Ben Flanagan has many childhood memories of accompanying his father, John, to job sites. Not surprisingly, he followed his dad into the construction business, and even works for Langlas & Associates, the company where his dad spent 30 years.
Ben’s introduction to the building profession could best be described as hands-on.
“I started out sweeping floors, digging trenches, jackhammering concrete and tying rebar,” said Flanagan, who is a project superintendent for Langlas & Associates.
Flanagan was just 22 years old when he landed his first job as a project superintendent. “I was completely overwhelmed by the responsibility of an entire project from start to finish, but I embraced the challenge and relied on my mentors around me and came to realize that I really enjoyed being a superintendent,” he said.
At 24, he moved to New York City, in search of big projects.
“Since then I have never looked back or questioned my career choice,” he said. Flanagan spent six years building high-end restaurants around the country before returning to Montana. The experience was the most valuable education he could receive, he said.
Recently Flanagan has managed several significant projects, including the renovation of the Northern Hotel and Ben Steele Middle School.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? Problem solving, organization, and relationships are the most important aspects of what I do. As a superintendent on all types and sizes of projects such as Ben Steele Middle School or The Northern Hotel, it is imperative that I am organized from top to bottom. A lot of that organization involves people with a ton of moving parts and pieces. As a superintendent you are considered the “captain of the ship,” which means involvement on all levels from start to finish, which can be very overwhelming if you’re not prepared.
What’s the best business advice you have received? “The best way to get through something is to finish.”
Who gave you that advice? I can’t recall where I heard that or read that but it has been with me for most of my life.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: The most important asset we have in our community is our youth. As I have become a dad and now a grandpa, my life has changed so much and my priorities have aligned to taking care of them and doing anything I can to help them succeed. After my own family, I have the same feelings toward anyone in our community who needs help.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Honestly, it sounds ridiculous, but more work. I designed and built our own home and I really enjoy the fulfillment of getting projects done around the house as they come up. It is very rewarding to work with my hands and improve our own situation for my family.
Which living person do you most admire? My beautiful wife, Michele. She is the strength that gets me through everything and I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side as we journey through this life. She is an amazingly strong woman and she has had a lot of loss in her life and no matter the loss she still brightens my heart and everyone else’s around her.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? I have been told that nobody is harder on myself than me and I believe that shines through in my projects. I want to walk away from a project knowing it is complete and perfect in every way for the owners/clients/guests/kids to enjoy forever. I want people to see that I gave my best and understand that I would never do anything less. Changing the landscape of this Earth with buildings that will be around for generations is an important responsibility and I want everyone to see my best always. Also the relationships that I come away with after each project, I am happy to say that some of my best friends are owners that I have done projects for.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My family. Seven years ago I was in Billings, passing through, to a project in NYC from Seattle. Little did I know that I would meet my future wife and her three boys and begin a completely different journey, a much more fulfilling one. I have always been somewhat of a nomad and chased the dream of bigger projects, more responsibility, and more success. Now I have more responsibility than ever in being a husband, dad, and grandpa. What a blessing they are.
I’m happiest when I’m…with my family and friends at our house, on our deck, or at our cabin.