‘WAY OF LIFE’ – Manhattan man revels in being outdoors

Matt Hohn at Flint Hills discovery in center in Manhattan, Kansas

As seen in The Mercury by Kristina Jackson, (March 18th, 2019).

If you’re looking for Matt Hohn, you can almost always find him outside.

Hohn spends time outdoors in both his personal and professional lives. The senior superintendent at McCownGordon Construction is also an avid hunter and fisherman.

“It’s kind of a way of life,” Hohn said.

Hohn, 33, grew up in South Dakota and received a bachelor’s degree in construction management and engineering from South Dakota State. He’s been at McCownGordon for 10 years.

His interest in hunting actually helped Hohn get the job. He learned of the job when he took some people hunting at a lodge he helped a friend remodel.

At first he worked in the company’s Kansas City, Missouri, office, but he moved to the Manhattan office about five years ago. He said he was happy to make the move.

“I was glad to get out of the city,” Hohn said. “I can be on a lake in 10 minutes. I can be at my hunting spot in 10 minutes.”

In his career, he’s had the opportunity to work on the Flint Hills Discovery Center, the engineering building expansion at K-State, and schools in Salina and Belleville. His current project is a building expansion at Rock Creek Junior/Senior High School.

He said this winter has been hard on that job because of the constant swings in weather conditions.

“It’s one extreme to the next,” Hohn said.

However, he said adjusting to weather, as well as new technology, is part of the job.

He said one of his favorite parts of working in construction is that it has a tangible result. He said he likes seeing people enjoy the buildings he has worked on. He got to interact with students during the school projects and tell them about what the team was doing. He said he enjoys showing his family the Discovery Center.

“You walk through and see all the kids who enjoy themselves,” Hohn said. “You can see, feel and touch what happened.”

Hohn’s interest in building began when he was a child.

He said his dad was always tinkering with things and while Hohn didn’t grow up on a farm, his extended family farmed and he would sometimes help with projects.

“Out there, you do whatever it takes,” he said. “You become a jack of all trades.”

A friend got him involved in projects like building decks and doing shingles, and Hohn eventually decided it seemed like the right career path for him.

Hohn got interested in hunting and fishing at a young age as well. He started as a kid going with family and has kept it an important part of his life.

“I think there’s a picture of me at 2 or 3 holding my first pheasant,” he said.

Hohn primarily hunts deer and pheasant, and he also fishes. His wife, Kari, comes along sometimes too. He said his 16-month-old son, Andy, already likes being outside. Hohn said once Andy is outside, he doesn’t want to come back in.

“He’s a chip off the old block,” Hohn said. “He loves going outside and seeing the geese flying over.”

He said he’s looking forward to teaching his son about hunting and fishing like his own dad did. He said it has been his family’s way to escape stress and have fun, and he can’t wait to bring Andy into that.

“As soon as he can walk through the trees without much struggle, I’m pretty excited for that,” Hohn said. “I love the outdoors and I hope he will too.”