When you first meet Rob Mudd, you see him as a down-home Indiana Hoosier who loves hunting, fishing and the outdoors. Little do you know, he is a self-taught commercial superintendent with over 17 years’ experience—and the most loyal person you would ever meet.
Rob’s story is much different than most commercial superintendents. He did not go to school and study commercial construction, his family wasn’t in the business, he did not grow up with a passion for construction and he did not know this was his destiny. Rob learned commercial construction the hard way, starting at the bottom and learning “hands on” under the wing of his mentor, Bob Kort.
In the late 90’s, Rob and Bob met through a mutual friend. At the time, Rob was working for a pharmacy delivering meds to nursing homes in the evening, and was looking for a part-time job during the day. So, Bob hired Rob part-time to clean and organize the shop and clean up some of the job sites. Now, what you need to keep in mind is Rob was not a teenager at the time, he had a family and kids to support, and was 35 years old. However, hard work was not beneath Rob as he had previously worked as a meat cutter, and was a foreman on a dock for 16 years.
Eventually, Bob hired Rob full-time to clean up the shop, clean up job sites, do odd jobs, fix things—do anything and everything Bob asked him to do—a jack-of-all-trades. As Rob was at the job sites, he would ask the project managers and superintendents a lot of questions about the jobs—the why, what and how?
As Rob learned more, Bob gave him more and more opportunities to grow. The more opportunities Bob gave Rob, the more excited he got and the more he learned. With every new opportunity, Rob grew. Then Bob asked him the all-important question…”Where do you want to be in 5 years and beyond?” From there, the two of them put a plan together with goals and milestones in place—Rob met every one of them. In fact, Rob tells the story of how Bob sent him to a class on How to Read Blueprints. Rob said it was a waste of money because he had already taught himself how to read blueprints “on the job” by asking questions. Bob said, “Rob was always inquisitive about everything, and if you didn’t understand something he would always ask questions. He has always been motivated, determined and driven to go further and learn more on the job—this outweighed any other education.”
Today, Rob is now Lead Superintendent for Kort Builders where he is running many of his own jobs. He said, “Bob gave me an opportunity to grow within a company without having a college education that employers are looking for now. I just showed Bob what I knew, what I could learn, what I could do and he gave me an opportunity.” Although Rob has been approached by headhunters to work at other construction companies, he has never given working somewhere else a second thought. He said, “Bob has always taken care of me—he has treated me too good to go somewhere else—and I will forever be grateful. I don’t see myself anywhere else, I see myself retiring from Kort.”
Proudest Career Moment: Working on his first ground-up retail project at Ameriplex. It was very challenging and he learned the most on that project.
Proudest Personal Moment: When his children were born and when he adopted his other children.
Career Advice: Ask as many questions as you can. If you know what field you want to work in then ask questions and learn more from experts in that field.
Last Thought: When you get out of school, you never stop learning.