Mike Leakos – Man of 25 Years, Many Hats & Few Words…
It’s been 25 years since this Saskatoon born and raised Rider fan pulled up for his first day of work at DFI in his brand new 1996 “candy apple red” Honda Civic. Little did he know that when he started on the computer programming side of things, he’d try on several more hats. From purchaser to lending a hand with project management… today, he’s a key player on the commercial side of DFI, as a go-to estimator for North America.
“Mike and I started out as colleagues 25 years ago and have become good friends along the way. It seems like yesterday when he walked in our small office in the spring of 1996. Since then Mike has been a steady constant in a world that has moved very quickly at times and changed dramatically overnight in some cases. Mike gets people. He is interested in their stories and takes time to learn about their lives – colleagues, suppliers and customers open up to Mike. He is the point man in several key relationships DFI has built over the years. Always calm and very efficient, it is not uncommon for a customer to get a price back from Mike at 8pm the same day they requested it. DFI is fortunate to have Mike on the team, congratulations on 25 years.” – Dave Hunt, VP Commercial
We sat down with Mike to find out a little bit more about the brain behind the numbers…
Q: Tell me about yourself when you’re not working?
I moved here in 1993 when I got married to my wife of 28 years, Shelley. We have four kids. Three girls, our oldest is 21 and the twins are 16, and just one boy, he’s 18.
I love outdoor recreation. Golf, camping, lake life, hiking, and I go for runs with one of my twins (she’s keeping me young). Did I mention golf? ????
Q: 25 years is a long time (unheard of these days). What made you stay?
I truly enjoy coming to work every day; there’s always a new challenge. It’s still fun. On top of that, the innovation, the foresight, the evolution – and they treat you well.
Q: Why DFI?
The people. We’re a certain breed – everyone is hard-working, self-motivated, independent and smart. It’s great that DFI trusts their employees; they don’t micromanage, we can make our own decisions and run with them.
Q: Who’s your favourite peep(s) at DFI? Mentors?
If I don’t pick Dave Hunt there’s going to be a big problem, I’ve known him the longest, and Sean Freeland. I’ve been through thick and thin with them. In terms of mentors, it has to be Dave Freeland.
Q: Biggest success story?
Customer relationships, period. Some have worked with me my entire career here.
Q: Advice for newbies?
The first thing that comes to mind, keep your customers happy.
Q: What’s in store for the next 25?
To be President one day!? Right now, I’m happy with where I’m at.
“Mike has been a good role model for me as I’ve been working alongside him on the Estimating team for almost 2 years. He’s got a great sense of humour which contributes to a fun work environment as he keeps us mostly entertained with his quick wit and overall jovial character.” – Jacques Marais, Estimator
“Congratulations on 25 years at DFI; you’re a survivor. Mike and I ran the leg 3 of the Canadian Death Race a few years back. It was getting really close to cut off time, we were both struggling and a little concerned that we wouldn’t make it in before cut off time. The finish line was close but every corner or hill we went over failed to reveal the end. Finally – we finished just before the deadline (just like a bid close) and Dave Hunt was furious at how late it was (just like a bid close) as he was the next runner. Just like always, you got it done and had success! I’m happy to work alongside Mike and I’m looking forward to many more career milestones.” – Richard Middleton, Regional Manager, Australia
Connect with Mike on LinkedIn
“Great guy, but since you asked… I’ve known Mike the entire time he’s been here and one thing that has never changed is his procrastination on everything. He has several sayings – all amounting to the same result – later.
- Yup – I’ll get right back to you.
- Yup – Let’s talk after lunch.
- Yup – Let’s talk towards the end of the day.
- Yup – Let’s talk first thing in the morning.
- Yup – Let’s talk Monday morning….
Rinse and repeat. I could go on forever – and there’s many more like these.
Now that Mike and I are getting older, I’m sure at some point the response I’ll hear is… Yup – let’s talk in our next life.” – Shane Bandura, Estimator