Dan Johnson to Become Mortenson’s Next CEO

Dan Johnson will become Mortenson’s new CEO and president. (Submitted photo)
Dan Johnson will become Mortenson’s new CEO and president. (Submitted photo)

Mortenson’s future CEO sees growth opportunities

 
Tom Gunkel is retiring as Mortenson CEO at the end of 2016. (Submitted photo)

Tom Gunkel is retiring as Mortenson CEO at the end of 2016. (Submitted photo)

Dan Johnson, a 30-year veteran of M.A. Mortenson Co., will become the company’s CEO beginning Jan. 1 in addition to serving as president, the company said Thursday.

Johnson, who became president in 2015, will take the reins from Tom Gunkel, who will retire as CEO at the end of the year after 34 years with the Golden Valley-based contractor and developer.

Mortenson, which wrapped up construction of the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this summer, recently was tapped by Mayo Clinic to lead the development of the Discovery Square district in the Destination Medical Center buildout in Rochester.

Asked about the future, Johnson said in an interview that the company will build off its strategic plan and look for growth in areas such as renewable energy and infrastructure development.

Noting that Mortenson recently opened a new office in Washington, D.C., to serve federal customers, Johnson hinted that the future may bring additional geographic expansions.

A permanent foothold in the southeastern U.S. — one of the few areas where Mortenson doesn’t have a presence — is “something on our long-term horizon,” he said.

Gunkel said it’s a hallmark of the company to promote from within, and that Johnson is a good example.

“Dan has been my business partner for 30 years. There is nobody better prepared to take on more responsibility in our company than Dan. I could not be happier for him,” Gunkel said.

Johnson said he’s “humbled” to be promoted to CEO.

“It’s an honor to be a leader of Mortenson at any level, let alone have the opportunity to be CEO,” he said, adding that he’s fortunate to be part of a team that includes leaders with 20, 30 or more years of experience.

A graduate of North Dakota State University, Johnson helped launch successful offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Portland, Oregon, and was “instrumental in launching the company’s renewable energy business and growing its real estate development group,” according to a press release. He also previously served as the company’s chief operating officer.

“Dan is a skilled and thoughtful leader and has made significant contributions to the company’s success and of those around him,” David Mortenson, chairman of M.A. Mortenson, said in a statement. “He has a unique command of our business and the challenges and risks we undertake each day. He has the expertise, knowledge and foresight to make an even greater impact in our organization as our CEO and I know that he will lead Mortenson to a future that will be even brighter and stronger.”

From 1983 to 2001, Gunkel served as estimator, project manager, the general manager leading the opening of the company’s Milwaukee office, vice president of the nationwide commercial building division, the chief operating officer and president.

He was named CEO in 2008. He will continue as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Under Gunkel’s watch, Mortenson grew, expanded into new markets, and “delivered numerous iconic projects,” among other accomplishments, the company said.

“Tom is recognized industry-wide as an outstanding leader, innovator and expert builder. His passion for our business, our company and our team members is unparalleled,” David Mortenson said in the announcement. “My father, me, the Mortenson family and the entire leadership of the company will be forever indebted to Tom for his leadership and the impact he has had on our company over his long career.”

 

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