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Transforming Construction Culture Through Mental Health Advocacy with Mike Nieto

Transforming Construction Culture Through Mental Health Advocacy with Mike Nieto

Jun 07, 2024

Welcome back, everyone, to the Wellness Center Creators podcast. Today, we have Anna joining us as co-host and our special guest, Mike Nieto, a former construction company owner turned mental health advocate. Mike shares his fascinating journey from running a construction business to founding a nonprofit dedicated to mental health awareness in the construction industry.

Mike opens up about his career in construction, the challenges he faced, and the pivotal moments that led him to prioritize mental health. He discusses the high incidence of suicide in the construction industry and his efforts to provide therapy and support for his employees through his nonprofit, Dig Deep. Mike's story is a testament to the power of vulnerability and the importance of creating a safe and supportive work environment.

"What I found over my career was that I enjoyed building people more than I enjoyed building projects."

We also delve into Mike's personal experiences with mental health and alternative therapies, including acupuncture, and how these have influenced his approach to leadership and wellness. Mike's passion for helping others and his commitment to making a difference in the construction industry are truly inspiring.

"I want to see the men and women of construction getting really good access to whether it's acupuncture, mental health services, naturopathic doctors, all these different kinds of modalities that were never talked about."

Whether you're a business owner, a wellness professional, or someone interested in mental health advocacy, this episode is packed with valuable insights and heartfelt stories. Tune in to learn more about Mike's third act and his vision for a healthier, more supportive construction industry.

- 00:25 - Mike Nieto has worked in the construction industry mostly all of his adult life

- 02:22 - A big part of your story is how passionate you are about mental health

- 10:04 - 53 out of every hundred thousand workers in construction commit suicide

- 14:59 - Mike M. is starting a nonprofit to help construction workers get help

- 17:53 - Mike talked about creating a culture of safety in the workplace

- 23:59 - Mike shares how acupuncture has impacted his life physically and mentally

- 28:57 - Mike Nieto talks about the third act of his life

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About Mike Nieto

Mike Nieto was born and raised in Las Vegas NV. Mike spent his early years in his career working for Civil Engineering firms as a Land Surveyor. He learned a great deal about how projects begin and get completed. His curious nature gave him the drive and determination to learn many things about development and construction.

After several years of working in the engineering industry he would eventually move on to work for General Contractors. He played a key role in the construction of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a young Party Chief and working with contractors to build the largest project in the Las Vegas Valley. 

Upon leaving Las Vegas and moving to the PNW he worked for a small engineering firm in Medford Oregon until his next chapter was to begin. After working for engineering firms, he found himself diving into the world of heavy construction as a grade setter and building highways in Oregon. This would later lead him to digging deep in the downtown Portland area in the construction of several large building projects. The experience he gained here would eventually have him graduate to Superintendant and build many successful project around the Pacific NW.

After roughly seven years of working for others in the Heavy Civil Construction industry he deemed his purpose was to open his own firm. His dedication to the construction world drew him to do things differently and he knew the only way to do that was on his own. His desire to work with others differently than he had previously experienced drove him to find new ways to help the people building these important construction projects. 

Mikes curiosity about people lead him to try many things to help build the people on his team. This included getting people the help they needed to build a successful life. These small wins motivated him even more to deeper with his team and his investment. 

In 2017 he decided it was time to start his own non profit dedicated to helping the people in the construction industry. He began Dig Deep and helped his team and others to get mental health into their lives. The stories of the people he worked with were amazing and tragic all at the same time. He knew these people were resilient and amazing people. Sometimes their struggles affected their work and he knew there was a better way. 

Over the next several years he dug deeper in himself and others to inspire others to rebuild the foundations of their lives through therapy, books, education, and support. The benefits he witnessed only strengthened his determination to help the construction industry in an area where it needed it most. 

After nearly twenty years in construction Mike closed his company is now currently pursuing a life that will be strictly aimed and at helping solve the suicide epidemic in construction. His curiosity and problem solving skills have enabled him to tackle some of the most difficult things in life.  His love of people and the relationships in life are is motivation to always seek better ways and outcomes to challenging problems.

Mikes other accolades include many awards including SBA Small Business person of the year, SBA 8a Graduate of the year for region 6. Receiving multiple outstanding project awards and serving as President of the SWCA as well as Executive Board Member for ICC. He is mission oriented to help the people in his community.

When Mike is not following his passion for people he enjoys spending time riding with his son and racing motorcycles across the west coast. His passion for life and people drive him daily to make this world a better place for future generations to come. He welcomes a challenge and knows his number one purpose is to serve others.

Mike’s Links

About Anna Rudel

Anna Rudel, L. Ac is the owner and founder of Lokahi Acupuncture Clinic in San Jose California, founded in 2003. Anna is a master organizer and clinician, and as a Coach she specializes in working with Clinic Owners in the state of California, and Acupuncturists and Acupuncture Clinic Owners, or groups wanting to add Acupuncture worldwide, as well as teams that need support with employee retention and satisfaction. Born in the UK, Anna has traveled extensively in Asia and now has a thriving multi-practitioner clinic in the US!

Anna's Website and Links

About Kendall Hagensen

Kendall is a Somatic Mental Health Therapist, Multidisciplinary Clinic Owner and Business Coach. She specializes in, and is passionate about, working with healthcare professionals to create the businesses of their dreams. Big goals always have a psychological component beneath the surface, so Kendall uses her background in Somatic Psychotherapy and EMDR Therapy mixed with Business Coaching tools to help clients develop a healthy relationship with their business and their strength as a leader. 

As someone who lives with a chronic illness herself, Kendall feels that health happens best within community, which is why she takes a holistic, integrative, and collaborative wellness approach to her personal and professional life.

Kendall’s Web/Social Links