Editorial: 06.19.2023

Tim Conkling – Chasing the Challenge

Tim Conkling

Born and raised in Mt. Olive, Ill., Tim Conkling never anticipated his career would land him in sunny southern California working as Castle’s Director of Operations for its San Diego office.

Conkling’s story with Castle begins with a college internship he took for college credit. He reached out to the big general contractors in Saint Louis and no company was really taking on interns during the school year., so he connected with a family friend, Castle Superintendent Mark Martin, who connected him to Castle in St. Louis. Conkling’s plan was to work with one of the big general contractors, so he originally thought he would complete the internship with Castle and eventually move on to another company. Those plans quickly changed as soon as he got a feel for Castle’s scope of work and the company culture it brought to the table.

“My internship interview was with Mike Myers. At this time, he was part owner of Castle and was still in Saint Louis,” Conkling recalls. “I just immediately fell in love with the team, the culture, the work we did, and the feeling of working around big equipment. I immediately knew that this was the path I wanted to take. I didn’t really want to go the general contractor route anymore and haven’t looked back.”

Chasing the Challenge

After about six years of working for Castle, Conkling was running a handful of projects in Saint Louis as an Assistant Project Manager. He started to look for opportunities within the company to grow his career and challenge himself a little more. Conkling made this known to the leaders and eventually, Mike Pranger approached him about a potential promotion, but one that required a move to Southern California.

“Castle had just purchased Paul Hanson Equipment., This was the first location expansion for Castle,” Conkling explains. “Pranger asked if I’d be interested in moving to San Diego. I was taken by surprise because I did not know Castle had decided to officially expand yet, and I had never even been to Southern California. It was a big shift coming from the Midwest. I didn’t know what to expect, but I accepted the opportunity.”.

Castle flew Conkling out to check out the city and to meet his future team. At this time, Castle San Diego only had eight employees working in the office. Over these last four years, the team has grown to a total of 35 office employees and 23 crews.

The Golden State of Opportunity

The first few years at Castle San Diego were challenging. The company needed everyone on the team to perform multiple roles while it was moving through the transition. When Conkling transferred, he was promoted to Project Manager and was also performing a lot of estimating work with Mark Felio, Paul Hanson Equipment’s previous owner who continued to stay on temporarily to help with the transition.

His position shifted back to fully focus on operations and project management once Castle San Diego hired a full-time estimator. Soon, Conkling was promoted to Operations Manager and then in November of 2022, he was officially promoted to Director of Operations.

In his new role, Conkling is responsible for leading the project operation team in San Diego. Conkling states, “I enjoy the people management side of the business. I always liked the Project Manager piece and the problem-solving, but I really like watching people grow. There is something exciting about seeing someone step into a new role and find their confidence. That is really where I get satisfaction.”

Southern California Living

In June of 2020, Conkling and his fiancé, Jenna, bought their first townhome in Eastlake Chula Vista. They love the area because of the new development and the new amenities of the neighborhood. Eastlake was established in the late 1980s but started booming with new neighborhoods, schools, parks, and business centers over the last ten years.

Shortly after purchasing their home, Conkling and his fiancé decided to bring a puppy into their lives. Kona, a high-energy golden retriever fills their heart with joy and keeps them both on their toes.

Conkling describes himself as an outdoor type of guy. “We enjoy anything outdoors, going on hikes, camping, going on the beach, fishing, and hunting when I can.” Conkling explains, “It's a little bit more difficult living out here in San Diego, so I usually try to make a trip home to Southern Illinois during hunting season at the end of fall and winter.”  

Conkling may be midwestern at heart, but seeking out opportunities excelled his career in the land of golden opportunity. Conkling says he has acclimated well to the San Diego lifestyle and can see himself here long-term.

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