In Person: Calhoun Construction's John Hinshaw tackles multimillion-dollar projects, back-country hiking and family in measured steps

May 17, 2017, 3:00pm EDT

The $238 million KFC Yum Center has become a fixture in downtown Louisville, and it also stands prominent in the mind of one of the people behind the construction of the 721,000-square-foot home to University of Louisville basketball, concerts and other events.

John Hinshaw was the was senior project manager for M. A. Mortenson Co., the general contractor for the Yum Center, when the arena was built about a decade ago.

Hinshaw says it is his favorite project, beating out other major sports arenas he helped oversee.

Despite the pressures of building a huge and intricate structure with a fixed deadline, Hinshaw wouldn’t do anything else, fueled by his sports fandom and love for creating.

“I just think building buildings is fun,” Hinshaw said in an interview.

Now, Hinshaw is the president of Louisville-based Calhoun Construction Services Inc.

He joined the company in September 2013 as the operations manager under then-president Kevin Harpring. Hinshaw became the president of the company in January 2016.

An Indianapolis native and big Indiana Pacers fan, Hinshaw jumped at the opportunity to work for Hunt Construction Group in 1997 to help build the Pacers’ then-new arena, Conseco Fieldhouse (now Bankers Life Fieldhouse). He’d graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures and a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and management.

That appears to have set a precedent for Hinshaw’s early career and time with Hunt Construction.

He would go on to work on the building of Great American Ball Park for the Cincinnati Reds as a project engineer from fall 1999 to spring 2003.

He then went to work on the construction of the then-named Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., for the Charlotte Bobcats as a project manager.

He was lured away from Hunt Construction to Louisville by developer Steve Poe to work for Poe Cos. LLC in January 2006.

In 2008, Hinshaw was let go.

It was the height of the Great Recession of 2008 and construction companies were hit particularly hard by the economic downturn.

But Hinshaw had hope despite losing his job.

The Yum Center project broke ground in 2006, but news of the big project had broken much earlier.

With his background in building sports facilities, Hinshaw wanted to be a part of the project when he first heard about the new arena coming to Louisville. It was an obvious opportunity.

To add to the desire to get on-board with the local project, Hinshaw had gotten married to a Louisville native while at working at Poe.

Hinshaw said he knew that he needed a job that would keep him here.

“Louisville had become my adopted hometown,” he said.

As luck would have it, Hinshaw was hired by Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson and joined as senior project manager for the Yum Center in 2008.

While all the major projects Hinshaw has worked on have been unique, he said there were some special factors involved with Yum Center.

He said the people he worked with on the project were very talented and that they stuck together in the years since the Yum Center opened in October 2010.

“We had a great team of people on the (Yum Center) project … and a lot of the same people are here at Calhoun,” Hinshaw said.

After the Yum Center work, Hinshaw was approached by Wilhelm Construction Co. Inc. with the prospect of opening and managing a business in Louisville.

Wilhelm had been the concrete contractor on several of the arena projects he had helped to manage. He joined and helped to start Calhoun Construction — which has an office off Poplar Level Road just south of the Watterson Expressway — in 2013.

Of his work on arenas, Hinshaw said, “There is always a tight timeline with an opening event scheduled. That always makes it a pressure situation from start to finish.”

A delay in work on a multimillion dollar project that’s received a great deal of media attention could be catastrophic.

“You set up a project, design a schedule that will allow you to hit the construction milestone and have intermittent milestones to help you know if you are going to make your end goal on time and on budget,” he said.

For fun, Hinshaw takes a hiking trip with his friends from college once a year, every year.

This is no day trip with a picnic. These excursions are often six- to eight-day adventures in the back country that cover anywhere from 40 to 60 miles of wilderness.

This year, Hinshaw and his friends are planning a hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

He said that approaching a quest of this magnitude takes the same kind of disciplined planning and goal setting that a multimillion dollar project does.

“You break it down into smaller pieces that you can get your head around and manage it,” Hinshaw said. “A lot of times (while hiking), you have to get from A to B because there is water at B, and no water in between.

“It’s always a huge sense of accomplishment when you’re done. That first beer (after the trip) is very satisfying.”

Even as a parent, Hinshaw takes a similar approach and recognizes that every day presents its own challenges, but that identifying and reaching key milestones helps life make sense and helps establish the pace of where things stand. John and his wife Susan have three children under the age of 10.

“It’s a part of life everyone should experience,” Hinshaw said of being a parent. “It’s your chance to create, to be part of the next generations and hopefully influence people to be good people and be contributing members of the next generation.”

He took some time to answer a few more of our questions:

What is your favorite place for lunch?

Frank’s Meat & Produce on Preston Highway

What advice would you give young or new business leaders?

Pick a field and try to learn every aspect of the field.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Stay positive

What is your go-to outdoor spot?

Parklands of Floyds Fork

Is there any one project that you would consider yourself most proud of?

The KFC Yum Center

Biggest pet peeve?

Hearing someone say, “That is not my job.”

What do you listen to while in the car?

Talk radio or the Lithium station on satellite radio.

How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

Walk in my house, and my three kids attack me with all of their energy.


John Hinshaw

President, Calhoun Construction Services Inc.

Age: 42

Hometown: Indianapolis

Resides: East Middletown

Career history: President, Calhoun Construction Services Inc., 2016-present and operations manager, 2013-16; senior project manager, M. A. Mortenson Co., 2008-13; Poe Cos. LLC, 2008-08; Hunt Construction Group, 1997-2006.

Education: Bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures and a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and management from Purdue University, graduated 1997

Family: Susan Hinshaw, wife of 10 years; an 8-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.

Hobbies: Back-country hiking


New craft beer bar HopCat set to open Louisville location

Posted: Jan 12, 2016 4:36 PM EST Updated: Jan 12, 2016 4:37 PM EST

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A new craft beer bar is coming to the Highlands.

BarFly announced plans Tuesday to open a new HopCat location along Bardstown Road near Grinstead Drive.

The company says it will feature the state’s largest selection of craft beers on tap, a full menu, private event spaces and a deck. Louisville will feature at least 30 varieties of Kentucky-made beer on tap every day along with 100 other craft beers from around the world.

“Kentucky’s Bourbon-making heritage has helped make it an outstanding place for craft beer lovers,” said Mark Sellers, founder and CEO of HopCat and its parent company, BarFly Ventures. “When we decided to open in Louisville we wanted to create a hub that would draw craft beer lovers from the neighborhood and from around the world, showcasing the best beers made in Kentucky and around the world.”

The project will create about 150 new jobs. Officials say they plan to open the Louisville location sometime this summer at 1064 Bardstown Road — where the old Spindletop Draperies was located. It’s right next to the Highlands Tap Room.

There are also HopCat locations in Lexington and eight other cities.

Resumes are being accepted at jobs@hopcat.com.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.


Massive Highlands beer bar now has an opening date

Jun 14, 2016, 4:15pm EDT

HopCat – Louisville will open July 30. The big bar, boasting about 11,000 square feet, has been under construction on Bardstown Road in the Highlands, at the former Spindeltop Draperies Inc. property, since last year.

The first 200 people in its doors that day will get a card good for a free order of its “crack fries” every week for a year. Crack fries are so named because they’re addictive, says the internet.

Throughout the building there will be specially commissioned original works of art, including an iconic mural titled “Aesop’s Fables” on the building’s exterior by DXTR, an artist from Dusseldorf, Germany, the release says.

HopCat – Louisville will be the ninth location for the brand, which is owned by Barfly Ventures in Grand Rapids. Renovations by HopCat and building owner Priam Capital are expected to result in an investment of more than $3.5 million.

The opening comes on the heels of the launch of HopCat – Lexington in October.

“We’ve worked hard to make HopCat – Louisville unlike any other,” Mark Sellers, founder and CEO of BarFly Ventures, said in the release. “I believe we’ve created a location that will serve as a hub for Kentucky craft beers and a magnet for local beer lovers as well as those visiting Louisville from around the world.”

The bar will feature at least 30 varieties of Kentucky-made beer on tap every day along with 102 rotating taps featuring craft beers from around the U.S. and the world.

The new location will also will bring BarFly Ventures’ waste reduction program to Louisville. The program has a goal of composting or recycling 90 percent or more of the waste generated at BarFly restaurants.


HopCat Louisville

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HopCat was envisioned, designed, stocked, and staffed with one mission in mind: To bring you great beer. What is great beer? It’s a beer made with care and pride. It might be a local beer or one from across the globe. It could be your usual pint, or a beer that you had no idea existed. Every once in a while, it’s a beer you never would have ordered but for the fact that your server or bartender suggested it.

Since opening their first location in January 2008, they have been on an unending quest to ensure that their beer selection is the best in the world. Listed as one of the Top 50 bars in the US by Draft Magazine. But that’s just the start: Beer Advocate Magazine has ranked them as the #3 Beer Bar in the world, CraftBeer.com has rated them the #2 beer bar in the U.S., and in 2012 and 2013 RateBeer.com ranked HopCat – Grand Rapids as the #1 Brewpub in the United States.

Calhoun Construction Services served as a trade contractor performing all framing, drywall, acoustical ceiling, metal frames/doors and painting.

 

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Square Footage: N/A
Year Completed: 2016
Project Location:  Louisville, KY
Contract Type:  Trade Contractor

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Timeline Photos

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