny Morris and Henry Wood are my field guys. I felt that our challenge would be keeping up with Austin’s demanding schedule and the amount of paperwork involved with the project. I credit my in-house staff: Robert Kelley, Estimator/Project Manager; David Pruner, wears all the hats and newcomer Keith Drake, Estimator/Project Manager with making sure that we keep up with the schedule and are in compliance.
“you can be anything you want to be with sacrifice and hard work.”
Community Service by McKenzie Contracting, LLC
I am active in my church, Grace Family Church, Ybor Campus, and hope to begin mentoring young people there with an emphasis on “you can be anything you want to be with sacrifice and hard work.” I personally believe in second chances and through McKenzie Contracting I have been able to provide help to those who have been out of work for a long period of time and may have given up hope of finding a job. For example, I hired Tyrone Jones who was one of the participants in Austin Commercial, L.P. and the Tampa Bay Community Advocacy Committee’s (CAC) Job Readiness Workshop in July. Tyrone was a little challenged at first, but I explained to him that I go through challenges too, just on a different level. What we both have to do is strive to be productive and a better man than the one you’re working next to. In the future, I plan to start a scholarship fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the church my mother and aunt attended. The scholarship will be in memory of the four (4) women who guided my life: my mother; my Aunt Silvia; and, my two (2) best friends’ mothers who had the autonomy to keep me in line as a young man. These women always believed in me through all the peaks and valleys of my life.