a headshot of Mike Menke, ABC's 2024 Young Professional

Worth It: ABC's 2024 Young Professional of the Year Mike Menke

Young Professional of the Year Mike Menke: ‘My biggest career accomplishment is the opportunities that I’ve been able to gain to teach others.’
By Maggie Murphy
June 3, 2024

Mike Menke was just 22 years old when he attended his first-ever ABC Convention as captain of Colorado State University’s Construction Management Competition team. As he sat in the crowd watching ABC’s Construction Workforce Award honorees take the stage, he thought to himself: “Maybe one day that can be me.” Spoiler alert: Just 10 years later, he’s made that dream come true. This past March, at ABC Convention 2024, Menke accepted the 2024 Young Professional of the Year award with his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Merrin, watching proudly from the crowd.

Menke is an ABC-er through and through, coming up through the CMC as part of Colorado State’s ABC Student Chapter, accepting a job offer from ABC member company FCI Constructors upon graduation and today serving as part of the ABC Rocky Mountain Chapter’s executive committee. Why is the organization so important to him? If you ask Menke, it’s pretty simple: “I don’t know how to be a professional without ABC.”


Menke’s interest in construction started at Loveland High School (Loveland, Colorado) with a program called “Geometry in Construction,” a nationwide curriculum developed in partnership with local charities such as Habitat for Humanity. “What they do is they build a home using geometry as a basis, and then they donate that home at the end of the year. That got me first interested in [construction],” Menke says. “I’ve always liked serving the public, and so that kind of showed me that I can serve my community and build, which I think is pretty awesome.”

That service angle is one of the things he likes best about his current role as a project manager for multidisciplinary general contracting company FCI Constructors. (Menke has worked for the Grand Junction, Colorado–based company since his graduation from CSU in 2015.) “What excites me most is to see people use the facilities that we build,” he says. “Something we do whenever we build a new school is we stand on top of the roof on the first day of school and watch the kiddos come in. I think about all the kids that get to use that facility now—think about my daughter one day maybe going to school in one of these facilities I’ve worked on—it’s heartwarming.”

For as much as he loves the feel-good aspect of his job, Menke also describes himself as “highly competitive” by nature. Growing up, he played hockey, lacrosse and football, and credits his athletic experience with giving him the discipline to be successful in his career. “I like the S.M.A.R.T. goal acronym—measurable, attainable, all of that—but I also like to make [my goals] a bit of a stretch. It forces you to be better, forces you to grow as you go through it. That doesn’t mean it’s out of reach, but maybe it’s hard. I like hard goals,” Menke says.


Being named ABC’s Young Professional of the Year is no small feat—finalists are selected from a national pool of highly accomplished construction professionals. So, what was it about Menke that stood out? He puts it pretty straightforwardly: “I do my homework first to the best of my ability. And I definitely don’t know everything, but it’s my goal to show up and be an asset.

“I think I inspire others by just being approachable,” he says. “I recognize that I perform and go and do a lot and am involved in a lot, but I don’t want to be untouchable. I want to be friendly, I want to be available.”

To that end, Menke goes out of his way to make himself accessible to his team, whether that’s putting his phone number on the office whiteboard in a huge font or giving it directly to new staff engineers as they come on. He makes a point to tell his younger teammates, “If you have a question and you’re not getting an answer, call me and we’ll figure it out together.”

When it comes to that hands-on leadership style, he looks to his dad for advice and support. “My dad started from really humble beginnings and now is kind of a big dog,” Menke says. “He’s the director of engineering for an aerospace company. He’s got tons and tons of people that he takes care of, but no one person is just a number to him. He takes the time to evaluate each and every one of these people because he’s been in their shoes, he’s walked through all those levels. I want to be able to be a leader like him.”

It’s not just in the office where Menke goes above and beyond to make sure everyone is supported. He coached lacrosse for five years at various competitive levels, working with kids ages 6 to 13. “Just the feedback you get from those kiddos is amazing because they listen, they learn, they grow. You get to see that individual develop as they go through all of it. I still have some of those kids that I talk to that are now in college and they’re asking me about the [construction] industry,” he says, and so it all comes full circle.

Menke is also still heavily involved with the ABC Student Chapter at his alma mater, Colorado State, even developing and teaching a “Project Engineering 101” curriculum with a fellow CMC alum designed to give construction management students bootcamp-style training on what to expect in the industry. And the FCI Constructors internship program? That was Menke (and friends), too. “When these kids walk out of our classroom, I hope the thing they take away is that if you can come together with a common goal and drop your ego at the door, there is nothing you can’t accomplish in this industry,” Menke says. “To be able to say to someone: ‘I need you to help me figure this out. I don’t have the expertise yet. Can you help me and we’ll learn together?’ That’s a powerful lesson.”


It’s a well-known fact that the U.S. construction industry needs to hire more than half a million workers just to keep up with project demand. The best way to combat that challenge, according to Menke, is on two fronts, the first being communicating to current workers that they’re highly valued. “I would convey to our [craftspeople] that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It doesn’t go unused. They make a large impact, probably larger than maybe they think or see. We can’t do it without them.”

Part of that commitment to workers includes prioritizing health and safety above all else. “Being there in the morning ready to go, and in the evening ready to go home to your family—it’s always been important, but that means so much more to me now with my daughter waiting at home,” Menke says. “It’s never something to take for granted—it’s the pinnacle. It just has to happen.”

Building a safe and healthy workforce will also help on the second front, Menke says: making sure young people are aware of the diversity of construction job opportunities. “Whenever I go and talk to students, we talk about how diverse our industry is. From being able to sling pipe and be the backbone of infrastructure projects to being able to make sure materials arrive in a timely manner, working with people—this is a great industry for all of that,” Menke says. “Maybe you’re a strong writer—our industry needs technical writers, too. We need these types of workers to be able to communicate effectively with trade partners.”

In the end, Menke says that “hard work is the backbone of it. You’ve got to be able to work hard and produce results. If you’re not working hard and you’re not always gaining and you’re not always learning, you might as well not be here.”

But as long as you’re willing to do that, he says, the sky is the limit. “My vision for the future is positivity about the industry. Let’s meet young people where they are [on social media], but instead of these TikTok videos you see of folks being unsafe on a jobsite, how about ‘Look at this amazing structure we just built?’ That’s my hope.”

ABC's 2024 Young Professional of the Year award is proudly sponsored by Procore.

Procore is committed to being the partner that the industry counts on to advance, evolve, and elevate construction as a business, a craft, a career, and a driver of innovative excellence. With a singular focus on construction, Procore’s goal will always be to provide the people in the industry with technology, culture, and thought leadership that makes their lives safer, easier, and more productive.

by Maggie Murphy
Maggie Murphy is managing editor of Construction Executive.

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