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As the clouds cleared following the destruction of Hurricane Ian, our hometown needed some heroes. Parts of the City of North Port were under about twelve feet of water, with many families trapped in their homes, and some of our major roadways had washed away. That’s when hometown heroes like Mike Halligan stepped up and shined, coordinating rescues and deploying resources to residents.

Mike also runs Halligan Design Production, a versatile fabrication shop right here in North Port. Our Economic Development team had the opportunity to meet Mike in his workshop at a recent North Port Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting event. Mike Halligan’s actions following Hurricane Ian exemplify what a hometown hero is.

Interview – Mike Halligan, Halligan Design Production

Tell us about your trade.

I grew up in northwest Oregon’s timber industry. My grandparents ran a cedar shake mill making cedar roofing shingles; my dad was a timber faller. Growing up around the mills, I fell in love with woodworking at an early age. I had some amazing shop teachers and mentors along the way. With that being said, we are predominantly a wood shop. We do, however, also work in custom metal work, LED work, vinyl, laser engraving, CNC, and so much more. We use all of these mediums to offer the highest quality product we can to our diverse pool of clients. We pride ourselves on having some of the best craftsmen in the world on our team.

As a new incoming business owner, what drew you to North Port?

Before moving to North Port, we did extensive research on where to move our business. Between the growth in the area and how welcoming Sarasota County and North Port are to businesses, we chose this City.

The Chamber also had a huge impact. Without question, the North Port Area Chamber single-handedly allowed us to hit the ground running and never skipped a beat. They are by far the most active and supportive chamber we have ever been associated with.

What was your experience with Hurricane Ian?

Hurricane Ian was life-changing for so many people, including me and my family. We chose to ride the storm out with some friends out in the Estates. Once the storm passed, we were fortunate enough to still have our house standing with minimal damage. My shop was also ok; it even had power.

Mike Halligan Performing Rescue

Halligan and his team performing late night rescues.

I have a history in Emergency Services and quickly saw that local agencies were stretched thin. I made sure my wife and kids were squared away and went to work helping wherever I could. We ended up using my shop as a rallying point for rescuers, linemen, and relief supplies.

There are countless stories of heroic acts happening around North Port and we are proud to have played a small role in helping out with some of those. Our City came together, along with so many people from out of the area and out-of-state, to make the best of a bad situation. We were able to help a substantial amount of people in North Port using our small little woodshop as a sort of base of operations.

Mike Halligan

Following Hurricane Ian, Mike Halligan went to work rescuing residents, clearing roads, and distributing relief supplies.

How would you describe your business?

Halligan Cutting Boards

Halligan Design Production Cutting Boards is a custom fabrication shop that does a little bit of everything, from one-off custom woodworking builds, to production runs of product displays, to experiential event displays.

My company aims to provide an unmatched level of service to our clients, no matter the scope of the project. Our goal is to bring the client’s ideas – no matter what they are – to reality.

We have done work for clients, big and small. I had the tragic honor of building a beautiful coffin for a five-month-old baby at one point; that was the most sentimental project I have worked on.

I also have been fortunate enough to do projects for large companies like Nike, Smirnoff, Dyson, BMW, and Facebook. The project I am proudest of is building commercial displays for Team USA Basketball for the 2016 Olympics.