Jacob Wadlington joins EMJ Construction

EMJ Corporation is pleased to welcome Jacob Wadlington, Director of Business Development.

Jacob is based in the Dallas office and will report to the Senior Vice President of Business Development. In his role, he will work closely with the Executive Vice President and the Dallas team to build client relationships and pursue new work.

Jacob has extensive experience in the real estate and construction industries and brings strong relationships with clients in a variety of real estate market sectors throughout Texas. Previously, Jacob led business development efforts for an engineering firm.

Jacob earned a Bachelor of Science from Lipscomb University and a Masters of Science from Texas Christian University. He lives in Coppell, Texas, with his wife, Sara and two sons Clark and Peter.

Welcome to the team, Jacob!

Why we ask our employees funny questions

At EMJ, we talk a lot about our purpose, to be people serving people, and delivering exceptional construction experiences to our clients. We know we can’t do that without fully engaged employees who are enthusiastic about and committed to their work.

To make sure we’re developing our employees, we partnered with Gallup, a performance-management consulting firm. Through Gallup, we conduct a regular Annual Employee Engagement Survey, which both engages EMJ employees through feedback and analyzes present engagement through a simple, 12-question survey.

“We partner with Gallup because its surveys are backed by decades of research that prove those 12 questions have direct impact on business outcomes,” said Nicole Gaiser, Vice President of People, EMJ. “The survey allows managers and employees to focus on workplace elements they can directly impact and improve, and that help us deliver our strategic plan.”

One of the questions that Gallup asks our people is, “Do you have a best friend at work?” That can seem like a funny question, and we’ve had some lively discussion about it. But, this article from Quartz at Work, Parents need best friends at work the most, puts it in context. Here are a couple of our favorite excerpts:

“Best friends have an impact on employee engagement that no other kind of friend does.

“Managers can help navigate work issues. Spouses can help think through family stuff. But only a best friend at work can do both, with an abiding concern for the person struggling to sort it all out.

“So to spur genuine friendships, concentrate on engagement. Do it for your company—engaged workers are much more productive and profitable. Do it to meet your own goals—people with best friends at work are better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, and get hurt on the job less often. And, maybe, do it for your own social well-being. After all, the best friend relationship you spark may be your own.”

We spend time talking to our employees and asking them funny questions because the answers provide insight into our culture that directly correlates to client experience, productivity and profitability. All of which allows us to deliver unique value to our clients, partners and colleagues.

Click here to learn more about how all of this translates into a great Client Experience. Or, visit our Open Positions page to explore a career at EMJ and how to be a part of our team.

Trust: The Foundation of Partnerships and Mutual Success

Frei explains how to build trust in this TED Talk.

“Trust is the foundation for everything we do,” says Frances Frei, Harvard Business School professor, in a recent TED Talk. “If we can learn to trust one another, we can have unprecedented human progress.” Trust is defined as “the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone.”

Frei explains that trustworthy relationships are built on three pillars: authenticity, competence and empathy; we have to believe the trustworthy person is being truthful with us, has the ability to do what we expect of them, and has our best interests at heart. These characteristics take time to build between people, and if any of these traits falter, trust is compromised.

Empathy is the most challenging of the three, she says, because “people just don’t believe that we’re mostly in it for them.” And, that uncertainty is justified; we are busy with various demands of our time, so it’s easy to forget to put forth the effort that empathy requires. Further, most of us have had past experiences causing us to mistrust today.

Because of this natural apprehension, EMJ knows we have to set the bar higher with our transparency and delivery to clients.

 

We recognize the value of being trustworthy and hold it as one of our three core values, defining it as “being truthful with ourselves and accountable and work to be good stewards for our clients.”

 

We know that trustworthiness can be the factor that leads customers to work with the same construction organization over and over. We also know that focusing on our client’s goals and serving on their behalf is the only way to ensure mutual success and longevity of the relationship.

“There is a historical mistrust in our industry that we are working very hard to eliminate,” said Burt Odom, CEO and President of EMJ Corporation. “When our teams put others first and are transparent, everyone wins. We may not be awarded every job because we don’t make promises we can’t keep. But when we commit to a partnership, our clients receive a facility that achieves their goals, and we build a trusting relationship that we expect to last.”

 

EMJ’s purpose is to be people serving people, and it starts with showing clients, partners and colleagues that we can be trusted to provide what we say we’ll do when we say we’ll do it. Like Frei said, “If we want others to trust us, the first step is to be trustworthy.”

Watch Frances Frei’s full TED Talk here.

Diverse career path leads Pfeiffer to EMJ

EMJ’s people are the building blocks of the company. Their personalities, skills and past experiences are large parts of what make the company great. We are proud of each member of the team and enjoy sharing their stories.

EMJ Construction Project Manager Anita Pfeiffer found success in many different arenas before finding a home at EMJ Corporation.

Born and raised in Allentown, Pa., Pfeiffer began exploring different career options while attending Cedar Crest College in her hometown.

She worked for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., a manufacturer of industrial gases, and then as a paralegal at a law firm in New York. After a couple of years in the legal field, Pfeiffer decided to pursue a new challenge and enter the retail industry.

Pfeiffer worked as a district manager for a number of years, then transitioned to the restaurant business, where she worked with a private owner to manage numerous locations.

She began noticing that her responsibilities in the retail and restaurant industries aligned closely with the responsibilities associated with a career in construction.

“In both industries, I worked closely with the general contractor to ensure stores would be ready for timely turnover,” Pfeiffer said. “The responsibilities were extremely similar, which made the transition to construction a smooth one.”

With the help of her brother, EMJ Lead Superintendent Greg Pfeuffer, she dove into a construction career. After gaining nine years of experience as a superintendent, she joined EMJ as a Project Manager in November 2014. She says EMJ presented a perfect opportunity to utilize her combined skills that she’d gained from years in other industries.

“I enjoy the empowerment and autonomy that I am granted in order to get my job done,” Anita says. “I love having numerous balls in the air and at the end of the day or week feel success through the dedication and collaboration of the team.”

From a young age, Pfeiffer was inspired by her mother, Alice Pfeiffer, who instilled in her the values she carries with her today.

“She was always concerned about others, and she led by example,” Pfeiffer said. “She taught me to be dedicated, determined, responsible, trustworthy, and courageous in her own way.”

Pfeiffer has followed in her mother’s footsteps, leading by example to her colleagues at EMJ. She was recently awarded a Jolley for Outstanding Performance, the corporation’s highest honor for an individual employee, at EMJ’s 50th anniversary meeting.

Pfeiffer sees many great opportunities in her role, but specifically appreciates the chance to craft and mentor the next generation.

“Nothing is more rewarding than helping those around you achieve success,” Pfeiffer said. “All my success has stemmed from the tremendous people around me, so it’s nice to return the favor to future generations.”

 

Related articles:

Employees honored for Outstanding Performance

Podcast: Wegmans delivered in only 33 weeks

In 2016, EMJ launched the Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence to recognize exceptional work within the family of companies. The “Jolleys,” named in memory of EMJ’s founder, are presented in three categories: Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Servant Leadership and Outstanding Project.

 

In this five-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Outstanding Project recipients and why they were selected for these awards. Directors and Vice Presidents of the corporation nominate for Outstanding Project, which is given to a project team that delivered an exceptional client experience, added value, overcame challenges, demonstrated exemplary planning and execution, and built client relationships.

This year, EMJ recognized five projects with this award:

Signal Mill, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tranquillity 8 Solar, Fresno County, Calif.
West Towne Marketplace, El Paso, Texas
Market City Center, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Wegmans Food Market, Medford, Mass.

In this final blog of the series, we’re featuring the team behind Wegmans Food Market in Medford, Mass., in a ten-minute Ground Up podcast.


 

Before beginning work on Wegmans, EMJ’s Boston team managed the demolition of Meadow Glen Mall, a 200,000-square-foot, 35-year-old shopping center, to make way for the 120,000-square-foot grocery store.

During preconstruction, the team created a comprehensive quality management plan which aligned each project team member from day one. They maintained a consistent open line of communication and made sure they understood the client’s goals to bring the project to a successful completion.

The project team faced challenges with the structural steel slab and poor soil conditions from the earliest phase of the project. In addition, the client requested several design changes throughout the project, which the team responded to quickly, positively, and efficiently.

The day of the grand opening, Colleen Wegman, President of Wegmans, thanked the team profusely and said this was the most successful outside vendor delivery in the history of their program, reflecting how the team delivered an exceptional client experience.

The project now holds the quickest start-to-finish execution, at 33 weeks, of any Wegmans project ever built, which has led to further negotiated work and current projects in N.Y., Va., and Mass.

Congratulations to all members of the project team:

Amy Angus, Assistant Project Manager
Neal Fontana, Senior Preconstruction Manager
Michael Fragassi, Lead Superintendent
Bruce Tassone, Senior Project Manager
Tania Nicholson, Project Accountant

 

Related articles

Boston celebrates opening of Wegmans at Meadow Glen

Connors’ construction roots create path for career success

EMJ’s people are the building blocks of the company. Their personalities, skills and past experiences are large parts of what make the company great. We are proud of each member of the team and enjoy sharing their stories.

Growing up in Albuquerque, Matthew Connors, Project Manager for EMJ Construction Dallas, was raised around construction. His grandfather was a stonemason, and his father had his electrical license, so he often assisted with renovation work when he was out of school for the summer.

Connors’ father introduced him and his four siblings to grit and independence from a young age, even managing them in expanding their one-bedroom residence into a spacious 2,800-square-foot house.

“My father is the most impactful mentor I’ve ever had,” he says. “He’s always taught us that if somebody has figured out how to do something in this world, we have the capacity to do that, too.”

The ambition and can-do attitude instilled by his father led Connors toward one of the most competitive and cutthroat industries: acting. He received a full scholarship to the University of New Mexico to pursue a degree in theatre. Once he graduated, he worked with an agent and auditioned for various roles throughout California and New Mexico, landing several professional acting jobs.

Though still pursuing performance, Connors’ passion for construction never left him. In 2005, his father expressed interest in having his own construction company, so Connors and his brother moved back to Albuquerque to make that dream a reality. He built his family’s first home with his own hands in 2008, which he defines as the project he’s most proud of.

“The artistic side of me has always loved construction because it’s very creative,” he says. “You get to literally create a structure out of nothing. I enjoy taking family and friends to a site that I was a part of building—something that didn’t exist before.”

For nine years, Connors, his brother and father managed their own successful construction business. Then, in 2014, Matthew’s wife, Michele, was offered a job opportunity in Dallas. His father was ready to retire, and after some soul-searching, Connors and his family uprooted their lives and moved to Texas.

Connors and Superintendent Denver Moody discuss plans for an upcoming HEB grocery project.

 

Soon after settling in, he heard about EMJ through one of his wife’s coworkers and decided to reach out. During the interview process, Connors fell in love with EMJ’s culture. “It mirrored so much of our family-owned business,” he says. Five years later, he still feels the culture of serving at EMJ is one of the company’s greatest distinctions.

“I think the biggest piece of serving is providing for everyone around you,” he says. “It’s about getting to know people on a personal level and understanding what their needs are so you can support them in a way they may not expect.”

Connors is a living example of that level of service. Last year, he was awarded EMJ’s highest honor, the peer-nominated “Jolley for Outstanding Performance,” for his work serving as Walmart’s client executive and building a strong relationship over the course of four projects.

Thank you, Matthew, for your hard work and exemplifying our EMJ purpose to be “people serving people.” We are glad you are a part of our family.

 

To learn more about EMJ’s work and career opportunities at EMJ, visit our Projects gallery and Careers page.

EMJ Scholarship awarded to six deserving students

In 2007, the Edgar M. Jolley Memorial Scholarship was established to assist eligible children of employees in completing their education.

 

The goal of the scholarship is to reward students who embody the spirit of EMJ’s servant leadership culture through their service to their peers and communities. The fund provides an opportunity for students who excel in both academics and community involvement.

This year, EMJ awarded six deserving students with scholarships:

Daniel Connors is the son of  Project Manager Matthew Connors, EMJ Construction Dallas. Daniel is currently a junior at Texas State University. He is a microbiology major with a minor in biochemistry. He is in the process of applying to medical school, hoping to become a physician.

Daniel works two jobs during the school year. He is a cook at Joe’s Café in San Marcos, and he teaches a general chemistry lab as a University Staff Member. In his free time, he volunteers with the Texas State University Medical Explorers.

 

 

Harper DeLoach is the son of EMJ Business Development Manager Cindy DeLoach. Harper will attend the University of Texas in the fall to major in mechanical engineering. A graduate of Coppell High School, he is a member of the National Honor Society, Young Men’s Service League, Night for Nepal and DECA. He also earned the Engineering Math Academic Award and finished 3rd place in the science fair.

Harper enjoys playing lacrosse and served as captain of the Coppell varsity team. He also founded and co-owns FlyBy Video Productions, a company that captures drone photos for company websites and advertisements.

 

 

Claire Johnson is the daughter of Boyd Waldrep, Manager of Talent Acquisition & Development at Signal Energy. Claire is a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, studying theater education. She has been an active participant in Chattanooga local theater, cast in numerous musicals including Hairspray, Chicago and Oklahoma.

Claire graduates in the spring of 2020 and hopes to be a middle school or high school teacher. She is grateful for the opportunities provided by the EMJ Scholarship and is excited to see what she will accomplish through it.

 

 

 

Savannah Ross is the daughter of EMJ IT Systems Administrator Jay Ross. Savannah is a senior at RossAcademy of Higher Learning in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Home-schooled since kindergarten, she has excelled in both photography and public speaking. In the fall, she will be attending Chattanooga State in Chattanooga, where she plans to study digital media and production.

 

 

 

 

Colton Smith is the son of Audra Smith, Scheduler at Signal Energy. Colton is a sophomore at The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Criminal Justice.

Colton is on the Men’s Lacrosse Team at UTC and is part of the Honors Program.  He will be a first year Resident Assistant (RA) this fall.

Colton’s goals and plans for the future are not yet fully decided, but he hopes to pursue a career in applications development with his degree.

 

 

 

Jonathan York, son of Signal Energy Superintendent Mike York, is a 2018 graduate of Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn. He was the President of the National Technical Honor Society, an active member of the National Honor Society, and a four-year member of the marching band.

This fall, Jonathan will attend Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn. He is planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. After college, he aspires to design and build bridges and open his own civil engineering firm.

 

 

Congratulations to all our talented recipients, and best wishes for the future!

Market City Center named Outstanding Project

In 2016, EMJ launched the Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence to recognize exceptional work within the family of companies. The “Jolleys,” named in memory of EMJ’s founder, are presented in three categories: Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Servant Leadership and Outstanding Project.

 

 

In this five-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Outstanding Project recipients and why they were selected for these awards. Directors and Vice Presidents of the corporation nominate for Outstanding Project, which is given to a project team that delivered an exceptional client experience, added value, overcame challenges, demonstrated exemplary planning and execution, and built client relationships.

This year, EMJ recognized five projects with this award:

Signal Mill, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tranquillity 8 Solar, Fresno County, Calif.
West Towne Marketplace, El Paso, Texas
Market City Center, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Wegmans, Medford, Mass.

In the coming weeks, we will highlight each project and the team that brought it to life on the blog. This week, we’re featuring Market City Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Market City Center is the highest structure built in Chattanooga since 1972 and is located between three downtown buildings on bustling Market Street.

The team generated very detailed delivery and staging plans to ensure that materials and manpower could easily access the site with minimal impact to the downtown area. When faced with schedule challenges, they worked collaboratively to tackle these issues with minimal impact to the owner.

By proactively utilizing construction technology, such as BIM Modeling, the team was able to identify clashes within the building system and inform the subcontractors prior to installation. This fostered collaboration, mitigated numerous changes, and helped maintain the overall schedule.

The team also fostered a trusting relationship with the local municipalities to ensure that inspections were timely and the work was ready when inspectors arrived on site. This helped maintain the project schedule while ensuring that it was code compliant.

“The scope and pressure of Market City Center was extremely unique because of the downtown location, and this team went above and beyond to serve not only the client, but the city and its residents, as well,” said Jack Bowen, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Chattanooga.

This project started out as a select build project with no past relationship with the owner. Through the team’s efforts and the project’s success, the team is discussing future projects with the owner.

Congratulations to all members of the project team:

Taylor Copeland, Project Engineer
Neil Forell, Level II Superintendent
Gary Gibson, Director of Construction
Chris Grannan, VP of Preconstruction
Billy Kile, Warranty Manager
Lance Lindsey, Lead Superintdent
Robert Mazza, Project Engineer
Alex Miller, VP of Preconstruction
Zane Rice, Level I Superintendent
James Williams, Director of Construction
Jonathon Woolsey, Project Engineer

Related articles:

Market City Center opens in Chattanooga

Technology’s impact on an urban mixed-use project 

Chattanooga leaders tour job site at 728 Market

West Towne Marketplace named Outstanding Project

In 2016, EMJ launched the Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence to recognize exceptional work within the family of companies. The “Jolleys,” named in memory of EMJ’s founder, are presented in three categories: Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Servant Leadership and Outstanding Project.

 

In this five-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Outstanding Project recipients and why they were selected for these awards. Directors and Vice Presidents of the corporation nominate for Outstanding Project, which is given to a project team that delivered an exceptional client experience, added value, overcame challenges, demonstrated exemplary planning and execution, and built client relationships.

This year, EMJ recognized five projects with this award:

Signal Mill, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tranquillity 8 Solar, Fresno County, Calif.
West Towne Marketplace, El Paso, Texas
Market City Center, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Wegmans, Medford, Mass.

In the coming weeks, we will highlight each project and the team that brought it to life on the blog. This week, we’re featuring West Towne Marketplace in El Paso, Texas.

West Towne Marketplace is a 500,000-square-foot open-air retail development on 63 acres that EMJ Construction Dallas built for River Oaks Properties, Ltd.

The Dallas team performed all site work and constructed 320,837 square feet of retail space, including build-outs for TJ Maxx, PetSmart and Rack Room. Meanwhile the Chattanooga team of EMJ Construction built the Cabela’s store on the property.

Challenges on West Towne Marketplace could have led to setbacks, but instead, the Dallas team led all project stakeholders to develop creative solutions to save the owner time, money, and even open early.

The team built 16 buildings on a 68-acre site within only 5 months, allowing tenants to occupy buildings and bring in revenue well ahead of schedule.

 

The team started the project proactively by creating a quality management plan and holding meetings to define roles and responsibilities throughout the project. They worked cohesively together and actively participated through various plan reviews, all-team meetings, buyout meetings, and preconstruction meetings.

The original design called for cast-in-place culvert, and the team coached the design team to go pre-cast, which saved the owner time and money.

The client expressed satisfaction with the team’s coordination, passion, accountability, and delivery of their projects and has since awarded the team an additional office building project.

Congratulations to the team from West Towne Marketplace!

Scott Finney, Senior Superintendent
Cody Shulze, Project Manager
Heath Wilson, Director of Construction
Mike Williams, Level II Superintendent
Mike Crouse, Senior Superintendent
Matt Griser, Director of Preconstruction
Sheila Nazario-Thomas, Administrative Assistant
Suzanna Trent, Administrative Assistant
Valerie Santoy, Administrative Assistant

Related stories:

West Towne Marketplace opens in El Paso

Brookhaven Village team shines on Texas community

Tom Rue, Blake Kaylor and Tom Zylstra of EMJ Construction Special Projects are living examples of EMJ’s values as exhibited through their work at the start of the Brookhaven Village project earlier this year.

Brookhaven Village, a retail project in Addison, Texas, required demolition of five buildings prior to construction of the new development. One of these buildings was a daycare with approximately $50,000 worth of playground equipment. Rue, Superintendent on the project, spoke with Kaylor, Senior Project Manager, and Zylstra, Project Engineer, about opportunities for the equipment.

“My first thought was, ‘We need to find someone who can use this,’” said Rue. “I was not going to let something that could bring great joy be demolished in a landfill—if I could help it.”

Seeing an opportunity to serve, the team made it their mission to find a new home for the equipment. Rue called more than a dozen Addison churches before finally speaking with a local pastor, who gratefully volunteered his congregation to move the playground and reinstall it on their church grounds. By the end of the week, the playground equipment had been moved to its new home—saving the client time and money and providing great value to the church.

The team also reached out to the local police department and offered the soon-to-be demolished structures up for training. The Addison SWAT and Special Tactical Unit took him up on the offer.

Rue, Kaylor and Zylstra worked together to coordinate the demo schedule, allowing the SWAT team to use the facility for tactical training. The team used the facility to train on everything from blowing up doors with explosive charges to hostage negotiations.

The Addison SWAT team prepares for tactical training on the Brookhaven Village site.

 

“At EMJ, we promote core values of grit, trustworthiness and selflessness, and this team is a testament to these principles, serving not only the client, but going above and beyond for the residents of Addison,” said Doug Martin, President of EMJ Construction.

Sometimes, the project at hand is just the beginning. Thank you, Tom, Blake and Tom, for your selflessness on this project and for representing all that EMJ stands for!