Thirty years of leadership: The Paul Dannels legacy
Castle Pines Metropolitan District Manager Paul Dannels with CPMD Board Chair Jackie Sundquist at The Country Club at Castle Pines to celebrate Dannels’ thirty years of service with the district.
Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner
The Castle Pines Metropolitan District provides water, sewer service and road maintenance to Castle Pines Village residents. Despite its captive audience, district operations and customer outreach services are uncommonly excellent. For government, this is no mean feat. Naturally, good people make all the difference, but credit accrues to leadership that motivates – inspiring others to serve, strive, and do great things. For this and much more, District Manager Paul Dannels was honored at the Castle Pines Country Club on June 26.
Paul hails from a family that valued hard work and service above all else. This he learned early and well from his dad, a Berkeley, California pipe contractor. At age five, Paul was already snuffing and loading smudge pots on his dad’s truck before walking to kindergarten. Mr. Dannels also had a comfortable, disarming manner with people, not lost on young Paul. His Mom, a second generation Portuguese homemaker, was a model of selflessness, putting others’ interests well ahead of her own.
Paul attended Diablo and then Ames Junior College studying technical engineering. Still restless and soul-searching, he bolted for Colorado, becoming first a fireman and later, an EMT with the Poudre Valley River Authority. For years, he thrived on excitement and risk, but his young bride Bonnie was not at all pleased. After an oxygen tank saved him from dropping through a collapsing ceiling, he paid Bonnie new heed.
Then also a part-time worker at the Soldier Canyon Water Plant in Ft. Collins, Paul switched from fire to water overnight, working himself into the position of water plant operator with his own small staff. It was life’s epiphany moment for Paul as he became instantly enamored of the challenges and opportunities in management. From then on, he read every book available on the subject to sharpen his skills.
By 1982, Castle Pines Village 75 miles south was building wastewater and water treatment plants for a rapidly growing community. The senior design engineer knew Paul from Soldier Canyon and recommended him for the newly created district manager’s position. The rest, as they say, is history.
Over 30 years, Paul Dannels personally crafted a talented team of professionals in a high-growth environment. His insightful negotiating skills helped the district narrowly avoid bankruptcy in the late 80s, as home lot sales failed to support debt payments. Those who work with him today might argue that his team-building qualities tower above all other achievements. What is undisputed is his brand of service; he will make things right, whatever it takes!
Wife Bonnie Dannels at the podium reading her very inspirational “letter to Paul.”