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

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 12:30 p.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

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Community Christmas Eve Dinner cancelled

The 20th anniversary of the Community Christmas Eve dinner is cancelled amidst COVID-19 concerns

The consensus around the Sylvan Lake council chamber Wednesday was the town does not have the ability to properly enforce a proposed mandatory indoor mask bylaw. File Photo
Sylvan Lake town council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

Sylvan Lake RCMP are looking for the identity of the suspect who stole from over 40 resident mail boxes. (Photo Courtesy of Sylvan Lake RCMP)
Over 40 mailboxes broken into at Sylvan Lake apartment building

Sylvan Lake RCMP are investigating the incident and searching for the identity of the suspect

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season’s top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary’s hub-city concept from Alberta Health

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read