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Life & Work with Dennis Dizon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Dizon.

Hi Dennis, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Grew up in San Diego most of my life. I am a second generation immigrant family from the Phillipines and my dad served and retired from the US Navy. We were a military family so my early childhood, my father was stationed in several cities, including Tx, South Carolina, Tennessee, but settled in San Diego when I was 8. Grades and education we important growing up with 5 siblings at home. I was always very strong in math and science, so I knew engineering or something related would be my emphasis.

Attended SDSU and graduated with a Civil Engineering degree in early 90s. At the time, the economy was slow, design jobs were hard to find and the only industry hiring was construction. So, I joined a General Contractor  named Blake Construction, then went to Nielsen Dillingham Builders where we were hired to build Petco Park for the Padres. This project is where I met Jody Watkins who worked with our Joint venture partner Clark Construction. Our friendship developed with the dreams of working together, creating a positive working environment, building landmark-type projects, but having a little fun along the way.

In 2004, Jody started Watkins Landmark Construction, and after I made a few stops, I decided to join WLC in 2015 as the Chief Operations Officer of the company. We like to say our “Niche is We Don’t Have a Niche” meaning we build various project types include Hotels, Apartment complex, sports facilities, entertainment, restaurants, faith-based, etc. We maintain an office in Carlsbad and Indian Wells and perform work all over Southern California. In 2020, I was promoted to President, with the sole responsibility of running all company operations while Jody CEO/Founder, focused primarily in Business development and pursuing new clients. The result has been increased revenue, a record amount of backlog of projects, over 90% employee retention, increased profit margins, and a positive workplace culture.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
In 2018 and 2019, we entered a few projects with a few bad clients that required a lengthy and costly litigation process to resolve.

As most companies experienced, the global pandemic in 2020 affected the construction industry. Projects were put on hold, and lenders were not providing financial support. The result was supply chain issues, material and equipment cost escalation, manpower shortage of skilled labor, delays in manufacturing and fabrication of material. Thankfully, construction was classified as an essential business, and a few clients like the Hotel Del Coronado kept their projects going.

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I consider us a mid-size General Contractor that builds commercial projects all over Southern California. Our projects include sports facilities, hotels, multi-unit residential, mixed-use, faith-based, etc. What sets us apart from other GCs, is that our CEO Jody Watkins and myself as President, are actively involved in every project by supporting our team and clients closely from preconstruction to final turnover of the final product.

Our team of professional are seasoned veterans in the construction industry and more importantly, are problem solvers in the field. I’m most proud that we develop trust with all our clients that often lead to repeat business.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why.
As President of the company, my role is more than building Landmark projects. It’s important to build a safe and positive working environment for my employees. Our +90% employee retention means it’s a good company, our vision is clear and that our people stay. Employee development and personnel growth matters most to me.

Personally, as a Filipino American, very few Asian / Pacific Islanders reach an executive position, much less in the construction industry. I’m proud to represent my culture and will encourage others to follow in my footsteps.

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