Construction, cars, farming and blacksmithing: Dan Schuetze is a driving force

Villamar boss combines a strong work ethic with an inner calm to get things done

  • Sep. 3, 2019 11:30 a.m.

– Story by Tess van Straaten Photography by Lia Crowe

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Whether it’s waiting for the steel to heat up when he’s blacksmithing, waiting for the hay to dry on his Central Saanich farm or waiting for the right business opportunity, construction guru Dan Schuetze has learned to have patience.

“I can’t say I always have patience, but I’ve learned throughout my life that things always work out in the end,” the 43-year-old owner of Villamar says. “It can sometimes be short-sighted to think it has to happen now and we have to have the answer now. There are times you really have to work hard and you really have to make something happen. But there are other times you have to sit back and be at peace. You do just have to hurry up and wait sometimes.”

That inner calm, coupled with a strong work ethic, is definitely working for Dan. Since starting Villamar in 2006, he’s built a name for himself as one of the top high-end custom homebuilders in Greater Victoria in addition to running successful renovation, commercial construction, design and telecommunication technology arms of the business.

“I like the creativity of it and turning a concept into reality,” Dan says. “Every project has a bit of a different challenge. The whole idea of being able to think outside the box and having great people around you seems to be the best way to meet any challenge.”

Dan’s start in construction came early. His dad was a builder and he began working with him right out of high school. His parents were missionaries and the family moved to the Saanich Peninsula when Dan was 16 years old, after living in Northern Spain and Mexico during his childhood.

“We flew down to Mexico on a small plane and that’s where we lived for nine years,” he says. “I think the experience that I was able to grow up with was incredible — seeing how other people lived, different cultures and different countries.”

Dan says it taught him to be resourceful and helped cement a strong work ethic instilled in him by his parents.

“A lot of the people around us were so poor — they had nothing and we didn’t really have much either,” he explains. “You looked around and saw how resourceful people had to be and how hard they had to work to get ahead. That’s something we don’t really see or experience here as kids.”

It’s a different kind of childhood to what own his two daughters, aged 11 and 14, are growing up with on the pastoral Peninsula, enjoying the tranquility and freedom of their farm.

“It’s just such a peaceful place to live and it gives our kids a ton of freedom to run around,” he says. “I get to drive a tractor and bale hay in the summer. There’s something about being on a noisy tractor on a hot day, with no distractions, watching birds fly around.”

For Dan, who got into blacksmithing about a year ago, there’s also something about forging metal with his own hands and creating something out of nothing.

“It’s rewarding to make something you can actually use,” says Dan, who is planning to make a set of kitchen knives for his house. “I like the pace of it. You have to wait until the steel is hot enough, and then you have to act fast or you miss your window of opportunity. It’s like a lot of things in life — timing is everything.”

Dan’s other passion is cars — he’s owned hundreds over the years and he bought his first vehicle before he could even drive.

“The first car I bought was a 1978 Toyota Corolla — so definitely not a glamorous car by any means or a collectable or fun car — but it was the one I could afford at the time!” laughs Dan.

It was the first car he owned after he got his license, a 1972 BMW 2002, which really ignited his passion. He now has a small collection and says early Porsches are his favourite.

“There’s something so timeless about them,” he explains. “My favourite is my 1968 Porsche 912. I love the lines, the way they drive. There’s just something really authentic about them. An older car reminds you that you’re driving, where a new car kind of makes you forget you’re driving.”

As Dan continues to drive Villamar forward into bigger and better things, one piece of advice really sticks out.

“The biggest shift for me has been from thinking what can I get from someone to what can I give?” he explains. “If you do something that only gives you something back, it’s a one-sided relationship and it won’t work. Being able to add value to others is the key.”

ConstructionLifestyle

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pig destined for sanctuary goes missing from Cobble Hill farm

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Editorial: Mask wearing: innocuous advice has turned into polarizing war

Somehow, this innocuous recommendation has become a polarizing war for some.

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Filmmaker James Cameron’s Comox Valley winery up for sale

The director behind The Terminator and Titanic puts Beaufort Winery on the market after six years

Large missing python found ssssafe in Victoria after being on the lam for weeks

The snake was located more than six kilometres from where it went missing

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Most Read