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David Pettigrew: A Passionate Man With a Loyal FollowingApril 2004 Industry Leader:
For David Pettigrew, owner of Diamond D Company located in Watsonville, Calif., finding the right team of people has made all the difference for his business – even earning his company several Bomanite awards. But if you ask Pettigrew, it's not about the awards. "I strive to do something unique with concrete – I like to take house plans and lay them out so that each room fits its owner," he explains of his approach to projects.
That approach, coupled with a team of dedicated employees, earned Diamond D Company gold at the 2002 Bomanite International Conference. That award, for the Best Patène Artectura Project/Flatwork, was the fifth award in three consecutive years for owner Dave Pettigrew and his crew.
Pettigrew's passion for concrete has been around for a long time. "When I saw staining being done 15 years ago, it instantly struck a chord with me," he says. And after years of working with different products and doing a lot of research, Pettigrew has found his niche in color. "I can go to any color I want and can match it to a pantone color chart," he says. "I love working with color and bending people's perception of what concrete is."
He also has a unique approach to working with his clients. "I always try to touch on the personal note of an individual," Pettigrew explains. "But I don't try to change or sell somebody away from what they want." Pettigrew struck just the right balance for client Melinda Rolfe, who says, "They have been able to turn my vague words into something beautiful, finding just the right mix of color and design to match my expectations."
It's a good thing Pettigrew saw potential in concrete. After all, as he says, "When stamp work first started, there were limited options – exposed aggregate and rock salt finishes, but that's about it." Since then, he has built his company into a full-service operation, offering decorative concrete, concrete countertops, concrete engraving, demolition, pool decking, staining concrete, concrete driveways, colored concrete, cleaning concrete and concrete pavers.
Pettigrew grew up drawing artistic designs and interesting geometric shapes, which he would then color and use to cover his textbooks. His artistic side still gets to come out in his work, especially in what he says is one of his favorite projects of all time -- the La Honda house.
The owners gave Pettigrew free reign, and what they got in return are beautiful concrete floors, two horizontal countertops in the kitchen and master bedroom and surrounding walls in the shower. "Everyone who comes into the house can't believe it's concrete." Pettigrew says. And that's exactly what drives him – the ability to manipulate concrete into anything imaginable (or unimaginable).
At the La Honda house, he and his crew of five men spent three days scoring designs into over 6,000 square feet of concrete floors. The scoring was followed by a six-week process to color the floor utilizing micro topping, acid-etch stain, Con Color, and Plate-All (molten metal on concrete). The result is a kitchen graced with mahogany-colored concrete countertops and a floor in rich hues of amber, gold, and sage arranged in interesting, interlocking shapes.
The dining room features a redwood-colored, picnic-style table sitting atop an amber-colored floor, accented with dark-colored diamonds. And in the living room are patches of a sea-colored blue-green and varied shapes of earth tones. A game room floor comes to life as large circles of blue-green intersperse with a rich, dark red and a burst of yellow flashing across the room. All of which makes it clear to the eye that Pettigrew has mastered the art of color on concrete.
Pettigrew says he loves to customize projects based on his clients and once designed a lizard based on a t-shirt with a picture of a gecko. First, he made a template, then stained and grouted a stained-glass-style lizard on the floor for one of his clients. One client even brought his wife's purse in to show Pettigrew the exact color they wanted for the floors of their home in Sunnyvale. The color was a unique shade of purple." When I was done, you could throw the purse on the floor and lose it," Pettigrew laughs.
For a man who says his favorite projects involve using color and stained-glass-style effects, it's no surprise Pettigrew says he thinks that concrete is a magical material and admits he is inspired by the opportunity to create something unique and different. He also says he often turns to the Internet for inspiration, adding, "The Internet is a great source for ideas – it's like having stack of encyclopedias at your fingertips."
Like all business owners, the economy and labor force have taken a toll on his business. But Pettigrew has dug deep within himself, relying on his passion for his work to carry him and his business through. Though Pettigrew says it's sometimes a challenge to train people and keep them around, he's found a way around it. "It's hard to find the right people – those that are detail oriented and have the same passion for the work that I do," he says.
Luckily, his passion has had a trickle-down effect in him company, and his employees are loyal and devoted to creating great work. His secret is simple. "If you want your people to buy in, you have to include them," Pettigrew explains. "I involve my people. I even took my whole crew to a Bomanite technical workshop once."
Clearly, when Pettigrew is creating artistic concrete and working with his crew, he's in his element. And it shows, from the way he constantly surprises and delights his clients, to the loyalty and devotion of his crew, to the beautiful work his company produces. The awards his company earns are just the icing on the multi-layered cake.