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Sam Blahnik, 1848 Construction

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Sam Blahnik, director of business development, 1848 Construction.

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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

Working at 1848 Construction is wonderful in that we help people to create dream projects and allow them to further establish their legacy in the area. I think most people take pride in their jobs and working in the construction industry allows for a tangible, completed result to admire for years. The process can be challenging to gain all necessary approvals, but knowing we are creating a solution to address our clients’ pain points is extremely rewarding.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

The most influential mentor in my professional career was an amazing person named Stan Shaw. Stan took me under his wing as a college intern and taught me more business and practical life sense than I could have ever learned otherwise. He transitioned employers and actually offered me my first full-time job out of college. Stan was a boss, a father figure, and ultimately one of the closest friends I ever had. I always admired his caring presence, business acumen, and amazing interpersonal skills. He lost a battle with pancreatic cancer years ago, but I still keep in contact with his family and think of his examples often in my professional duties. I hope someday someone may compare me to him!

What has been the high point of your career so far?

While I have accomplished a number of accolades and individual successes along the way, the highest point of my career thus far is that I have maintained relationships with so many people along the way. We are all influenced by those around us and it is amazing to look back at the many fond friendships that have been created and remain to this day. As one example, my family still visits the first software client I “landed” in 2002, either at their place in Michigan or our place in Wisconsin.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

At age 21, it would have been 1997. I was traveling the U.S. and playing baseball in college, so I am not sure how forward-minded and receptive to advice I would be. However, I would do my best to convince myself this internet thing was going to be somewhat impactful to the future and that I should register every clever domain name I could think of. On a more philosophical level, I would remind myself to cherish current family and friendships, as life will get more hectic and challenging to share experiences.

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