In Loving Memory of
Justin Dignam'Orange County's Big Fish with a Big Heart'
While we grieve the loss of our friend and leader, the team at Big Fish Employer Services wishes to share with you the story of the father, husband, entrepreneur, water polo enthusiast, lover of the ocean, and friend to many that was Justin Dignam.
Family ManHusband & Father
Justin met his wife, Christine, on a Nantucket Christmas stroll in 1987. Two years later they were married. The couple had planned to visit Nantucket this October to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Justin and Christine raised two wonderful children together, Taylor and Chandler, and he was a proud father.
While Justin loved his hobbies, worked hard to build his business, and was a friend to so many, his family was always his top priority. Justin was so involved in the sports and activities of his kids, and was over the moon with them both graduating from University of Colorado Boulder.
Justin often spoke of being committed to being a great father and mentor to both of his kids, but the stage of life he most looked forward to was the day he and Christine would just be able to focus on being their best friends. They were his proudest achievement.
He loved waterJustin Loved Water Polo & Diving
Justin’s love for the water began at an early age. He and his friends would start their days in the water having fun, finish their days in the water having fun, and lifeguarding in between to make some money in the middle. He was a natural fish in the water, excelling at the backstroke and swimming his way into the University of Richmond on scholarship.
It was at Richmond that Justin started playing water polo. It was a love that evolved into coaching at the college level and in more recent years, being involved with the USA Water Polo Association and competing at the Master level. It was Justin’s water polo coach at Richmond that certified him for his first scuba class. To date, Justin had completed around 700 dives.
In addition to swimming and water polo, Justin loved his 500 gallon salt water tank in his office, his involvement with the Friends of the Sea Lions organization, and jumping in the ocean with his daughter Taylor whenever she’d visit from college, no matter how cold it was.
He and his daughter shared a passion for diving, which led to exotic and beautiful vacation spots for the whole family. In fact, the family traveled the world sharing numerous memorable adventures, including The British Virgin Islands, Belize, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica and one of his favorite dive places, Cozumel.
ENTREPRENEURJustin Launches 'Big Fish Payroll Services'
It was that adventurous spirit that had him starting "Big Fish Payroll Services" from a room in the family home in Anaheim Hills and building it to the successful business of today that has become Big Fish Employer Services. He was committed and loyal, not only to the success of the business, but to his employees and his family. He believed in happiness too. He taught his staff that it was possible to create and maintain a happy work environment for all, and that became the attitude and modus operandi for Big Fish Employer Services. He was a happy man.
In an era where a man’s word doesn’t always carry meaning, his word was his bond and gave the people in his life confidence, security and love every single day. He was a man of his word.
PhilanthropistHow Justin's Big Heart Shaped Big Fish's Culture
Giving back to the community in every way possible was of utmost importance to Justin. In the Southern California area, he sponsored and contributed to many charitable organizations and events such as Habitat for Humanity, Patriots & Paws, Ronald McDonald House, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to name a few.
In addition, he fostered that same spirit of giving back in his staff with his “Feed the Brave” program that he developed especially for his employees. This program encourages Big Fish staff to invite a First Responder, or military personnel or police officers that they encountered to lunch. The staff pays for the lunch and Justin pays them back. He felt that recognizing these brave men and women and showing them a little gratitude was the least that he and his staff could do.
Justin also found a way to help those who were less fortunate that he and his associates encountered in their business travels. In that circle, he was known as “the giving one” because not only did he perform random acts of kindness whenever he could, he spearheaded a program for he and his associates to purchase washers, dryers and food, which was then donated to those local orphanages. The group will carry on the tradition in Justin’s name. He was a philanthropist.
a great friendJustin Was a Loyal and Caring Friend to Many
In both business and personal life, Justin was a great friend to have, and went deep with everyone; he thought, played and worked deeply. Always full of life and enthusiasm, he was known to be the 'funny guy' with a big heart that looked for a way to relate; a joke, a common interest, or whatever he could find to be friendly. As CEO at Big Fish, this directly poured over into who he hired, how he treated clients, and how he approached a sales demo or call - there was empathy, humor and depth in it all. There is absolutely no way to separate or reverse the profound positivity that Justin infused into the culture and "brand" of Big Fish Employer Services.
Justin naturally captured the attention in the room and found a way to connect with so many people. His friendships were deep and truly integral to who he was. His smile, laugh, and energy were infectious.
He will be missed dearly by us all.