Editorial: 04.21.2021

Large, Complicated Jobs Motivate Dave Moran

dave moran

Dave Moran began his construction training at the same age most kids are learning to read.

“As young as 6 or 7, I started working with my uncle, a residential general contractor who self-performed all of his carpentry work,” he says.

When it came time to choosing a vocation, Moran’s mom encouraged him to pursue a college degree, so he enrolled in the construction management program at Missouri State University in Springfield.

During college, Moran worked part-time for a local heavy civil contractor. That experience turned into a full-time estimator and project manager position after graduation.

“We did a lot of work rebuilding the high school, hospital and other big site development projects after the Joplin tornadoes came through,” he says. “We also did road work, interchange replacements, bridge rebuilding and streetscape projects.”

About five years into his tenure, Moran moved back to St. Louis and began working as a project manager at Commercial Installation & Construction, an interior tenant finish company. “I wanted to see how other aspects of the business worked,” he says. “It wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but it was a good learning experience, and I met a lot of good people there.”

Next, he signed on with ACME Constructors, a self-perform industrial contractor, as estimator and project manager. 

When he heard about a project manager opening at Castle, he reached out to Ethan Gwinn, a former coworker from Springfield who worked at Castle. “I talked to Ethan quite a bit about the company and went by the office a couple of times, and it just felt like home,” he says.

Moran joined Castle in 2015 and began working on The Shoppes of Mid Rivers, a retail development in St. Peters. “It was probably the biggest job we had at the time, and we self-performed most of the site development work,” he says.

He also oversaw a series of grading projects, storm sewer rehabilitation jobs and smaller site developments.

In 2018, he pitched in to help with the expansion of the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility in Leawood, Kansas. “They needed a manager to get the job set up, so they asked me if I could help out, and I started to take a liking to it and decided I wanted to stay on the project full time,” he says.

For nearly two years, Moran commuted back and forth to Kansas City weekly to manage sitework on the project. “We installed about 50 miles of pipe on roughly 40 acres, which takes an intense amount of planning,” he says. “It was the biggest piping job that I ever worked on.”

Moran is currently working on another large-scale project: the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) campus in north St. Louis city. “I like complex projects and all the challenges and moving parts that come with them,” he says.

In a few months, he’ll start managing sitework on another wastewater treatment expansion project in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “It's about half the size of Tomahawk, but the plant will remain active while we're working on it, which adds another layer of complexity,” he says.

And speaking of complexity, Moran and his wife are currently raising four kids under age 7, including a set of 1-year-old identical twin boys. Moran’s wife nicknamed the twins Maverick and Iceman because their individual personalities reminded her of the characters from the Top Gun movie. “One is fearless and kind of crazy, and the other one’s reserved and cautious,” he says.

While it’s too soon to know whether any of the kids will follow in their dad’s career footsteps, they have plenty of opportunities to witness construction projects at home. “We’re always remodeling or upgrading something,” Moran says. “It’s a good bonding experience.”

Sometimes, the kids even get to accompany Dad to the office. “There’s a great family culture at Castle, and we all look out for each other. It still feels like home to me.”


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