Jim MacKillop: A Hands-On Career
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SANTA ROSA — Jim MacKillop grew up on a farm, so when he began his building career, he was no stranger to working with his hands. “I got into construction when I was 23 years old,” he recounts. “Out of high school, I was drawn to engineering, but after getting married and having children, I switched from the academic life to hands-on work in order to support my family. In 1983, I became a licensed contractor, and 34 years later, I’m still at it.”
Today, as owner of MacKillop Construction, Jim says his favorite part of his job is helping clients achieve their goals. “I enjoy working with people, listening to their visions for their projects and figuring out the best ways to accomplish their goals. In the end, I strive to create products that my clients are happy with.”
Originally from Alberta, Canada, Jim now resides in Santa Rosa, where he appreciates its comparatively mild climate. “My wife, Kate, is from California, which is how I ended up in the Bay Area,” he explains. “Being from a region known for its frigid winter temperatures, I really love the weather here.”
Outside of work, Jim partakes in a variety of pastimes, from yoga to outdoor activities. “I’m a certified yoga instructor, and I’m connected to a great community through my practice,” he says. “I also like to go camping, backpacking and biking around the Bay Area, and I recently started launching hot air balloons, which has been a lot of fun.” Additionally, Jim enjoys spending time with family. “I have several children whose ages range from two to 47, so family is a big part of my life. I still have a lot of family in Canada whom I visit every summer.”
In regard to his professional career, Jim espouses the importance of having a respectful attitude. “Whether it’s an employee, a subcontractor or a client, it’s important to treat everyone with respect,” he affirms. “When it comes to clients, in addition to being punctual and keeping a clean worksite, this means being a good listener. It only takes a little extra time to listen to a client, but it goes a long way toward ensuring they’re satisfied with the final product.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jim says he’d plan an extended international excursion. “Kate and I like to take our time when we travel—for example, a few years ago we spent five months in Guatemala. We still have a lot of places we’d like to visit, such as the Basque region of Spain, so if I were to retire, we’d definitely start crossing some of those off our list.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Papas and Pollo in Sebastopol.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: “The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival” by John Vaillant. It’s a non-fiction account of a former Soviet Union agency that was entrusted to protect Siberian tigers.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: I’m pretty eclectic in my music tastes. I like everything from jazz and R&B to bluegrass and classical.
Q: Do you play any musical instruments?
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A: I play the piano, though I’m still somewhat of a novice.