Photo by Matt Douglas

Project Manager, Morelock-Ross

How did Cody Danastasio get started down the road that would lead to being a project manager at Morelock-Ross, a general contracting company? He answers it simply: “Legos.” Danastasio took his childhood love of hands-on construction and art from his hometown of Marshfield to college at Drury University, where he put both interests to use. “I’ve always had a cross between my artistic side and my practical side,” Danastasio says. So, it only made sense for him to start at the Hammons School of Architecture. Upon graduating,
Danastasio found himself in the middle of a cut-throat job market, so he pursued the related field of construction.

Soon, he got hired on as a project manager at Morelock-Ross. As project manager, Danastasio is in charge of staying on the details and scheduling concerns for several jobs at one time. “The phone only rings when there is an issue with something or a solution is needed,” he says. “Any time things are rolling good on a job, I don’t get too many phone calls.”

These days, managing the varied needs of construction jobs is not the only demanding work Danastasio does. In addition, he sits on the boards of the Ozarks Counseling Center, the Ozark Greenways, and the Darr Family Foundation, and he and his wife, Erin, have 1-year-old twin girls, Olyvia and Gabriella. —J.H.

417 Magazine: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
Cody Danastasio: I am excited for the completion of the new Field House Sports and Events Center (located near James River Freeway and Kansas Expressway in Springfield)—it will be a great place for the community. I’ve managed this project for about a year, and it was a challenging one for my career because it was an integration of two building types into one structure.

417 : How did you end up at your current job/profession?
C.D.: After graduating from Drury’s Hammons School of Architecture in May of 2009, the job market was dismal at best. I had no luck finding a job with an architecture firm, and construction management had always been an idea I entertained. Fortunately, shortly after graduation, I was given the opportunity to further explore this idea as I was offered a position in the construction management field. I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
C.D.: The details and field applications of construction are where I find my passion. It is an entirely new side of building that I never saw from an architectural background. In short, it is the practical approach of taking the nuts and bolts and putting the final project together that keeps me passionate about what I do. Having always been fascinated with Legos, it just seemed natural. Field experience is invaluable to a young professional, and I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to work in the field on a daily basis.

417: Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
C.D.: I have been married to my incredibly beautiful, passionate, wonderful wife, Erin Danastasio, for 3 years now. We were blessed with twin daughters in February of 2012, Olyvia and Gabriella.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
C.D.: I a m not short on the list of hobbies I enjoy, just the time I get to do them. I am a avid cyclist both road and mountain and if I am not on my bike you can catch me hip deep in some cold trout water fly fishing and if there is still daylight a family game of golf at Highland is a must.

417: Are you involved in any charitable organizations? (If so, what are they, and what is your role?)
C.D.: Darr Family Foundation, Grant Selection Committee Member; Ozarks Counseling Center, Board of Directors; Ozarks Greenway Trails, Technical Planning Committee

417: Are you a member of any professional organizations?
C.D.: Chamber of Commerce, Business After Hours Committee; Drury Alumni, Council Member; Rotaract, Member

417: How would you define the secret to success?
C.D.: Bob Dylan says it best—“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
C.D.: The opportunity to always continue to learn and interact with others in a collaborative effort to achieve a final product.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
C.D.: The small town feel with big city amenities. There is never a lack of activities to partake in, yet it is normal to bump into people you have known most of your life on a daily basis.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
C.D.: You are never going to be a college football player—take up cycling!

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
C.D.: A military general. In fact, my mom still has a dog I grew up with named General Patton. I didn’t give up this dream until I got married and realized who was really in charge!

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
C.D.: I recently read a book that said these 3 things about success and I couldn’t agree more: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them; Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first; The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
C.D.: I am very humbled by this nomination. I believe that I’m receiving this honor because I put others first and am serving people in the community to the best of my ability. I will continue to donate my time to this community to make an already great place a better place for my children.

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
C.D.: Any project I have had the privilege of influencing whether it be architecturally or from a construction stand point. The one that stands out to me the most is a office building in Lebanon, Missouri for Evergreen Investments.

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

417: _____ makes life worth living
C.D.: Family

417: A day at work wouldn’t be complete without _____
C.D.: Construction Documents.

417: Ten years from now, I hope _____
C.D.: I’m watching my daughters fly fish.

417: If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would _____
C.D.: still be at work the next day.

417: The best part about being a 20 under 30 is _____
C.D.: knowing someone found me deserving of recognition.

Celebrate with the Class of 2013 on Thursday, April 25 at Highland Springs Country Club.

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