April 3, 2023

Nailed It: A City Carpenter Shares about Building Cabinets and Relationships

Daniel Coston explains why he loves working for the City of Virginia Beach.
Carpenter Daniel Coston

It isn’t difficult for Daniel Coston to pinpoint what he enjoys most about his job as a carpenter. “This is my best job,” he said, “and it has to do with the people.”

Carpenter Daniel Coston on the Job

But throughout his career in construction, that hasn’t always been the case. Working in the commercial construction industry, Daniel recalls feeling constantly micromanaged. “They kept telling me, ‘I need it done this way,’” he said.

That all changed in 2016 when Daniel began working as a carpenter at the City. “As soon as I started, my supervisor told me, ‘There are many ways to get the job done.’ And that sold me,” he said. “Here, you have the freedom to get the job done your way.”

Carpenter Daniel Coston on the Job Outside

Since Daniel left construction, the City’s reliable paycheck, work-life balance and paid time off have won him over.

“It’s a guaranteed 40 hours. In construction, that’s virtually unheard of. When it rains, you miss money. When it snows, you miss money,” he said. “Here, I get a guaranteed 40 hours and three days off in a row every week.”

As a father of teenagers, Daniel appreciates the consistent schedule and reasonable pace of work. “It’s not an environment where you go home stressed,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer for me.” While most people think of a carpenter as someone who builds cabinets and works with wood, Daniel said being a carpenter for the City is broader than that. “If it’s not plumbing, not HVAC, not lighting and not electrical, then it’s carpentry.”

Carpenter Daniel Coston Sawing and Sparks Flying

The team of carpenters Daniel works with provides building maintenance on every property the City owns. “Any type of work order can come out of that,” he said. An average week might find him repairing fences, hanging artwork, fixing signs and inspecting work orders.

For Daniel, most of his job takes place in his assigned zone, which happens to be Virginia Beach’s resort area. “I get to spend a good majority of my time at the Oceanfront,” he said. “So that’s pretty exciting.”

In addition to the beachside location, Daniel likes the challenge of creating something new. “Everything about building and creating is what excites me. It’s kind of artistic,” he said. “That’s why I do this. Because I like to build.”

Carpenter Daniel Coston Holding a Sign

While woodworking is definitely a highlight, Daniel says the heart of his job is building relationships with customers.

“As soon as you cross our City limits, you’re our customer,” Daniel said. “We want to make sure you’re enjoying yourself and that everything is beautiful, well taken care of and safe.”

Daniel appreciates the sense of teamwork. “I like to call it a family vibe,” he said. “We all have a bond. It doesn’t matter which zone you’re assigned to. We work together.”

Since joining the City in 2016, Daniel has been promoted multiple times. His current title is Carpenter III. As a creative who loves to build and enjoys helping people, the job has been an all-around good fit.

“It comes from within,” Daniel said. “If you like helping people, then you could be really successful here.”

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