It has been said many times: any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a dad. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked local business leaders to share lessons that they have learned from Dad and how they have applied them into their professional and personal lives.

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Nate Chaon, franchise business consultant and co-founder, sneakybird: I have been working with my father, Dan Chaon, for a LONG time. So, the question of what I have learned from him, which is a lot, continues to this day.  However, there are two “DAN-isms” that have stuck with me and have been crucial to our success. First – ask for help before it is too late.  He taught me that if you wait to ask for help when you become overwhelmed, then the damage has already been done.  It doesn’t matter if you’re drowning in six feet of water or six inches, he always says. Second – leave the campground better than you found it. Self-explanatory but my dad and my late partner Harry emphasized this, and it has stuck with me ever since.  As a franchisor this is paramount to our success. 

Jarod Huston, founder, United Contracting Group and Indivisible Hardwoods + Creative Customs.

Jarod Huston, founder, United Contracting Group and Indivisible Hardwoods + Creative Customs: My father, Dale Huston, instilled in me all of the key traits responsible for my success, and ironically, woodworking (one of my businesses) is not on that list. He epitomized the old-fashioned American ideals of good parenting, and although there are obviously many facets to such ideals, he consistently exemplified those which I believe to be most important – honesty, integrity, kindness and hard work. My brother and I did not grow up wealthy by any means, but our father showed us that true success has little to do with money or prestige, and everything to do with how you care for those to whom you are responsible, be it family, employees or community. The example he set is the standard I hold myself to, and I endeavor to set the same example for all those around me. My success is only possible because my people stand behind me, and they do so because they know every decision I make is for the betterment of their lives, and that of their families. They see the example I set as the first person to arrive every morning, and the last guy to leave at night. To me, that’s what it means to be a leader, and I thank God every day for the father who taught me such invaluable lessons. In essence, my father taught me what it means to be a man.

Christina Spicer, co-chief executive officer, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council: My dad took me on my first-ever Girl Scout hike, where he explained the importance of holding the branches to protect the hikers behind you. His words taught me to recognize the impact of our actions on others and to make sure the person behind you makes it through. As co-CEO, I look back 30 years later and reflect on what it means to hold the branch for others in Girl Scouts and life.

Wesley Benally, principal and tribal practice group leader, REDW Advisors and CPAs: I hold close to my heart my father figures, my grandfather Harry Benally and my uncle Harold Benally. My grandfather Harry instilled in me the values of faith, family, and leadership. He guided me through many childhood mistakes, teaching me the importance of temperance and forgiveness. My uncle Harold taught me to enjoy life, cherish the little things, and not be too hard on myself. Both men proudly served in the armed forces, with my grandfather in the Army and my uncle in the Marine Corps.

Michael Kintner, senior vice president and general manager, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino: As the son of an Air Force Lt. Col. Retired, I learned the importance of service, hard work, and sacrifice from a young age. These lessons have deeply influenced both my personal and professional life. My father instilled in me a strong work ethic and a commitment to serving others, which has guided my leadership at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. I am grateful for the values he imparted, and I strive to honor his legacy every day.

Jake Mastro, regional operations manager, Prime Steak Concepts.

Jake Mastro, regional operations manager, Prime Steak Concepts: Since before I could drive myself to work, I have worked with and for my dad. He’s taught me strong values of honesty, humility and respect. He’s always set an example of not shying away from putting in hard work each and every day while making sacrifices to reach goals. He has always taken time to put family first and constantly reminds me of what is most important. He pushes me to be better and has given me the guidance for what it takes to be a husband, father and a leader and has led by example in every aspect.

Zachary D. Mastro, Esq., in house counsel, Prime Steak Concepts: I am beyond grateful for growing up under the guidance of my father, whose hardworking entrepreneurial mindset has profoundly shaped my outlook on life. He consistently treats people with kindness and respect, while balancing his unwavering focus on providing for our family, all with a lighthearted approach to life. His creativity knows no bounds, and he possesses a remarkable skill for crafting something out of nothing. Watching him throughout my life balance his dedication to our family and his work has left a lasting imprint on me, teaching me the importance of generosity, creativity, and maintaining joy all while striving for success.

Brandon B. Rafi, founder, Rafi Law Group: My father taught me the value of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. As an immigrant, his selflessness provided us with opportunities. His example showed me what it takes to achieve sustainable success in both personal and professional life. These lessons have been the foundation of my journey, both towards my own fatherhood and also as a guide in establishing one of Arizona’s leading law practices.

Dana Herzberg, founder and head of school, The Jones-Gordon School: My father taught me the importance of working hard and remaining resilient in the face of a challenge. His words stayed with me from childhood to adulthood, fueling me to overcome dyslexia and to help students like me reach new academic heights while finding confidence in the classroom at the Jones-Gordon School. As founder and head of school, I echo the same themes from my father in my students.

Jeri Royce, chief executive officer and board chair, Advance Community and AZ Impact for Good: As a business owner, my father taught me the value of integrity, hard work, and the importance of building strong relationships. These lessons have been the cornerstone of my personal and professional life. Whether it’s leading Advance Community or serving on various nonprofit boards, I always strive to embody these principles. Our shared passion for fly fishing also taught me the power of patience and perseverance, qualities that have been invaluable throughout my career.

Brett Eichmann, general manager, Indivisible Hardwoods + Creative Customs.

Brett Eichmann, general manager, Indivisible Hardwoods + Creative Customs: My pops was a mechanic and amateur handyman, so he exposed me to working with my hands from an early age, something for which i am eternally grateful. I vividly remember him giving me hand tools to use at just 10 years old, and I especially remember him entrusting me to use power tools for the first time. That passion inspired me to get into wood shop in high school as well as to teach myself how to draft and design by hand. Today, after following our shared passion by studying wood sculpture at ASU and whetting my teeth by collaborating with ASU on its Common Shop – a combination campus wood shop, metals lab, textiles classroom and screen-printing classroom – I am living my dream and working with my hands to create custom pieces of clients’ dreams each day.

Alison Bailin, director of client service, HMA Public Relations: My dad and I did not have nearly enough time together – he passed away at age 49 when I was still in college – but we made the most of it. Among the many lessons he taught me is that while silence may be golden, talk ain’t cheap, meaning to never be scared to speak up for myself, others, or ideas that I have no matter whose company I am in. He also taught me to laugh through life while holding  those I love close – family, friends, and colleagues/clients who become family and friends – forever. Choose them each day. Accept them each day. Have some dang fun with them each day, or why else are we here?! And finally, he taught me to never settle for doing just good work…care more to do more in everything in this life. I love you, dad!

Dominick Mastro, corporate trainer, Prime Steak Concepts.

Dominick Mastro, corporate trainer, Prime Steak Concepts: My father is a business genius who taught me the values of honor, respect, and passion. He showed me that work should not just be work, it should be your passion. Above all, my father is a wonderful dad who has given me all the tools to succeed and continue to be successful. One simple quote that he once said, “Just get through it,” meant the world to me. Those words encapsulate the determination he instilled in me to put my head down and keep striving toward my goals, no matter how distant they may seem. My dad embodies the sacrifice required to be successful in business and in life while exemplifying how to show love and respect to everyone. He taught me that success isn’t just about achievements and awards but is about the relationships you build along the way. His unwavering support and wisdom have molded and shaped the man I am today, and I’m grateful for the invaluable lessons he continues to impart to me every day and days to come.

Scott M. Drucker, chief executive officer, Arizona REALTORS®: My father was an independent businessman who instilled in me the importance of treating employees with respect. Based on the example he set, I encourage everyone at the Arizona REALTORS® to express their ideas, concerns, and feedback. It is vital for employees to feel heard and valued. Not only is this strategically imperative in helping the Association improve, but it also provides employees with a sense of ownership and pride in their work.

Tim Vasquez, president and chief executive officer, Someburros and Isabel’s Amor: I grew up in the family business since its founding in 1986 on Mill Avenue. My parents, George and Mary Vasquez, built the Someburros foundation, and my father taught me the importance of hard work, drive, and dedication at a young age. From donning the burro mascot costume to attract new customers, to witnessing the company’s evolution into a “fast-casual” model, my upbringing and the lessons I learned from my father instilled in me the values of community, tradition, and family. As president and owner, I try to continue my family’s legacy, prioritizing employee well-being and community support. Today, there are 16 Someburros locations across Arizona, and we serve my Nana Isabel’s traditional recipes and foster a sense of Familia with every restaurant opening.

Jacob Kipping, general manager, Enchantment Resort: My father taught me the power of resilience and adaptability through his own life experiences. Growing up, I watched him navigate through various challenges with unwavering determination and a positive mindset. Whether it was financial setbacks, health issues, or personal hardships, he always found a way to bounce back stronger. Moreover, my father instilled in me the value of integrity and honesty in all aspects of life. He believed that one’s word is their bond, and that true success is not measured solely by material wealth but by the impact we have on others and the integrity with which we conduct ourselves. Above all, my father’s unwavering love and support have been a constant source of strength for me. He taught me the importance of compassion, empathy, and standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. His guidance continues to shape the person I am today, reminding me to always strive for excellence, remain humble in success, and never lose sight of what truly matters in life.

Matthew Vandegrift, general manager, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa: I lost my father when I was 20 years old while attending college, however I have fond memories of him.  He taught me the value of hard work.  He owned a construction company, and I spent a summer working for him doing demolition clean up.  It was back breaking work in the summer heat of Philadelphia, and I almost fainted on my first day on the job.  He would tell you that summer is what made me decide to get a college degree.  Today, as a father of two boys (7 and 10 years old) and as the General Manager of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, my boys love to come to the resort.  At this early age, they are already talking about how excited they are to come work for me as valet parking attendants!  I think they just want to drive fancy cars though and don’t realize how tiring it will be running around parking cars in 115 degrees in Arizona!

Jeremy Pacheco, culinary director, Genuine Concepts: I would say that one of the biggest things I learned from my father was work ethic. He taught us the importance of the commitment you make to someone when you agree to do a job for them. My very first job at 14 years old was helping him on our family cotton farm in Marana. It was grueling work walking the fields in the middle of the summer heat. I thought that given my dad was the boss that I could work whenever I wanted. That was not the case. I made the commitment to take the job for the summer, and he held me to it. Seeing his work ethic firsthand and him teaching me the importance of an employer depending on you to fulfill your commitment has held true for me to this day and throughout my career.

Thomas Porter, owner, Porter Barn Wood: My dad taught me how to hunt and fish. He is a great salesman. He is a hardworking man. Most of all, though, my father taught me how to love people through words. If he loved you, he’d make sure you knew it, and he rarely met a person he didn’t love. His handwriting has always been reminiscent of an architect’s, and greeting cards he filled with compliments were always lengthy digressions into what he liked the most about you. He might break out into a verse of a song that reminded him of you. He may remember something you had long forgotten that made an impression. He might embellish a bit about how beautiful or talented you are. There were times that he was as intimidating as a professional boxer and others when he was humbled and nearly broken. I was taught love through all of these moments. I’ve learned from his successes, and I’ve learned from his mistakes. Through all the years I’ve been his son, though, whether it was in essay form or plain and simple, those three words he spoke quite often were the greatest lesson he could teach. I love you, Dad.