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About Mike

Born and raised in New Jersey, I am the only child to a young, single mother. As an unexceptional student in my youth - more preoccupied with sports and friends - I learned many lessons from every success and failure. Those lessons continued at Alfred University in western New York, where I paid my way through school with student loans and working while a full-time student, eventually graduating in 1999 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Since 2016, I have had the honor of serving on Alfred University's Board of Trustees.

Whether it was pursuing my degree, grinding out a win on the rugby pitch with my teammates, or digging trenches for gas lines in the hot and humid New Jersey summers to afford the next year's tuition shortfall, it took grit and tenacity to get to where I am today. I met my wife Jen towards the end of college in New Jersey, we married in 2000, and moved to Silver Spring, MD, to start our careers and a family with three great kids.

I found my way into the construction industry in 2001 and thus began a 23-year career managing large, complex projects. Each new assignment brought more responsibility - larger teams, bigger budgets, tighter schedules. During that journey, I had the privilege of working with thousands of amazing people - many who are still dear friends - on dozens of projects with a net value of almost $7B. These included some of our country's most incredible facilities like the NIH, the new Walter Reed, the Penn Pavilion, and the Utah Data Center, which brought me and my family to Utah in 2011.

Walter Reed NMMC
Penn Medicine 'The Pavilion'

After moving here, we immediately fell in love with Utah and all it has to offer. Our kids have been active in various youth sports, Jen is now a Mountain Host at Snowbird where we are spoiled by the greatest snow on earth - yes, the Utah Office of Tourism has always been right on this one! - and we've both coached youth lacrosse. My oldest son works locally for Hunt Electric, my daughter is a freshman in the business school at Ole Miss, and my youngest will be a freshman in high school next fall.


Why Mike

Having stepped away from general contracting in 2023, I now take my experience and lessons learned from delivering those projects to assist and guide owners and general contractors as a consultant through the many risks their projects will experience during the planning, design, construction, activation, and operational stages.

My education as an engineer and my career as a construction manager has taught me the skills we need in this At-Large seat:

  • Understanding massive budgets.
  • Negotiating large contracts, then holding parties accountable for their deliverables.
  • Working with large groups of people with different expertise and motivating them to achieve a common goal.
  • Evaluating existing systems and revising them for efficiency and improved performance.
  • Retiring antiquated systems, or adapting a model that isn't scalable, because pointing to 'business as usual' is not a plan.
  • Developing and mentoring future leaders.

It's never easy making the leap from being a task-oriented doer to leader, but I found my path by making those around me excel. Great leadership begets new leaders who first want to succeed on your behalf and then carve their own path. Further, work, life, and even public service is rarely about the simple binary choices of yes/no or win/lose or right/wrong, so understanding how to evaluate any issue before jumping to forgone conclusions is critical.

Successful outcomes to complex issues are mostly found in the vast gray area that lies between the ideologies at either end. It takes active listening, critical thinking skills, and guts  to consider all the variables and potential outcomes, be comfortable taking calculated risks, and eventually find that '3rd Right Answer' to move us all forward with no regrets.

These are the same guiding principles I will follow as your At-Large representative on the County Council, whether it's serving our growing population and workforce development, creating opportunities for the next generation, working to keep our air clean and the Great Salt Lake full, addressing our critical infrastructure concerns, or reigning in ridiculous spending.

Mike Carey for Salt Lake County Council
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