2017 Distinguished Business Awards - Businessman of the Year: Mike Blach

Mike Blach Blach Construction

Mike Blach has led Blach Construction for the past 28 years, taking the helm from his father in 1989.  Known as a progressive and innovative leader, today his company employs 175 to 300 individuals and will perform more than $200 million in work this year.

During his long tenure at Blach, the company has been recognized with almost every type of industry and business accolade, from AGC Constructors, ENR Best Projects, AGC Construction Safety Awards of Excellence, and numerous awards for innovation, community engagement and corporate philanthropy.  Of all the recognitions, however, Mike is most proud of the one his company received this last fall when FORTUNE magazine named Blach Construction as one of the top 100 Great Places to Work in the United States.  In fact, FORTUNE ranked Blach Construction #30 in the U.S. in the medium-size category, those organizations with 100 to 1,000 employees.  Blach was the highest ranked contractor in the nation in any size category.

In addition to his leadership role at Blach Construction, Mike has been a leader in the construction industry.  After serving in a variety of local and state committee chairmanships for the construction industry’s largest professional trade association, the Associated General Contractors of California, this past fall he was elected as treasurer and is in line to be the Association’s president in 2020.

Mike also has been engaged in numerous leadership positions in his community.  In the past 17 years, he has been a board member and president of the board of several leading charities, including Sacred Heart Community Service, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, the Rotary Club of San Jose, and most recently, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.  In December Mike was elected to the board of directors of KQED, the nation’s largest public broadcasting company.  He also is an officer and board member of two charitable foundations – a family foundation and the Blach Construction Foundation.

In 2011, the Santa Clara County Council of the Boy Scouts named Mike its Distinguished Citizen of the year, and just last month, Bellarmine College Prep inducted Mike into its Hall of Fame under the ‘Business’ category.

Q&A

Share your thoughts on what it means to receive this award? 

It’s very affirming to be recognized by The SVO and my peers as the ‘Businessman of the Year.’  In business, you’re constantly experimenting to find ways to advance your organization, and it’s gratifying to realize that at least some of the experiments worked out well.

Why is it important for the business community, and the work that it does, to be highlighted annually by The SVO? 

Our business community here in Silicon Valley is very dynamic and leading the nation in innovation. These SVO awards tell the story of these creative, world-class companies, and business leaders here and around the world want to learn from us.

Share words of advice that someone gave you at the beginning of your career? 

My dad always stressed that he wanted my siblings and me to be leaders and not followers, and to treat everyone we met the way we would like to be treated. His advice still resonates with me daily.

Share words of advice to give to those aspiring to be future Distinguished Business Award recipients? 

Take great care of your colleagues first, and they will be able to take great care of your customers!