Builder returns to alma mater: David Garner's #MySJStory

Garner Collage Over the next year, San Juan Unified will be highlighting a series of stories demonstrating collaboration, perseverance and success. We call the series #MySJStory and this month we are highlighting a member of the business community: Flint Builders Sr. Project Manager David Garner.


When 1996 Casa Roble Fundamental High School valedictorian scholar David Garner started his career in construction management, he knew he wanted to be a builder that made an impact in the Citrus Heights and Orangevale communities that he grew up in.


After 17 years as a professional that has taken him to different locations throughout the state, that desire to “come home” has become a reality for Garner, and the journey has landed him even closer to his heart than he previously imagined. Garner, a senior project manager for contractor Flint Builders, is leading construction on Casa Roble’s signature project – a brand new student union and administration building.


“I always knew that I wanted to move back here and raise my children in San Juan Unified,” Garner said, noting that he could have climbed the ladder in other areas for firms that build prisons or buildings for California universities (he was on the team that build the UC Davis Mondavi Center).


“To build a signature project that is going to transform my alma mater, that’s pretty special,” he added. “My connection to San Juan Unified runs deep. I have cousins that attended San Juan Unified schools, my grandmother worked in the finance department until the early 2000’s and I have an aunt and uncle (Susan Gambiner and Andy Otten) who were in the classroom.”


Garner’s connection to San Juan Unified did not go unnoticed by the district’s facilities construction team prior to Flint Builders and JKA Architects being awarded the Casa signature project. Director of Facilities Construction & Modernization Brett Mitchell said he got a big smile on his face while reviewing proposals.Casa signature project


Garner didn’t use a company photo on the “about us” page of the packet.  Instead, he used a yearbook photo from his senior year of high school at Casa Roble Fundamental High School.


“It was a nice touch. I couldn’t grant Flint and JKA more points for (the photo), but when their proposal ended up being the winning proposal, it was a truly great feeling for us as a district to know that we were entrusting this project to someone that is so invested … not only in San Juan Unified but in Casa Roble,” Mitchell said.


Before graduating from Casa Roble, Garner attended preschool in the early 1980s at Coyle Avenue Elementary and then kindergarten through sixth grade at the former LIttlejohn Elementary School (where he notes current Board of Education President Pam Costa was his principal). He went to middle school at Louis Pasteur.


Another highlight he recalls is spending summer in programs at Camp Winthers, which is why he recently encouraged Flint Builders to donate new tent cabins to the campsite. 


VIDEO: Fint Builders donates to Camp Winthers


“It really means alot for me to give back to Camp Winthers because it really enriched my life a lot,” he said.

Dave kindergarten class

To top it all off, Garner is becoming a Sacramento Builders Exchange mentor at San Juan High School for students enrolled in construction courses. He has also coached groups of construction students at Sacramento State for the last nine years.


“I love teaching, I love giving back to the community and to the students. I get reinvigorated a lot of times by that,” Garner said. “Construction can be very litigious and argumentative and can be a difficult process at times. I want to focus on the positive things in construction.”


Garner’s wife, Kim Garner attended Mariemont Elementary, Arden Middle School and Rio Americano High School. And the couple are planning for their young children to attend Del Dayo Elementary in the near future.


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