Mike Mitchell Featured On The Trades Podcast

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Mitchell

Mike Mitchell is an award-winning deck builder and designer who specializes in urban decking, transforming cityscapes with his creative constructions. He is a second-generation deck builder.

Table of Contents

In 2023, I had the privilege of being a guest on The Trades Podcast with Danny Torres and Jeff Mudd. It was a great conversation. I had the chance to talk about my father and the origins of Mitchell Construction, how I have been carrying the torch as the second generation to lead the business, our focus on low-maintenance living, our commitment to staying on the cutting edge of this industry, the wonderful team here, and the future of the company.

Here is a recap of my conversation with Danny and Jeff when I joined them via Zoom:

Mitchell Construction’s Origins

photo of mike mitchell of mitchell construction

My father started Mitchell Construction in 1978. We’ve been in the building trades in Chicago’s suburbs for more than 45 years. We build outdoor living spaces, specializing in the decking sector, so everything starts there with the deck.

Sometimes, we build covered porches, screen rooms, and other outdoor living structures, but for us, it all starts with custom decks. We focus on the low-maintenance life in everything we do, allowing families to enjoy their spaces more without spending so much time on maintenance.

Danny asked if my father was still involved in the company. He is. He remains fully involved, even though he is no longer in the field. I don’t see him stepping away anytime soon.

Carrying the Torch

As I reflected on my dad and the company, I was not sure that he really wanted me to jump into the trades. Not that there’s anything against it. I’ve always liked mechanical things and building things. I fit right in. It was just enjoyable right out of the gate.

“I think as parents, we always want our kids to do better than what we’ve done in life,” Jeff said.

“I had struggled even growing up just trying to figure out, you know, what it is that I wanted to do,” Danny said.

On the Cutting Edge

Danny had asked what advice I would give someone thinking about entering the trades: Knowledge is power.

No matter what you do, when you get into the trades, you need to learn so much. What you learn can be applied in many different areas of your life, whether or not you will stick with the trade. Just start by learning the basics.

When I was a guest on the podcast, I was actually in Winchester, Va., with another team member. We visited the Trex plant to learn more about their products and installation techniques.

Why did we go on the visit? I always like to be on top of all the new and upcoming things. You know, there are advancements every day. I like to be on the cutting edge and make sure I know how to do the new things properly. I want to know what the advantages and disadvantages are.

When we understand how the products evolved and how installation techniques advanced, we can build better decks and outdoor living structures that will last longer.

Changing Roles

When I started with the company, I spent the first five or six years in the field with my father. I learned a lot from him and his crew. They were always willing to help out the new guy.

Fast-forward to today. I’m not in the field as much but thankful for my team. I stay on top of new developments in the industry so I can help my team.

While I am not in the field like I once was, I remain grateful that when you get to a site, you start with nothing, a blank slate. When you are done, there is a beautiful structure that the family will enjoy for years.

It’s really cool to have something tangible when you’re done and to know that you’ve made somebody’s life better.

Work-Life Balance

As I grew in my role as a business leader, I realized that you cannot just work your life away. You must leave time for family and fun.

To help the team achieve a work-life balance, they have some flexibility in their work hours. Do they want to work four 10-hour days? Or five 8-hour days? At the end of the day, we must get the work done.

Because I am not in the field as much, I can free up time to support community efforts. I enjoy being involved in our chamber of commerce.

Any Questions?

I enjoyed my time with Danny and Jeff on The Trades Podcast. I hope you enjoyed learning more about Mitchell Construction’s history and what drives us. If we can help you or if you have any questions for me, contact us today.