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Shining a Light on Mario

The Initial Email:  Stop groaning and man up. I’d like to spotlight you. When are you available to talk on either Tuesday, August 14 or Thursday, August 16. I’ll bring donuts.

The Response:  With cinnamon.

And that was it. I had finally snagged an interview with the Senior Estimator of Conger Construction Group. With twenty-five years of commercial construction and estimating experience, Mario is a wealth of knowledge and well respected in the industry beyond the Cincinnati and Dayton markets. Knowing that Mario’s schedule was limited, I wanted to make the most of our time together so we played a game of 20 Questions. I asked prepared questions and he gave short, concise answers. Some questions were meant to be ice breakers such as, ‘What is the one thing you cannot live without?’ Donuts or ‘What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had.’ Rent-a-Kid. I’m not joking, that was a real job back in the day! At 10 years old, Mario spent three evenings a week during his summer break cleaning offices through the Rent-a-Kid program. ‘Where is your favorite place to be?’ Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and my personal favorite, ‘What would you do if you weren’t doing this?’ Without hesitation Mario said, “I’d be an adventurous traveler, a photographer, food connoisseur, and survivalist expert”. Let’s hear it for the dreamers!

From there we moved on and I dove a little deeper. To say Mario is a committed husband, father, brother, uncle and son doesn’t quite paint the full picture, so let me add this… Mario is number fourteen of fifteen siblings. He has seven brothers and seven sisters, and a very clear understanding of the importance of making your presence known. His favorite thing to do is prepare Thanksgiving dinner for his family. Just imagine that dining room table. When asked what the greatest challenge he has had to overcome in life thus far, Mario confessed juggling family and career. I have no doubt his answer is shared by many, but the lens he views life through, coming from such a large family, is one not many can relate to.

As our game of 20 Questions continued, I discovered that Mario’s personal philosophy is to do his best knowing that there will be successes and failures, and to learn from each opportunity, and while he understands this to be logical and true his greatest fear is failure. Mario’s commitment and motivation are fueled by his drive to succeed and that is evident in his approach to each job he bids. His attention to detail is second to none. He would never forgive himself otherwise. If Mario had to have chosen another career path, he would have been a teacher. He believes true leadership is revealed through example by building confidence within your team, setting expectations and respecting all. Teachers who embody those leadership skills are game changers for our youth. An estimator with that skill set can secure a solid team of commercial builders that construct the schools which houses the teachers who inspire our youth. One more time, let’s hear it for the dreamers, and the believers, and the doers! Let’s hear it for Mario!