The friendship of a father figure helped a young man find his purpose and become a leader at one of the largest structural engineering water tower consulting firms in the nation.

His journey

Alumnus Michael Novitzki ’13, originally from Eagan, Minnesota, graduated from Holy Cross College with a major in business and a minor in communications and Spanish. Upon graduation, he took a position with Target Corporate in merchandising and finance. During his time with the company, he was recruited by an insurance/investment firm and became one of the top producers for individuals of people with five years or less with the company in Minnesota.

After three years he was burned out, and one of his mentors reached out to Shawn Mulhern, President, and CEO of KLM Engineering Incorporated.

“Shawn was like a father figure to me when I was growing up. I used to help him with yard work when I was in middle school and high school. He called me and asked me to come work for him and to learn the business. I graciously accepted. Shawn knew I would be a good fit at KLM, and knew based on my drive and work ethic I could help take KLM to the next level. I hope to carry on his legacy,” said Novitzki.

According to Novitzki, KLM Engineering is one of the largest structural engineering water tower consulting firms in the nation. They consult with companies, municipalities, government entities, and other engineering firms on new tank design, new tank construction, reconditioning, painting, and inspecting water towers all over the nation.

“As the Director of Business Development at KLM, I travel around to companies, municipalities, government entities, and other engineering firms throughout the nation working as a consultant to help with various water tower projects,” notes Novitzki. “Over the last four years, I have helped KLM grow to open up two new offices in Kansas City, Kansas, and New Lennox, Illinois.

In his role, he is part of the strategic development team and has helped the company achieve double-digit growth since starting the position in April 2017. He implemented new systems and processes that helped achieve 33% revenue growth, is working to expand the firm’s national clientele and is currently negotiating $10,000 to $1,000,000 contracts with municipalities, companies, government entities, and civil engineering firms nationally. He has served as an industry presenter at Rural Water events and the American Water Works Association event across the United States.

“I really love working in this industry because I am able to help communities provide safe drinking water around the country. I feel like I am truly making a difference. Also, I love hearing people’s stories and meeting new individuals throughout the 11 states KLM currently operates in throughout the United States. I mean who can say one night they could be in a council meeting in middle of a corn field and the next night be in a suit and tie on local cable television,” said Novitzki. “I also love the aspect of building something, and at KLM we are in the process of building something special. I enjoy all the hard work that goes into scaling a business.”

College impact 

“I wouldn’t be where I am at today without Holy Cross College. At Holy Cross, I learned the necessary tools to be successful based on the holistic educational experience they offered. The College taught me how to be a problem solver and focus on solutions to those problems that can have a positive impact on the overall common good. Also, Holy Cross College taught me how to be resilient and overcome obstacles,” said Novitzki.

Noteworthy moment

“I think the most impactful and memorable experience of my Holy Cross College was the mandatory internship. I ended up interning with the University of Notre Dame Sports Marketing Department as one of the first members of the newly restructured Leprechaun Legion. I was one of the first hockey Leprechaun Legion representatives. Holy Cross College gave me the confidence and tools to be successful at this opportunity,” notes Novitzki.

The future 

“Currently while working full time, I am in the process of obtaining my M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am set to graduate in the spring of 2022. After completing my degree, my plan currently is to continue to help KLM grow into a national leader when it comes to structural engineering, building, painting, and inspecting water towers,” said Novitzki. “I hope one day to own my own business, whether that will be with KLM or another company.”