Mike Hilborn

Mike Hilborn - A Business Owner Who Understands Second Chances 

July 17, 2023

There aren’t that many business owners in our community who see job applications from people who have been incarcerated or overcome drug addiction as an opportunity, but when it comes to offering second chances, Mike Hilborn gets it.  

That’s how VOA Community Justice Senior Director Chris Doege recently described Mike, the owner and founder of Roof to Deck Restoration.  

Mike’s business includes a wide variety of work, including home deck restoration, washing roofs and walls, washing trucks and maintaining parking lots. When it gets colder, Roof to Deck is getting increasingly involved in snow plowing and other winter activities. Mike employs about 45 fulltime workers and about a third of them have a history that includes justice system involvement and/or substance abuse. He expects to double his workforce in the next three years.

Mike is a regular and positive presence at VOA’s Community Relations Board meetings which are held at its Residential Reentry Centers. Beyond that though, Mike has hired many of the people VOA’s Community Justice Division, including Amicus, serves, offering steady year-round employment and opportunities for advancement. Mike is providing work opportunities with many local groups serving people with similar challenges and doesn’t see that door closing any time soon. 

“He’s demonstrated that he does believe in second chances,” Chris notes, adding that Mike’s not fazed when he sees the challenges some of his employees still struggle with.  “He gets it at a level that I appreciate,” Chris said. 

Mike recalls getting involved with people seeking second chances when he was starting in the business over 20 years ago and needed reliable workers. Another organization working with people who had substance abuse challenges or reentering community after incarceration happened to be located right down the street. 

“I'd come in here and I'd see all these guys just standing around playing basketball or whatever and I thought, ‘Isn't there somebody that could work who needs a job over there?’  So, I walked over and introduced myself.”  

After some initial success, Mike started actively pursuing relationships with many organizations and was eventually referred to VOA and Amicus. 

“We've just gotten some amazing people over the years. They made their mistake and now they just want to go to work,” Mike said.  

Mike acknowledged that not everyone works out, but he said the ratio of people who are succeeding after coming from reentry or substance abuse is about the same as those without those challenges. He said some just need a little more training.  

“They might start out washing trucks or cleaning decks, and you realize this guy is really smart. And then all of a sudden you're just like, we can put this guy in accounting. My attitude is that over a little bit of time, everyone shows you who they are.”  

Mike notes that his HR staff does due diligence, but he often doesn’t personally know who has a criminal record and who doesn’t.  

“Some of the best people we've ever had, by far, came from that. And it's like, if we didn't have those people, we wouldn't be growing the way we are,” Mike said. 

“Look, we're the United States of America. We're a society that doesn’t throw people away here. We need everybody. So, you gotta give people an opportunity.” 

Thanks for leading the way, Mike!