Class of 2005
Michael Gohman was executive vice president of W. Gohman Construction when he was named to the Class of 2005. His emerging leadership was part of a succession plan at a business known for its support of the Boy Scouts organization.
What are you doing now?
President of W. Gohman Construction Co., St. Joseph.
How did the 5 Under 40 award affect your life?
It came as I was transitioning into running and owning the family business, so it gave me confidence I was on the right path.
Other big changes since you received the award?
My wife, Nancy, and I have hosted three exchange students over the years who have really become part of our family, and we really enjoy staying in touch with them.
What will make the St. Cloud area greater in coming years?
The involvement of the people of the community to make this a great place to live.
Originally ran: January 1, 2006
Born: St. Cloud
Job: Executive vice president of W. Gohman Construction in St. Joseph.
Education: Bachelor's degree from University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Family: Wife, Nancy
What have been your challenges since moving into this position?
I'm in a business-succession plan with my father, Bruce. In the last couple of years, the challenge with that has been having the transfer from him to me. Now I'm making decisions instead of supporting him. I never spent a lot of time on the recruitment of work as much as I do now.
What is the best advice you have received and who passed it along?
Do what you feel is right and how you believe it should be done. I first heard it from a former board member of Central Minnesota Builders Association.
What do you see as your major successes?
We made two years no-lost-work (from injury) time, which I think is fantastic because we do still run about 20 to 25 field people a year. To keep all of them healthy and home at night and not injured is an excellent thing. Also, some of the business systems (improvements) on the financial side so we know the current status of a project.
How has your new paperless management system made the business more productive?
The retrieval of documents is quicker because now you can search on key words rather than trying to dig through a file. Instead of having to store and try to find something for a project we did five years ago, we will be able to quickly find and sort that information.
What led you to implement the system?
The industry is getting so paper-oriented and so document-oriented. It gets very time-consuming, and anything we can do to speed that up and improve the accuracy will be an improvement.
What is the motto you live by?
Do the best job you can for your clients, and spend their money like it is your own.
How did you develop it?
I have a very conservative family.
Why is it important to you today to spend time talking to students about the industry?
The construction industry on a national basis is really short of young workers coming in. On a local basis, we are also. I'm just trying to get the next generation interested in construction and understanding what the career is really about. A lot of people think it is simply shoveling dirt or pounding nails. Even if they don't want to be in a field position, there is estimating and drafting and architecture and project management.
What have you given back to the community?
We've done a lot of work with the Boy Scouts. We worked with Miller Architects & Builders to build (the Boy Scouts') center in town. We both donated money toward the completion of the building and really worked hard to find donations from all of our subcontractors and everybody that was involved.