In his past life, Mike Hobolich worked in Boston first for Houghton Mifflin, a publishing company, then for Investors Bank and Trust, which is now State Street Bank.
That doesn’t mean, though, that when he joined Hard Rock Sawing & Drilling Specialists, he was completely new to the construction business.
During his summers off from studying economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Hobolich worked as a laborer at a similar company out of Chicago.
Now, as an estimator and project manager for Hard Rock’s, covering central, northwest and northeast Wisconsin, Hobolich’s work has him scanning floors and construction sites and looking for new jobs for the company. The scanning operation, which is a service Hard Rock started offering four years ago, lets customers know what’s in a slab of concrete before it is cut.
“He’s turned out to be a professional at his job,” said Larry Dvoratchek, vice president of Hard Rock. “He’s self-motivated and can handle any project that’ s thrown at him.”
For Hobolich, the work has been enjoyable because of its variety.
“Every day is different,” Hobolich said. “Something new is always happening. When I worked at the bank, it was the same old routine. Here, sometimes I’m in the office, sometimes I’m out of the office for handfuls of days in a row out on jobs or looking for jobs.”
But as is true for virtually anyone working in construction, Hobolich finds one of the hardest parts of his job is dealing with the unexpected. Hobolitch notes that sometimes a job can look cut and dry, but then not be so easy once crews get on a site.
Every once in a while, Hobolich and his team are thrown a real curveball.
For example, Hobolich has been on jobs when his team discovered a whole floor that had been graded over instead of removed.
“That’s a surprise for everyone on the site, even the engineers,” Hobolich said.
The best way to overcome such obstacles is to be upfront with customers and to talk to workers who are out in the field.
“We don’t want a surprise three days down the road where they get blindsided because they didn’t know what’s going on,” he said. “If we tell them right away, things generally go smoother.”
Outside of work, Hobolich gives his time to Ducks Unlimited and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. And when he isn’t out golfing, the Appleton resident takes care of his two cats, Bandit and Zelda.