5 questions with Todd Christianson

(Photo: LM Staff)
(Photo: LM Staff)

Todd Christianson

President and CEO, Titan LLC, Anchorage, Alaska

1. Tell me about Titan LLC and how you got into the business.

I’ve been in the business for 42 years coming up in May. I started like everyone else; with a broken-down lawn mower working out of my parent’s basement at age 18. I developed it into what it is today. We’re mostly construction. We’re looking at $10 million in sales this year. We’re having a lot of fun and I still enjoy it. We have about 45 different skill sets that we do including decks, paving and mostly residential work. Things have gone kaboom for us. We’re up 25 percent and we were up 30 percent the year before. I think it’s because of our ability to get labor. In Anchorage, there’s a labor crisis. We’re one of the few companies that recruit labor and management to Alaska.

2. Take me back to 1982, what did Titan look like back then?

I had just graduated from high school and me and a buddy were power-raking yards. We lived in a middle-class area, but we would go over to where all the doctors lived and we got a few customers. I moved away to play hockey, but I would come back in the summer and get back to it. I was lucky enough to get a Division I scholarship with my hometown team, the Anchorage SeaWolves. I ended up building my company and while I was a sophomore in college, I already had 15 employees.

3. Your company is in Anchorage, but where do you call home?

I live in Scottsdale, Ariz. I run my company from 4,000 miles away for eight months out of the year. I do go back to Anchorage for four months. It started 12 years ago. My kids were grown and I decided I needed a change. Anchorage is a great city, but I needed to get somewhere with sunshine and great weather. I was done with living in the snow, even though I work in the snow and ice removal business. I went to school at the University of Arizona my senior year. I always knew that I would go back. Another unique thing is, I found a special guy in Chris Dietrich, who runs our project management division from Miami.

I have an incredible team; Kevin Thompson has been with me for 37 years. We both bring different things to the table. My COO, Renee Davies-Ecklund, is also very special. She recently moved to Dallas to take care of her parents. It’s interesting that four out of the five on our leadership team are not in Alaska.

4. How many kids do you have and what do they do?

We’re a sports family. I played DI hockey. My sons both played college hockey and my daughter was a really good gymnast. She left at age 15 for Florida to compete there. I was a single parent for the most part. All three of my kids have worked for me from time to time. My oldest, Bryce, worked for me for 10 years, decided it wasn’t for him and now he’s looking for his next opportunity. My son Gage is a civil engineer and still works for me from time to time as a consultant. My daughter Kai works for me managing rental properties in Phoenix. She’s also a health and wellness coach. I’m really proud of them. They didn’t get a perfect mom and dad relationship growing up, but it says something about having your kids grow up with athletic teams … it takes a village.

5. What was it like when you had to guard future Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull?

It was my junior year and we were so excited to play Minnesota-Duluth. I don’t know why the coach decided to put me against him. I certainly wasn’t as good as he was. Basically, once the puck dropped, I jumped on his back and held him. He was on a 14-game goal-scoring streak. He finally looked me in the face and said, ‘Will you stop?’ My claim to fame is that I shut him down for two periods. We were tied going into the third, then they benched my line and he scored a couple of goals and they beat us.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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