October 22, 2022

How to Recruit a Construction Workforce: An Interview with the Dan Puente, Founder of DP Electric

Todd Sanders from the Greater Phoenix Foundation interviewed Dan Puente, Founder and CEO of one of the largest electrical companies in the valley, DP Electric. In the interview, he shared with us his personal story that led him to his current role. In the interview, he shared his path to CEO, and how companies like BYF can help support a full career in construction.  As a bonus, they also talk about the future of construction and what that means for employers and workers.

Todd Sanders: You recently became Chair of Build Your Future. Obviously you have a lot going on. You’re running a significant company. You’ve already done a lot with Build Your Future. Why did you become Chair? Why was that important to you?

Dan Puente: I feel so blessed to have what I have today and all the opportunities that I’ve been given, and mentors in my life, and opportunity. And I want somebody else to be able to do the same thing I did.

The Importance of Construction Recruiting Companies like BYF

Todd Sanders: You talked about Build Your Future and the Greater Phoenix Chamber is so incredibly proud to work with the industry on that (workforce development) initiative. Talk to us a little bit about it and why it’s important.

Dan Puente: Oh, I think Build Your Future’s incredibly important… there’s so many people that go to college with really no direction, just because they think they’re supposed to go to college. And they go and they don’t know what they want to do in life. And so they end up with this debt.

Dan Puente: In our industry, we have apprenticeship programs. You go to school for four years, you come out with a journeyman card and you’re making $50k and it goes up. I mean, it’ll probably, in three months from now, it’ll be $60,000 a year. And I think that construction was framed as something that you did if you couldn’t go to college. But you can get into this industry and make really good money.

Todd Sanders: I see this story from a lot of people… they got into a trade and started to learn it and worked somewhere for about 10 years. And then they started their own business. And you started out with a Chevy S-10 and no air conditioning and now you’re employing hundreds of people in Arizona. So what an incredible impact this trade has had on you and your family.

Advice for Construction Companies

Todd Sanders: How can Build Your Future help my company bring people to the door to fill some of these empty jobs?

Dan Puente: I think that most companies are very willing to talk to anybody. But I think that’s where Build Your Future comes in. Our goal is to change the minds of people so that, when they’re looking for career opportunities, (construction is) one of the things they’re thinking of. And I think we’re working on becoming a little bit more mainstream and I think that’s where Build Your Future comes in, to create that exposure.

So, why are people like Dan Puente at DP Electric emphasizing the importance of workforce development and encouraging people to join construction through Build Your Future?

Joining a trade is more than just a job. You can build a lifelong, well-paying career that can develop your skills over time. And, it requires no experience to get started.

Watch the full podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz7k43REpqI

The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation‘s Construction Workforce Initiative, Build Your Future Arizona‘s mission is to create a sustainable and skilled craft workforce by creating awareness about high-paying construction careers, training opportunities and mapping career paths to employment in these high-demand occupations.