Growing up, he enjoyed learning math and science. As a child, he built cities with roads and bridges in his sandbox. He can’t remember a time when he didn’t love all things railroad, especially model railroading. After taking an aptitude test in high school that suggested engineering, he focused on civil engineering because he “wanted to work on transportation projects that transformed the natural world.”
His name is Mike Pochop, a vice president, senior project manager and railways operations lead at Hanson. He first joined Hanson in 1998 and recently celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company. He’s held many titles over the last several years, but to me, he will always be Dad.
My family moved to Washington when my dad first started at Hanson in 1998. He joined the late Charley Chambers in the company’s new office in Bellevue, serving BNSF Railway and clients in the Pacific Northwest. Our family lived there for a few years before we moved to O’Fallon, Missouri, in 2001, when he joined the St. Louis-area regional office to manage highway projects for MoDOT. In 2005, we moved to Alaska so he could open the Anchorage office to pursue work and clients, primarily the Alaska Railroad Corp.
When my dad joined Hanson, I was 7, and my little brother, James, was 2. In Anchorage, our family grew again, as we welcomed two more brothers — Jacob in 2006 and Mahlon in 2009. I married my husband, Zach, in 2013, and our family expanded again with the births of our daughter, Rylee, in 2014, and our son, Tanner, in 2017. My dad had two kids when he joined Hanson in 1998, and 25 years later, he has four kids, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.
I got to live in all these awesome places because my dad said “yes” to opportunities. If it wasn’t for my dad saying “yes” to Hanson, I wouldn’t know how to ride a unicycle, which I learned in Washington, or how to play hockey, which I picked up in Missouri, or how to snowboard and cross-country ski, which I learned in Alaska. Moving every few years gave me a love for travel. I lived in Alaska longer than any other place up to this point, and it will always be home to me.
After graduating high school and taking some college classes, I decided to join the military. I was an armament technician in the Air Force, loading bombs onto planes. When my Air Force commitment ended, I went to school for communications. A bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate and master’s degree later, I’m working at the same company as my dad. I’m not an engineer, but I’m the social media strategist for Hanson. I have specialized in creating and tracking content for the company’s social media platforms since joining in August 2022.
While my dad works to design important rail infrastructure for Hanson's railway clients, I work to connect Hanson's employees and clients through our company's social media channels. It’s been a surreal experience working at Hanson with my dad. It’s a fun game when people realize our connection.
When I asked my dad how he feels about working with me, he said, “I’m having fun seeing how my daughter is discovering that Hanson is larger than it was when I was her age and how she is identifying new opportunities for Hanson and her career.”
I love that I can say I “grew up in Hanson.” Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and father figures, especially mine.
Christine Flessner is a social media strategist at Hanson. When she’s not strolling Target with a coffee, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.