CANCO adds to project leadership team in February
2 weeks, 1 day ago
A trio of new hires in February 2023 has added to Carl A. Nelson & Company's project management and field leadership capacity and experience.
Waldo Geiken, Project Superintendent
Waldo Geiken comes to Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO) with 18 years of experience in the construction industry. Geiken has worked in commercial construction all his adult life, and traces his time as a builder even further back in time, to when he started helping his late father with projects around the house, then at around 12 branching out to helping friends of the family with work at their homes.
He was motivated to advance to being a supervisor on projects after seeing his mother be taken advantage of on construction of a home after his father died.
That goal saw him through the initial stages of a career building and remodeling malls, banks, small retail buildings and big box stores, as well as some government projects, on the East Coast and in the Midwest. He ran his own company for four years, doing work around the country until a family illness saw him wanting to be closer to home in east-central Iowa, then worked for a firm in the Quad Cities the past four years. The opportunity to branch out into different varieties of projects, like healthcare and laboratories, and proximity to home, attracted him to CANCO, he said.
"I wanted a company I could grow with," Geiken said.
Geiken self-referred to CANCO after reviewing the firm's website and learning about its project history and track record of positive client relationships. First impressions of company culture also was a factor in joining the CANCO team, he said, citing "the family environment" and "how in-tune you guys are with each other." At other companies, he said, ego often gets in the way of project performance. The company focus on safety was another factor. Safety has been a paramount concern of his, he said, since witnessing a fatal fall on a jobsite when he was 16.
Currently, Geiken is assigned to a design-build project for Western Smokehouse Partners that is converting a former steam turbine plant in Burlington, Iowa, into meat stick production facility.
At home, Geiken and his wife, Christie, are the parents of three daughters, Amora, 11; Niya, 8; and Bristol, 5. He enjoys welding and woodworking with his girls, doing projects around home and with the girls, hunting, fishing and backpack camping.
Will Porter, Project Engineer
After writing a routine in an Excel spreadsheet that, he said, did 80% of his work, Will Porter chose to leave an industrial job and pursue a career in construction, returning to a field he first experienced as a boy working for his dad — even running a concrete crew at age 15 or 16. After almost three years with another firm, he has joined Carl A. Nelson & Company as a project engineer.
Porter grew up in Independence, Iowa, and attended Iowa State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in material science and engineering, with a specialty in metals and ceramics. He also completed a certificate program in leadership while at ISU. His first job was as a quality control engineer for a steel mill in the Quad Cities.
When he became bored of watching a spreadsheet run, Porter went to work as a superintendent for a larger firm in his hometown. After getting married and wanting to start a family, he looked into a move to southeast Iowa so his wife, Traci, could be close to family in Mediapolis, Iowa, near Burlington. CANCO presented an opportunity to bring his field experience and engineering background together in a project management role.
"I was wanting to see this other side of construction," said Porter, whose first assignment with CANCO is assisting with a remodeling project at Burlington High School.
Away from the office, Porter enjoys hiking, game nights and just hanging out with friends, and spending time at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where one of his friends has a cabin. And, to keep himself physically active after transitioning to the office, and to make use of his degree, Porter said he plans to build a home forge and pursue an interest in knife-making.
Neil Agan, Project Superintendent
The chance to grow professionally, and be close to family in west-central Illinois, led Neil Agan and his 31 years of construction experience to Carl A. Nelson & Company as a project superintendent.
Agan spent a year after high school attending Monmouth College near his hometown in Illinois, with a major in business and thoughts of a career in architecture. His father's death in a crash a week before he graduated high school in 1991 changed Agan's interests and fortunes, and led him to the construction trades. He started out, and spent several years building pole buildings for commercial, agricultural and even residential use.
In 1999, he began 20 years as a journeyman carpenter and foreman, building everything from hospitals and dormitories to stadiums and schools, much of it in the Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. His most recent job, as a superintendent for a company based in Dubuque, was diminished by the impacts of COVID, and Agan was looking to grow in responsibility, as well as income potential.
His first assignment for CANCO will be as on-site supervisor of a construction management project in Kalona, Iowa, for the Mid-Prairie Community School District. The project includes renovations and additions at Mid-Prairie Middle School and additions at East Elementary School, as well as new softball field lighting, all in Kalona; and a resurfaced high school track in Wellman, Iowa.
He has two children, Samantha, who is a freshman in college; and Brady, a freshman in high school who plays football, runs track and performs in the band. Agan is looking ahead to his fifth anniversary with his wife, Shelly, in September. Away from the jobsite, he enjoys attending his son's school activities, and spending weekends at a cabin on the Cedar River, as well as a weeklong annual bank-pole fishing outing where last year he caught 350 pounds of catfish in four days.