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Tom Connella Reflects Back as DFG Looks Ahead

Aug 18, 2023

We are among extraordinary times at Diaz Fritz Group and are thrilled to share some exciting developments taking place. As a cherished part of our network, we wanted you to be the first to know to join us as we celebrate our many successes and look ahead. 

Today, we honor the exceptional leadership of Tom Connella, who has played a pivotal role as President of Diaz Fritz Group. We are proud to announce that Tom will be transitioning from president to Chairman of the Board of Directors. Tom’s transition marks a new exciting chapter for our organization. Furthermore, we are thrilled to introduce Wayne Ismark as our incoming President, whose extensive experience and capabilities will further elevate Diaz Fritz Group’s success.

To celebrate the close of an era, we had a candid conversation with Tom to reflect on his remarkable journey at Diaz Fritz Group and learn about his future plans as he and the company embrace this new chapter and what is to come for the firm under Wayne’s leadership.

Tell us about your career at Diaz Fritz Group – how did you get to where you are today?

I joined DFG as a summer intern during my senior year at the University of Florida in 1990. I can recall the first project I ever was involved in – it was a renovation at Jesuit High School in Tampa.  Paul Carter was the superintendent and John Sokol was the project manager.  It was a great experience, and I learned a lot from both. I was in a position to learn and grow from the onset and was able to advance to a project manager and beyond rapidly. The rest was pretty much history as my career quickly evolved with the company.

It’s rare in this day and age for someone to spend their entire career at the same company. What has kept you with DFG all these years? 

There is a genuine family atmosphere here at DFG that our founders Del Diaz and David Fritz created, which I truly enjoyed throughout the entirety of my career. Being a smaller company of scale, I had direct access to Del and David, giving me the opportunity to learn directly from them while leveraging the same best practices and tools as some of the larger companies.

In your 30 years at DFG, what is a memory you hold dear?   

Del and David are great people, and they lead through their actions. Years ago, I was having an outpatient procedure done and David Fritz came to be with my wife. I have always found this commendable, and I thank David for being there during a personal time when my family and I needed support.

Tampa is a really hot market, in your time at the company and in this region, what are some trends you’ve seen from a development standpoint?  

In the last few years, it’s been the multifamily boom fueled by an influx of people migrating to Florida. As people continue moving to Florida, the need for commercial construction projects will grow, which is where we come in. We’re excited to take on the growth Tampa has to offer.

So, what’s next for you?  

My plan is to spend some time traveling with my wife, Rhonda, before fully embarking on this next journey as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In this new role, I plan to be in the background helping the executive team evaluate opportunities and make strategic recommendations. I’m excited to see the company and its people continue to thrive and succeed.  I am confident we’ll be able to achieve whatever goals and objectives Wayne puts forth.

What is a piece of advice you would share with younger members in the industry?  

Where there’s a will there is a way.  Set a goal and be persistent.  Don’t give up when things get challenging. 

What inspires you to do what you do?  

I love a challenge, I have a passion to learn new things, and I want to help people along the journey. 

As Wayne steps into his new role, Diaz Fritz Group is poised to leverage our wisdom and expertise to fuel innovation, embrace emerging opportunities, and maintain our position as one of Tampa’s best in class general contractors.

“I am beyond thrilled for this next chapter of the firm” says Founder Del Diaz “Tom has been an integral part of our team since he stepped foot in the door as intern in 1990. We’re lucky to have him continue to be a part of the DFG family as Chairman of the Board of Directors”.

Diaz Fritz Group values relationships and will continue to always remain fair and honest in our dealings with all employees, clients, vendors, and partners. Our clients count on our dependability, drive, trust, and especially our integrity. We pledge to continually learn, grow, and improve individually and collectively. 

Press Contact

Robyn Huber
V.P. of Business Development
C: 813.460.4015
E: rhuber@diazfritz.com

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