Michael Hinderman, Kraus-Anderson Construction Co.

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Michael Hinderman, senior project manager, Kraus-Anderson Construction Co.

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

Communication is continually the most challenging aspect that I deal with in the construction industry, whether it’s communicating with architects, engineers, owners, subcontractors, any level of internal company structure, or bridging the gap between millennials and Gen Xers. Communication is the key for successful projects. Learning the most effective way to connect with everyone individually can prove to be very valuable. A trick I’ve learned is to find out how each individual likes to be communicated to, then I tailor our interactions accordingly.

I believe the ability to make connections and build relationships is rewarding and one of the best measurements of success. Kraus-Anderson is focused on quality client management with the majority of our work coming from repeat clients. The most rewarding aspect of my career is having an owner want to work exclusively with me as a result of past good performance and a strong relationship.

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

If I had to describe someone whom I admire, he or she would have found the perfect balance of career, family, and free time. Being passionate about my career and wanting to come to work every day is extremely important, but being a good husband and father, and having enough free time to enjoy my hobbies, are also a high priority. I’m continuing to strive to find that perfect balance!

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

Recently, I was given the opportunity to undergo the Kraus-Anderson Leadership Development Program. It was an honor to be considered for this program, as it is only offered to employees viewed as long-term assets to the company. At the end of the program, I was able to present myself and what I had learned to corporate executives. Transitioning into a leadership role has been a welcome change. Shifting my focus to mentoring others and sharing my experiences, achievements, and failures to help them achieve their goals has been very gratifying.

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

Everything changes! Whenever work life or circumstances become routine, it will change, so don’t get used to it. Whatever you thought you wanted becomes irrelevant by the time you get it. Whatever you prefer or like will somehow change along the way. So, try new things, embrace the chaos, and turn those times into a learning experience.

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What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

The work-hard, play-hard culture, and living around people with similar interests. To me, Dane County offers the best of both worlds — big-city life with awesome venues when hanging out downtown, to nearby rural areas with plenty of fishing, hunting, hiking, and other outdoor activities. It’s also nice having a college and multiple professional sports teams so close to home. However, the weather is getting a little frustrating. I used to say I love living in Wisconsin because of the four seasons of weather, but I’m ready to trade in winter for longer summers!

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I’m just your average middle-age guy. I enjoy anything sports related, fishing, hunting, and traveling.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Not sure if this qualifies as a guilty pleasure, but within the last 10 years I’ve developed an obsession for saltwater fly-fishing. I spend most of free time planning and preparing for the next trip. As you can imagine, it’s very challenging to find saltwater living in the Midwest. Most of my trips have been, and will continue to be, somewhere in the Caribbean. This is probably why I feel so guilty — I’m visiting these beautiful places without my wife and kids! I’ve recently taken trips to the Florida Keys, Mexico, Bahamas, and this summer I headed to Cuban waters. My hope is to someday get my son interested and start sharing these adventures with him.

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