Rio Rancho Observer
By Stephen Montoya, Observer staff writer
PUBLISHED: Apr 24, 2017
From a hard hat to the board room, Tom Novak uses his years of experience to make decisions for his company and to aid the economic development of a community.
Novak, CEO of Klinger Constructors, said he has seen the ebb and flow of the construction business since joining Klinger in 1982.
“Construction goes through a lot of cycles, and there have been times where Klinger could be a lot bigger than what we are, but we’ve always been very purposeful about our growth,” Novak said.
This year, Klinger Constructors has 120 full-time employees that all specialize in private construction, he said.
“Our company’s focus is in-state,” Novak said. “We look primarily for work in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe.”
Klinger is currently wrapping up a $48 million project called Hotel Chaco in the Downtown area of Albuquerque, scheduled to open this month, he said.
“It’s probably going to be an iconic building … with a lot of unique elements that we added in the construction design,” Novak said.
Although Klinger Constructors is located in Albuquerque, Novak said over 20 percent of Klinger’s business is conducted in the Rio Rancho area.
“Rio Rancho has a lot going for it…I think it’s a great community that has some unique things to offer to businesses,” Novak said. “It was great motivation for me to see the county and the city hook up with the SEA (Sandoval Economic Alliance) partnership.”
On top of his duties at this multi-million dollar company, Novak, who has been a member of the SEA board since its inception in 2014, is the current SEA chairman, a position he has held for over a year now.
“Klinger’s values have always been to stay involved in the community,” Novak said. “It is important as a leader at Klinger to become active in charitable organizations and economic development groups because of how important they are to our surrounding areas.”
With SEA’s CEO Jami Grindatto announcing he will be stepping down soon, Novak’s role as chairman of the SEA board will have a pivotal role in finding Grindatto’s replacement.
Just two weeks ago, SEA Director of Marketing and Communications Tiffany Avery sent out a press release announcing Grindatto’s plans to step down from his role as CEO and enter into the private work sector.
Grindatto’s announcement was made with a stipulation that he will remain for 90 days until the SEA board has a chance to find a suitable replacement.
“You don’t always look for change, but when change comes than it’s an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, how do we get somebody like this that may have other qualities that make them better,’” Novak said.
Finding someone who can continue Grindatto’s ideas while also contributing a fresh outlook of their own is essential for the position, he said.
“It’s not even to say Jami’s not making the mark, It’s just there’s a benchmark there now and the goal is to get somebody as good or better,” Novak said. “I think as a group we’ll see the cream rise to the top.”
Novak said interested parties in the CEO position have to have their resumes in by April 30 to be considered.