ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mike Mechenbier has always appreciated a stiff challenge.
Transforming what was essentially a dumping ground outside of Belen into a pecan orchard seems a little nuts, but he did it anyway.
Repairing a collapsed, 6-foot-wide sewer line that serves most of Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights is probably even more complicated than it sounds and yet Mechenbier and his crew once pulled that off, too.
“I love jobs like that, that nobody can figure out,” he says.
|THE BASICS: Born Mike Mechenbier on April 3, 1953, in Albuquerque; bachelor’s in business management from New Mexico State University; married to Kathy since Aug. 4, 1979; adult daughters Jessica Richardson, Abby Eden, Katie Mechenbier and Emily Mechenbier; Jack Russel terrier named Hoss.
POSITION: Owner of Sundance Mechanical and Utility Corp. and a ranch, farm and feed lot; board member for El Ranchito de los Niños; board member for New Mexico Bank & Trust.
WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Mechenbier is completely computer illiterate, having given up on them as a college student in the 1970s. He says the punched-card programming of yore was so frustrating that he decided to abandon computers forever.
“I swore if my employment depended on a computer, I would find something else to do,” he says.
That means he doesn’t surf the Internet or know how to check email. He says he once “caught hell” from his assistant for unplugging her computer in a misguided attempt to shut it down.
Mechenbier says he hates the impersonal nature of the digital age and won’t even use his cellphone to send text messages because he thinks it prevents a true connection.
“I love being around people, talking to people, and that’s one thing that’s truly missing in today’s world,” he says. “People would rather text or email than hear somebody’s voice.”
Mechenbier — a jack-of-many-trades who ranches, farms and owns Sundance Mechanical & Utility Corp. — has been testing the bounds of his ingenuity since childhood.