Known as a hard-working, trusting, and humble employee owner, Dave Anderson has retired from ISG after 35 years with the firm. Dave started his career in Mankato in 1980 for a small firm called Associated Engineers, which soon partnered with ISG. In his time at ISG, Dave provided his extensive expertise in roadway and infrastructure projects for a wide range of partners across the Midwest. To celebrate his career at ISG, we’ve put together some of his parting thoughts and insights from David Doxtad, Tom Grafft, and Brooke Sievers, all of whom Dave worked closely with out of ISG’s Storm Lake office.
Change at ISG
Dave: I’ve seen ISG grow quite a bit over the years, as the firm went from small and slow to big and busy. Bringing in new specialties and employees through mergers and acquisitions, transitioning to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP)—all of these things have made ISG what it is today.
The industry itself has also undergone a lot of changes since I began my career. When I started in this field, all projects were hand drafted. With the growth in technology over the last few decades, we have computers that assist with creating the drafts. It’s been exciting to see ISG adopt these new technologies.
Tom Grafft: I can think of one thing that has never changed over the years. Any complicated, massive project I go to Dave with, he takes his glasses off, sets (tosses) them on the keyboard, and agrees to get it done, no matter how big of a commitment the project is. That kind of attitude serves as an example to others.
Influencing Employee Owners
David Doxtad: Dave is awesome to work with because he gives out clear, direct messages to his peers. He is always motivated, positive, and does whatever it takes to get the job done. He was trusted by project managers to take on some of the more difficult projects, and he would stay involved in the project throughout the process. He put up with some young punks (myself included), which couldn’t have been easy, but his steadfast belief in those whom he worked with is what sets Dave apart.
Ultimately, we see people come and go within the company, and then we have those who stay. Dave has trained so many unbelievably talented individuals in our organization, whether they are former or current employees. Dave is a natural mentor and is leaving a massive trail of impacted, trained, and motivated designers, engineers, surveyors, and construction administrators.
Brooke Sievers: Ever since I joined ISG as an intern, Dave has been an influence to me every step of the way. He is a huge asset to our firm; any question I ever had he would know the answer to. Everything I learned how to do was from Dave, and he made me a better engineer. I am grateful for his mentorship in the time we have worked together.
Tom Grafft: Dave is a mentor to me and many others because he has the ability to walk colleagues through his thinking process clearly. He also taught me that the initials and titles behind names don’t matter; people are not limited by their degree.
Getting the Job Done
Dave: You tend to remember the difficult projects, as well as the big ones. The Rockwell City Resource Restoration project was memorable because it was one of the more difficult ones. It was challenging making everything work because it seemed everything was going against us. The land was flat, the sidewalks were too small, and it was hard to get the water running. I also remember Empire Place, one of Sioux Falls’ biggest developers, partnered with ISG and other firms to redevelop a premier retail site in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We were given a unique space to work with where we pushed our design boundaries.
Brooke Sievers: The Rockwell City Resource Restoration project was one of the most memorable projects I’ve worked on with Dave because of the level of difficulty of problems that would arise. We constantly worked late and pushed through the obstacles because that’s the kind of leader that Dave is and taught me to be.
David Doxtad: I’ll always remember the problematic projects that required long hours. When Dave had an issue in design, he would call me over and we would look at it in every different angle—sometimes, we’d struggle to come up with something right off the bat. So we would start talking about other topics—discussing fishing, family, friends, etc.—and by some sort of magic, the answer would jump out at us. It takes hard work and optimism to finish any project. Once they were completed, we enjoyed stepping back and feeling proud.
Dave: It’s important to remember that family comes first. You should always do great things, whether that be with your family at home, or with your family at ISG.
Fun Facts about Dave
- Avid Fisherman
- Plays 13 instruments and has a studio in his home
- Huge Hawkeyes fan