Pattern of triangle shapes

November 2, 2020

Employee Spotlight: Steve Datema

Title: Project Manager, Director of Innovation

Favorite quote:

“Innovators are the ones whose dreams are clearer than the reality that tells them they’re crazy.” – Simon Sinek

Describe what you do in a day:

My day-to-day routine consists primarily based on communication. Whether it be emails, contract documents, submittals, meetings, or phone calls the project manager’s primary objective is to ensure clear communication both internally & externally. Clear communication cuts down on lost time, helps reduce the need for changes, and sets the tone for every aspect of construction management.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is my Professional Engineering license. It was a goal of mine when I first started in college fresh out of high school and I was finally able to make it happen in 2017.

Why Triangle?

Triangle’s commitment to doing things the right way is something that has served as an inspiration to me for a long time. Our commitment to our clients and the quality of our products are what I feel differentiates us in the market.

How has your career grown since starting at Triangle?

My first paycheck from Triangle was for cleaning offices. From there I joined the team as a construction support laborer, served as an intern, project engineer, assistant superintendent, and now as a project manager.

Favorite project you’ve worked on?

My favorite project was the Fox Ford Lincoln of Chicago. It was Triangle’s first project in a large market like Chicago and my skillset was tested to the limits. We had a great project team that collaborated fantastically throughout construction – finishing three months ahead of schedule, we performed a BIM level 300 coordination, and were able to achieve LEED Certification. In the end, the building turned out great and we helped provide a quality place for many people to work for years to come.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy walking my dog with my wife, Teresa, I try to golf and boat as often as possible – weather permitting, and in the winter, we like to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Colorado for some Rocky Mountain skiing.

How did you end up in construction?

I guess you could say I was born into it. As the fifth-generation of the Datema family working in the Grand Rapids construction market, I feel blessed and privileged to carry on a great family tradition.

What’s the last book you read?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

What motivates you?

I am motivated mostly by a sense of purpose and integrity. My grandfather has served as a great inspiration to me. His lessons of integrity and a passion for doing things the right way have had a lasting impact on me and what it means to carry on my family’s legacy.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m taking care of a couple of our great K-12 clients, working with Dwelling Place and some private equity partners to transform a historic church in Heritage Hill into affordable housing apartments, and leading the operation side of an internal system reboot that will help align our office systems with today’s technologies. I also spend some of my time overseeing our self-perform carpentry and general trades business – giving support from Triangle to our talented team at IntegraCore.


My friends call me Data because of my last name. It has become ironic given my interest in construction technology today.

Hidden talents?

I consider myself a pretty good skier but I’m a horrible fisherman.