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On the Grind

You will never see Danny Takahashi without a cup of Starbucks coffee- a venti quad soy latte, extra hot, no room and no foam- to be exact. Like many of us during the bustle of busy work weeks, Danny makes sure his morning routine includes a quick stop at this top coffee provider. His drink order epitomizes his character and work ethic: the extra hot, no room, no foam flawlessly describes his intensity and passion for getting the job done, with no extras and no space for wasting time. He is anything but your average cup of joe. Like relishing in the warmth and flavor of each sip, Danny ensures maximum fulfillment in everything he does for the South Coast Water District.

On Thanksgiving Eve of 2019, coffee wasn’t the only thing brewing. A threatening sewage spill had erupted in Laguna Beach, requiring immediate attention and instant action. Beginning at a force water main, the sewage spilled near Aliso Creek, causing immediate concern. Having worked on many significant sewage spills in the past, Danny responded to the scene immediately. He enlisted help from the SCWD crew and got to work. Laguna Beach Director of Water Quality, Dave Shissler, expressed his gratitude upon recognizing Danny at the scene, well aware of Danny’s previous experience and solution-oriented wisdom.

Through frigid temperatures and record-breaking rain, the crews worked four full days, including Thanksgiving. Danny and the team managed to divert the flow and prevent thousands of gallons of sewage from entering the ocean.

Since he was just 16 years old, Danny has been working in pipeline construction. Through his many years of experience, Danny has crafted an incredible skillset. Before coming to South Coast Water District, he worked with an emergency contractor for pipeline catastrophes, where he developed a passion for quick responses and pipeline repair. He elaborated on his problem-solving mindset, “I like to get things done. Nothing less than getting the job done correctly and as soon as possible, it’s for the greater good. You work hard, you sweat hard, and you feel good when you accomplish something great. I guess I’m wired that way.” Danny says that every time he receives a call, he readies himself for prompt action. Whether it’s discussing potential problems, mobilizing a crew or developing a plan, Danny is ready to answer.

His SCWD family is thankful for his willingness to assist in any situation. Principal Engineer Taryn Kjolsing spoke of her appreciation for Danny’s “knowledge and competence in the field. [It] makes our job as engineers much easier. We all have a lot of confidence that when Danny is on-site, what is constructed is going to be of the utmost quality.” When unavoidable circumstances arise, Danny is undoubtedly already at the scene with his quad soy latte, caffeinated and ready to put all of his force into finding solutions.

Danny also savors the energy of his workplace. He mentions that even through physical distancing due to COVID-19, our staff still feels close and connected. Being a smaller district allows for more personal connections with each and every person employed by South Coast Water District, something Danny loves being a part of. Working for this organization “feels like family. You know everyone, and you get along with them,” he shares.

When he’s not on the job or in line for coffee, Danny can be found spending time with his wife, 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. He loves all things, motorcycles, traveling and every kind of fishing.

Danny is this quarter’s Golden Pineapple Award recipient (employee of the quarter). We appreciate every effort Danny makes for our team, our customers and the environment. We are incredibly grateful for his service to the District. Danny, thanks a “latte” for everything you do!

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