Fort La Play Porte volunteers

Larson-Danielson supports La Porte Parks, Fort La Play Porte

On Friday, September 1st, Larson-Danielson Construction volunteers arrived at Kesling Park to put their skills to work for the La Porte Parks and Recreation Department at Fort La Play Porte. Twelve volunteers each donated three hours of their time to the maintenance of one of La Porte’s premier parks.

The volunteers were tasked with upkeep of the children’s playground, including spreading new mulch and staining the perimeter fence. The project brought back memories of the 2019 Fort La Play Porte rebuild project for some, including Larson-Danielson president, Brian Larson.

Larson participated in the 2019 rebuild project, along with other Larson-Danielson employees. The company also donated the tools for the project.

Four years later, Fort La Play Porte needed maintenance to keep it in tip top shape for the community. At the same time, Larson-Danielson was looking for a service project to complete. The timing worked out just right for the La Porte Parks Department and Larson-Danielson.

Fort La Play Porte Service Project

A History of Service

Larson-Danielson organizes multiple opportunities each year for employees to participate in company-sponsored service projects. These opportunities help the company’s efforts to be a great place to work and continue its tradition of community involvement.

Throughout the company’s history, Larson-Danielson employees have viewed their work as a community affair. Many facilities built by the company continue to serve the needs of the people in the community.

We also support the communities where we live and work by being active members of local organizations, providing monetary donations, and by volunteering. Larson-Danielson employees have been on hospital boards, bank boards, YMCA boards, Red Cross boards, and other community organizations boards.


Women in Construction Week 2023

LD’s Women in Construction Offer Industry Insights

International Women's Day 2023It’s International Women’s Day! It also happens to be the National Association of Women in Construction’s WIC (Women in Construction) Week, which was created to support women in the construction industry.

LD has several women in construction and we’re taking this opportunity to highlight these extraordinary employees. We’re also offering women and girls who may be considering a career in construction some industry insights from our experts.

Careers in construction, and careers at LD, span from leaders to laborers, and everything in between. Our women in construction work in a variety of departments and roles. Some of which include architecture and design, accounting, engineering, estimating, project management, marketing, accounting, and in the field.

We asked six of our women in construction to share their experiences and advice on construction careers. The LD employees include:

  • Michele Dzielinksi, an estimating assistant with 21 years of construction industry experience
  • Sara Hanske, Local 41 Laborer and 11-year construction industry veteran
  • Jennifer Medley, a project assistant with 27 years of construction experience
  • Gina Merkel, a project engineer with 16 years of experience in construction
  • Cassie Phelan, a project engineer and 22-year construction veteran
  • Amanda Watson, marketing manager with 17 years of construction industry experience

LD women in constructionHow would you describe your role?

“Working in the Estimating Department, being basically the first step in obtaining projects is fulfilling. The fact that Estimating, as a team; is able to ‘create’ work for the company and all its employees is very gratifying.” – Michelle Dzielinksi

“I am a project engineer and I assist the project manager with the job. I consider it a position that will help me learn the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of becoming a project manager. I assist with scheduling, submittals and shop drawings, estimating, and coordination between the field superintendent and the in-office project manager.” – Cassie Phelan

“I am the marketing manager for LD and it’s my job to promote the company and its people and to highlight all the amazing things that we’re doing. It’s a very exciting role because I feel like I’m a part of everything, and there is  a lot going on!” – Amanda Watson

What is your favorite thing about the construction industry?

“Knowing that I am part of a team that is instrumental in the construction of a new or existing building. I definitely feel a measure of pride when I am out in the community and see a building that LD worked on.” – Michele Dzielinksi

“The excitement of seeing a project go from a hole in the ground to a completed project.” – Gina Merkel

“My favorite thing about the construction industry is that the end result is a tangible product. It starts as an idea for an architect and gets drawn and put on paper. From there, people build something you can see and touch and be proud to say, ‘we built that.’ There are also so many different types of construction projects. You could build a parking lot, a football stadium or a three-story hospital. You’ll never be bored in construction, that’s for sure.” – Cassie Phelan

What challenges have you faced as a woman in construction?

“Like other careers, the biggest challenge is balancing family and the job, and the work required to do your best at both.” – Gina Merkel

“I wouldn’t say I’ve faced many challenges, other than being respected for knowing my job. This is definitely a ‘man’s’ career but has changed dramatically since I first started in the industry in 1996.” – Jennifer Medley

“I’d say my biggest challenge as a laborer is having to prove myself, to prove that I can handle the role. You come across some men that believe women shouldn’t be out in the field and they can be rude. So, in those situations it’s tough mentally.” – Sara Hanske

What’s the most difficult part about a career in construction?

“Being ready for the next challenge that comes your way.” – Gina Merkel

“As a laborer, not knowing if you’ll be working sometimes is the most difficult part of my career. You never know if you’ll be laid off for a week or three months, and you need adjust your lifestyle accordingly. I also think it’s tough going to different jobs and working with new people. I find that tough only because I, myself get nervous that again I have to prove that I can work hard and get the job done to new people.” – Sara Hanske

“Marketing for construction can definitely be difficult at times. There is so much going on day-to-day, it’s hard to keep up with the pace. Trying to keep up with all the projects and their details and making sure I’m promoting as much as possible is a challenge, but it’s never boring.” – Amanda Watson

What is your advice to girls/women interested in pursuing a career in construction?

“If you are looking for a daily changing career then construction is definitely worth it! You’re always learning new technology and helping people understand how projects are built from the ground up. There’s never a dull moment.” – Jennifer Medley

“Do what you love and with hard work the rest will fall into place. Also, it’s good to have a mentor to ask questions, etc.” – Gina Merkel

“Go for it. The construction industry is not what it used to be and certainly not only for men. The percentage of women both in the trades and in the management side is going up. There is potential for large growth in the construction industry as a whole, and women have a lot of opportunities. With more STEM education in grade school and middle schools we’re attracting more women into engineering every day. The trades also realize they need more people and are recruiting more women than ever to work in the construction field.” – Cassie Phelan


Fifth generation of Larson-Danielson leaders takes the helm

2023 marks a major milestone for Larson-Danielson Construction Company. The firm is celebrating 115 years in business and is now under its fifth generation of leadership.

Known as G5, or Generation Five, the company’s leaders include Brian Larson, President; Nick Larson, VP-Business Development; Dave Merkel, VP-Office Operations; Pat Lockwood, VP-Field Operations; and Jeff Jensen, VP-Administration.

Generation Four

Generation Four circa 1998

Generation Four celebrates L-D’s 100-year anniversary in 1998

The transition began several years ago with Generation Four, including Tim Larson, Terry Larson, Mark Danielson, and Tom Walter, mentoring the G5 partners.

“The process involved handing off responsibilities in steps to get people trained in what they’re doing and then taking over,” Tom Walter, Generation Four member, said. “The thoughtful transition also helps other people in the company become more comfortable with new leaders.”

With four previous leadership transitions under its belt, Larson-Danielson is no stranger to the pitfalls and perils of organizational changes. The firm’s experience and the expertise of its employees and leaders came into play during the latest ownership shift.

Generation Five

G5 leaders

Generation Five

“We’ve been working on a long transition phase that continues through this year,” Generation Five member and President, Brian Larson said. “We’re grateful to have our former executives still on board and monitoring our performance to ensure that we make a smooth transition. We’re an experienced company. We don’t do things rashly. We like to have a steady and stable environment for our workers and for our clients.”

Larson-Danielson is known as an industry leader with a strong culture based on excellence and quality, and a reputation for treating its clients and employees well. Since the first generation of Charles Larson, Emil Danielson and Frank Larson founded the company in 1908, the focus has remained consistent.

“When people want a really well-built building, they come to us,” Generation Four member, Tim Larson said. “The culture of the company, the way we treat our employees, the way our employees work, their belief in the company and their dedication has always been the same.”

The company is driven by its established Core Values which include Safety, Relationships, Responsiveness, Reliability, Quality, Leadership and Value. The firm is among the top general contractors in the State of Indiana, with annual volumes reaching over $90 million and over 200 employees.

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