As our first official hire, Superintendent Mike Halpin’s rise as a member of our team has mirrored the growth of BLOCK.
All it took was a LinkedIn message and a meet-and-greet for Superintendent Mike Halpin. Once he sat down and heard the vision and understood the philosophy, he knew he was in the right place to grow and build his career. That doesn’t mean the decision was a no-brainer. Afterall, he was signing on to be the first hire of a company that hadn’t even started a project yet. Now, about two years later, he feels vindicated knowing he bet on himself and his ability to thrive in an environment focused on people first.
Mike had a lot in common with BLOCK’s founders Dan Connolly and Cory Bailey. Like Dan and Cory, he was a lifelong Wrentham guy. Like Dan, he was a graduate of the Wentworth Institute of Technology. Dan’s mother and Mike’s mother had become friendly from seeing each other around town. Cory’s brother was Mike’s pop warner football coach growing up. So when Mike heard that Dan and Cory were teaming up to launch a commercial construction company and looking to hire a team, he knew the connections were strong enough to at least explore the opportunity.
THE EARLY DAYS
What Mike ended up finding was the perfect fit. He knew that Dan and Cory’s efforts in the construction business prior to BLOCK were well-regarded, but what he quickly learned is that their approach to the industry was different. A construction company focused on building relationships first and knowing good projects would follow was a great place for an extroverted people-person like Mike. As a relative newcomer to the business, having just a few years experience, BLOCK also offered Mike the opportunity to get on the ground floor of something special. “It’s not everyday you get to help build a company, especially one with great people,” he says. So he eagerly signed on as the first BLOCK hire and an Assistant Superintendent.
Mike has a pretty fond recollection of BLOCK’s earliest days. Since they were sharing an office space, they spent plenty of time with everyone in the conference room. “We had a lot of meetings with partners, prospective clients, all kinds of people. We wanted to establish relationships with them and educate them on how we were trying to do things differently,” he recalls. Working to build relationships also meant the side-benefit of playing lots of rounds of golf with new partners. “I’m pretty sure some people thought all we did was play golf back then,” Mike says with a laugh, “but what we were really doing was taking the time to get to know the people who would be vital to our success once things got rolling.”
BUILDING THE FOUNDATION ON RELATIONSHIPS
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for those meetings and rounds of golf to turn into projects. As BLOCK’s first official hire, it was only right that Mike would be one of the individuals spearheading the first round of them. Suddenly, there wasn’t as much time for golf, but Mike was more than excited to get to work every day knowing what a pivotal time it was for BLOCK and his own career. “Those first few projects seem like a blur now, but I do remember how firmly we focused on doing everything the right way. We knew we were establishing the standard that all of us at BLOCK would hold up for years to come.”
Given the vision that Dan and Cory started BLOCK with, that meant making relationships on the jobsite a priority. As the man there every day, much of that responsibility was entrusted to Mike. “I really started to find my groove the more time I spent on the jobsite as a member of the BLOCK team. I realized how a crucial part of my role is maintaining jobsite morale, getting out of the trailer and asking questions so I can understand our trade partners clearly and sometimes even pausing work for a few minutes so I can get to know them on a personal level. I really think that makes a difference in the long run.” From the very start, Dan and Cory appreciated the personal touch Mike took to each individual working on the project. “People hear us say the ‘Built on Relationships’ motto all the time,” Cory mentions, “but for guys like Mike it’s more than words. He was literally out in the field helping us build the company by establishing connections with partners and clients that were based on trust, communication and alignment.”
The trust Mike developed with project partners simply reinforced the trust that Dan and Cory had shown in him since day one. That’s why as BLOCK continued to grow, Mike began to become involved in more-and-more projects. It all culminated when BLOCK landed its biggest project yet in the Spring of 2021. There was no doubt that Mike would be one of the lead team members to help see it through to fruition. He did so the same way he’s approached every other project he’s worked on, with a big smile and a “How can I help?” attitude.
With that project and so many other successful builds now on his resume, Mike was rewarded in 2022 with a well-deserved promotion to Superintendent. It was something Mike had always had in mind since he signed up to join that brand new company way back when, but not something that came by surprise at all. With his new title, perhaps the pressure and responsibilities of his job have grown some. Yet, if you ask Dan and Cory, they’ll tell you that Mike’s path to success as a Superintendent really is the same: he just needs to continue to be himself and build relationships everywhere he goes.