Mike Surrey maybe did not fully appreciate them growing up, but he says he could not have asked for better role models than his parents.
Mike learned his work ethic and a sense of toughness and integrity from his father. Mike’s father was a steelworker. He worked his way up through the ranks at Newport (KY) Steel to eventually become the foreman, i.e., “the boss” of the melt shop, where the raw materials were melted into molten steel. “There was nothing easy about my dad’s job,” Mike says. “He worked shift work. He worked long hours. But he never complained. He was proud of his work, and he took pride in being a leader. I have great respect for how he worked and why he worked – to provide for his family.”
Not only was Mike’s father a steelworker, he was also Mike’s coach as he grew up playing sports, both football and baseball. As a coach, Mike’s father insisted that his teams play hard, play smart and have fun. “He was a great coach,” says Mike. “He was tough, but fair – always fair. If you were not trying hard or playing smart, he let you know about it. But he also was quick to praise you if you did things right. He was the same way as a father.”
When asked about his mother, Mike says, “What can I say. She was such a great mother – dedicated, caring, smart, fun. I had a great childhood, and I owe it all to her. She taught me the true meaning of family. I cannot imagine a person sacrificing more for their children than my mom did. Of course, she would tell you that she wishes she could have done more for her children, but I do not see how.”
After Mike left his home in Northern Kentucky to attend Centre College, sports continued to play a large role in his life. Mike played second base for four years at Centre, earning All-Conference honors. A highlight of his playing days on the Centre baseball team was playing along side his older brother for two years. His brother played shortstop and according to Mike, they made a pretty good double-play combination in the middle of the infield. Another highlight of Mike’s days at Centre was meeting the love of his life, his wife Marti. They have a son and a daughter, Nate and AnnaLucy.
Mike is an avid UK basketball and football fan. He watches every minute of every game. When Mike was in high school, he had the rare opportunity of meeting his childhood sports idol, UK basketball great Rex Chapman. Not only did Mike get to meet him, he and two of his friends got to play a 3-on-3 basketball game against Rex and two of his friends on a basketball court in Mike’s driveway. Rex was a pro basketball player at the time. Needless to say, Rex’s team won.
He’s happy with the career path he’s chosen in construction law at Graydon. He tries to use the lessons he has learned from his parents in his every day construction law practice. “I love the challenge. I love to compete. It’s not always easy and you are not always going to win, but I’d like to be thought of as someone who gives everything that I have – my talent, my time and my hard work to our clients to assist them in achieving success.”
Mike chairs Graydon's Construction Industry Group. He practices in all areas of construction law, including litigation, arbitration, mediation, dispute resolution, mechanic’s liens, insurance disputes and contract negotiation. He has pursued and defended claims for and against all of the primary participants involved in private and public construction projects, including owners, general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, suppliers, sureties and insurers. Mike also serves as the Chair of the Northern Kentucky Bar Association Construction Law Section and he is a member and frequent speaker at Allied Construction Industries.
Mike is an active participant in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Community. He also is a Board member and former President for New Perceptions, Inc., a non-profit corporation that assists mentally and physically disadvantaged children and adults.