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 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

A vehicle rolled over off of the Highway 3 off ramp into the Home Hardware parking lot Jan. 21, 2021. Photo: Betsy Kline
Driver sent to hospital after vehicle roll over in Castlegar

Accident happened Thursday around 4:30 p.m.

Interior Health has set up a COVID-19 testing site in Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
No new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Castlegar for Jan. 10-16

The latest localized BCDCD COVID-19 numbers

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Long-term care staff and physicians from the priority group received their first dose of Moderna vaccine on Friday, Jan. 15, including Dr. Corrine Knox. Photo: Submitted
Moderna vaccine arrives in Castlegar

Vaccine rollout began in West Kootenay with long term care residents and staff the first recipients

Changes are coming to the city’s animal control bylaw. Photo: Submitted
Castlegar tightening animal bylaws

The City of Castlegar is planning on giving its animal control bylaw… Continue reading

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read