Employee Spotlight: Mike Hall

Employee Spotlight: Mike Hall Project Superintendent Mike Hall on a jobsite for Central Iowa Power Cooperative in Creston, Iowa, in 2020. (CANCO photo)

1 week, 6 days ago

In a more than 40-year construction career that extends back to his early teens, Superintendent Mike Hall has now spent 31 of those years with Carl A. Nelson & Company.

Hall traces his roots in construction to his father, Mike, and grandfather, Lynn, and the beginnings of his work in the industry to about the age of 13 or 14, then on through high school. After a dozen years doing projects with the family business around Roseville, Illinois, the younger Mike decided to branch out and brought his skills to CANCO in 1990 — joining his brother, Superintendent and shareholder Mark Hall, who came to work with the company about four years earlier.

“I wanted to travel,” Mike Hall said.

Working for a bigger company also meant better pay, and benefits that included a 401(k) retirement plan. Having a payroll department that would take care of income tax withholdings was nice, too.

He soon began to climb the ranks, first to foreman and then superintendent, his promotion coming at the end of consecutive jobs pouring concrete for the Nauvoo Temple during its reconstruction around the turn of the century.

That was a memorable project, Hall said, because it featured a design meant to survive a significant seismic event. Other standout projects include pouring foundations for Grain Processing Corporation in the “dead of winter,” as well as heavy lifts for a new corn receiving facility.

Construction of the replacement Klein Center on the Great River Health campus in West Burlington, he said, is at the “top of the list.”

“That was quite a project,” he said. “I think I was there three years.”

One aspect he liked most about the Klein project was it gave him a chance once more to do carpentry and finish work, which hadn’t been such a large part of his work with CANCO. Doing other work, he said, was just a part of the company’s typical approach to assigning projects, which is to “round you out so you can do anything.”

Hall came to CANCO at a time when the company was transitioning into a broader range of projects, and more complex, adding millwright and custom steel work to the traditional concrete and foundations. The corn receiving facility, for example, included setting “thousands of feet of conveyors.”

“You name it,” he said, “we do it. You’ve got to be pretty broad skilled.”

An invitation to become a shareholder in the company — one of 33 as of late 2021 — came in 2008, after 18 years traveling the region and country for jobs. Since then, he has bought as many shares as he was able to.

“Why not reap the benefits of being an owner?” he reasoned. After all, he already was working by the company’s quality assurance mantra, abbreviated as WIBI: Would I Buy It?

“You better live that and breathe that, whether you own it or not,” Hall said. Opportunity to do the next job depends on performance on the current one, he said.

Away from the jobsite, Hall lives near Macomb, Illinois, with his wife of 23 years, Siemonne. When they married, Hall gained two step-children, who now are ages 30 and 29, and who have four children of their own between them. The couple enjoy traveling together, with the Caribbean being a favorite destination.

At home, in the fall, his attention turns to another pursuit that harkens to his teens: deer hunting. Only now, he is able to set his sights on deer that venture onto his piece of rural Illinois property, which he described as “prime hunting ground.”

Now in his early 60s, Hall can see retirement on the horizon, but doesn’t have any kind of timeline for it. Even when the day comes, he doubts giving up construction will be part of his plans. After all, he’s got a pretty good example to follow in a father who is 80 and has never stopped working.

In the meantime, the variety of the work done by Carl A. Nelson & Company, and the challenge it presents, keeps him coming back for each new project.

“It’s all been pretty interesting,” Hall said, “because you never did the same thing twice. That’s the challenge that keeps me going.”

— Craig Neises, director of marketing

Mike Hall with his wife, Siemonne. (photo provided)