Ian Hlinka: Slow and Steady Success
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SEBASTOPOL — After 25 years in the construction business, Ian Hlinka looks back on his gradual progression from apprentice to owner of a sizeable firm. “I’ve been in construction since I was 16,” he says. “My father-in-law got me a job building tract homes with a general contractor, where I learned to do framing. I continued to do framing for seven years or so, then I started working for a developer building custom homes and commercial buildings in Petaluma. In 2004, he was starting to get out of the business, so I decided to get my license and go out on my own. We started out small and gradually built up to the point where we could take on bigger projects. Today, we have a large team of employees and subcontractors that enables us to take on multiple jobs at once. It’s kind of unbelievable how much it has progressed.”
Today, as owner of IMH Construction, Inc., Ian says his favorite part of his job is taking projects from concept to completion. “I enjoy watching each project come to life through the various stages of planning and building. It’s still pretty exciting after all these years.”
A resident of Sebastopol (where he lives with his wife, Susie, and their children), Ian spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I enjoy outdoor activities like water skiing, wakeboarding and dirt biking,” he details. “We like going dirt biking up in Mendocino County and doing water sports at local lakes during the summer. We also enjoy taking cross-country road trips to see places like the Grand Canyon.”
In his life and career, Ian espouses the importance of professional integrity. “My philosophy is simple: Do what you say you’re going to do. If you tell somebody you’re going to do something, you have to stick to that, even if it doesn’t benefit you at the end of the day. Sometimes the rewards of integrity don’t come in the short term, but they’re always worthwhile in the long run.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Ian says he’d take a vacation. “I would definitely take at least a year off. Besides doing some traveling, I’d probably get to some of the projects that need to be done around my house. Then, honestly, I’d probably go back to work. I enjoy what I do and I’d like to keep doing it in one capacity or another for as long as I’m able.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Egypt. I’ve always wanted to see the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Cattlemens Steakhouse.
Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Probably my car, which was an ’85 Ford Mustang.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Chips, especially Doritos and anything spicy.
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