EMJ Serves The Chattanooga Community Kitchen

EMJ’s Chattanooga employees took over the Chattanooga Community Kitchen  (CCK) to share the Christmas spirit.

“We love the mission of the Kitchen, which is to meet the most basic needs of hungry, homeless and vulnerable people in our community, while offering a clear path to self-sufficiency,” said Tina Brogdon, who serves as EMJ’s liaison with the Kitchen.

This was the seventh consecutive year EMJ hosted a Christmas party for the clients and employees of the Kitchen. EMJ partners with the Kitchen because it allows employees to support a great cause through service.

EMJ employees tooks shifts decorating the Kitchen, cooking and serving meals, and making phone calls to ask for donations for the organization. The team prepared and served nearly 600 meals.

The kitchen offers a variety of services to its clients. Through all of the services, it seeks to satisfy the spiritual and physical hunger of people in Chattanooga. There are no fees or requirements for receiving the Kitchen’s services; instead, they are offered out of love and compassion.

“Those who have been given great gifts have greater responsibilities,” said Brogdon.” We appreciate the Kitchen and are humbled to help in a very small way.”

The Community Kitchen relies volunteer support to accomplish its mission. Groups and individual volunteers are needed year-round. You may sign up to volunteer here, or by emailing volunteer@homelesschattanooga.org.

Signal Energy Australia to build 333MW Darlington Point Solar Plant

The Australian subsidiary of Signal Energy, a member of the EMJ family of companies, has been selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to build the 333MWdc/275MWac Darlington Point Solar Plant in western New South Wales, Australia.

The Australian subsidiary of  Signal Energy, a member of the EMJ family of companies, has been selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to build the 333MWdc/275MWac Darlington Point Solar Plant in western New South Wales, Australia.

This is Signal’s second project in Australia, and when completed, it will be the largest solar project in the country, producing enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 115,000 NSW homes and displacing more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This is Signal Energy Australia’s second partnership with Canadian Solar, Inc. who will supply the solar modules for the project.

 “We are extremely pleased that Edify Energy and Octopus Investments selected us to construct the Darlington Point project,” said Greg Pawson, President of Signal Energy, “Edify’s track record of success in Australia, collaboration, and focus on quality makes them an ideal customer to work with. Octopus brings a wealth of solar investment experience from Europe and we look forward to building our relationship with them.”

Construction starts in March 2019 and will be complete in 2020. The solar plant will be built on approximately 2,000 acres near Darlington Point, New South Wales, Australia. Over 820,000 of Canadian Solar’s 1500V high efficiency HiKu (CS3W-P) will be installed on single-axis tracking systems.

  “We are delighted to be selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to provide EPC services together with Signal Energy and to supply our high efficiency and industry-leading 1500V and 400W multi-crystalline solar modules to this large-scale solar power plant,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. “Our work with Darlington Point Solar Farm further demonstrates our strengths as a systems solutions provider with global experience. We are committed to work closely with local Australian communities in creating new jobs and to provide customers in Australia with affordable and reliable solar energy.”

Signal Energy, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., is a leading full service design/build contractor providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services for utility-scale renewable energy projects. Signal Energy is the renewable energy subsidiary of EMJ Corporation. Signal Energy Australia opened January 2018 and is headquartered in Sydney. For more information about Signal’s recent projects, visit Darlington Point Solar Farm or Finley Solar Farm.

Signal Energy to proceed on Finley Solar Farm in Australia

Signal Energy, a member of the EMJ family of companies, will soon begin work on Finley Solar Farm in southeastern Australia. The project is being developed by one of Australia’s leading renewable energy developers, ESCO Pacific.

According a recent story in PV Magazine Australia, the development indicates that there continues to be a substantial appetite for renewable energy investments in Australia from international investors.

“Achieving financial close on our Finley Solar Farm is a fantastic outcome for ESCO Pacific, bringing our developed capacity to nearly 500 MWp of solar in Australia,” said Steven Rademaker, Chief Executive Officer of ESCO Pacific.

The ​133 MW project is in southeastern Australia, near Melbourne and Sydney. It is slated to begin this month and will feature 500,000 solar panels, which will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 60,000 homes.

Signal Energy’s role on the project includes engineering, procurement and construction as well as a two-year operations and maintenance contract. The estimated date of completion is October 2019.

Finley Solar AustraliaRecently, ESCO Pacific and Signal Energy held a job fair and community event on September 20th in preparation for construction. Read more about the Finley Solar Farm project here.

Alpha + Inwood project slated to begin early next year

This week, the EMJ Construction project team hit several milestones in planning and development stages of the Alpha + Inwood project, which is slated to begin early next year.

The massive mixed-use development is located at Alpha and Inwood roads, directly west of the Galleria Dallas and the Dallas North Tollway. The development will consist of a hotel, office building, retail spaces and apartments.

This is a flagship project for EMJ Construction, who is partnering with Bridgeview Real Estate, Transition Development, O’Brien Architecture and Danny Forester Design Studios.

Check out this animated rendering of the project.

To read more, visit Dallas News .


The universal principles of client experience 

This August, my wife and I welcomed our third son. After his arrival, I was charged with bringing our two oldest sons to the hospital to see their mom and meet their new brother. Little did I know that it would be a lesson in client experience.

Entering the hospital, I was nervous. It was hot. The boys were tired, and as excited as they were about their new brother, we were worried about how they would adjust to the change. It was a lot to process.

As we passed the reception area, I treated it like we were trying to slip past an old East German checkpoint—act like you belong, walk with a purpose, and don’t make eye contact. We were almost home free, when the receptionist shouted, “Wait, your boys need identification bracelets.” She left and returned with bracelets that said “Big Brother.”

The impact of this gesture was immediate. The boys were ecstatic, and seeing that, I was at ease. Undoubtedly, the hospital staff had seen thousands of weary dads in the exact same situation. They were taught to recognize it and empowered to engage with families to help alleviate stress.

What does this have to do with commercial construction? More than you might think.

Providing our clients an exceptional experience is at the heart of everything we do. By doing the little things, day by day, our employees strive to make the construction experience better and to provide value to our clients.

It doesn’t matter if you work at a hospital delivering babies, or if you’re a superintendent overseeing the construction and delivery of the hospital itself, the principles of a great client experience are the same. It’s as simple as every single employee paying attention to clients, empathizing with their situation, and taking actions to improve their experience.

Learn more about EMJ’s approach, designed to produce significant benefits for our clients and make the experience enjoyable.


Deron Smith leads the marketing and communications team in internal and external marketing and communication strategy. He has 20 years of experience as a consultant and in-house communications and marketing professional. Before joining EMJ in 2015, Deron served as the National Director of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America and held positions with notable public relations firms Edelman, Publicis Dialog and The Gooden Group.

Values: Know them. Say them. Live them.

At a recent luncheon, a retired Lieutenant General asked the audience, “What are your values?” Everyone sat silently for a moment or two letting that question sink in. No one dared to shout out an answer—either out of intimidation or maybe because we don’t really think about them often enough to verbalize (in front of a decorated general) much less live them.

I thought about my personal values for the rest of the day and how they impact my interactions with others and how I view myself, my job, and those close to me. What I value most includes: integrity, humility, honesty, respect, grit, passion, selflessness, trustworthiness and creativity. All of them are important to how I want to live and how I want to be viewed. I don’t think I would be comfortable with forsaking one for another—they are all in my DNA and how I want to conduct myself.

My challenge for all of you is this—if you were asked over lunch to verbalize your values, would you be able to? Would the list be accurate, not just words that someone wants to hear, but what you truly believe and how you carry yourself? Are you passionate about each one? Would others use the same words to describe you?

Values are important, and we should never forget or abandon them. We should be able to call upon them in any situation that we encounter during our work and personal time. They should be unique to each of us, and we should appreciate others’ values as much as our own.

Click here to learn more about EMJ Corporation and its values.


As Senior Vice President of People, Heather is a member of the executive team, providing leadership to departments within the corporation that directly impact EMJ’s culture, including benefits, learning and recruiting. Heather has more than 20 years of experience in employee resources-related fields. She is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is designated as both a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Heather is a DDI-certified trainer and an accomplished speaker. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband and three children.

How strategy drives meaningful employee engagement in the AEC industry


People are at the heart of every success in the AEC industry. Whether it’s a trade partner, a project manager or a superintendent, delivering exceptional experiences and value to clients and partners starts with motivated employees. So, how do companies motivate employees at all levels to maximize positive outcomes?

Experts have wrestled with this question for decades. Steve Coughran, Chief Financial Officer of EMJ, discussed how a well-defined strategy affects employee engagement in a recent interview with Procore’s Jobsite blog. 

“Companies don’t just need employees to be compliant—they need them to be engaged,” says Coughran. “This begins by incorporating both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, coordinating work through mutual adjustment, and aligning everyone on a well-defined strategy.”

Coughran cautions that demotivation can result if employees’ are tasked with responsibilities that do not clearly tie to the overall strategy.

“If employees are working hard—maybe putting in extra time, missing obligations to stay at work late—and can’t see the results of their labor, they will become disengaged very quickly. You must ensure that your employees’ efforts tie to meaningful, tangible strategic outcomes.”

Coughran notes that for a company’s employee engagement strategy to be successful, it must be at the heart of its business strategy. That is a guiding principle for EMJ’s People Department, which works to ensure the company is engaging its employees in a variety of ways. The team engages all employees, but all of its activities are defined by the company’s strategic plan, which says “Invest in our people and work together effectively as one team.”

“At the end of the day, engagement stems from winning in a meaningful way,” said Coughran. “When’s the last time you saw a Super Bowl championship team that was not engaged? Tackle the tough strategic challenges and make the difficult decisions, and engagement will improve.”

Read Steve Coughran’s full interview with Procore’s Jobsite blog. Learn more about just one way EMJ engages its employees.


Steve Coughran serves as the CFO for EMJ Corporation. Before joining EMJ, Steve authored the book, Delivering Value, and founded a firm where he counseled construction clients on services including strategy, financial management, and operational effectiveness. To schedule some time to talk with Steve about your strategy or how it impacts engagement, please email marketing@emjcorp.com.


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.

How EMJ uses the power of social media

EMJ uses websites, blogs, and social media to tell our clients’ stories, market our work, and increase our brand awareness. Also, it is just one of the many ways to help grow our business and attract world-class talent.

When it comes to social media, our employees help shape how key audiences, including our clients and trade partners, perceive EMJ. So, how can you be a brand ambassador and help share our collective story?

First, like EMJ’s Facebook Page and follow us on EMJ’s LinkedIn Page. Second, make sure to like and share EMJ’s posts to your social media channels. Next, take videos and pictures of our job site or community involvement and share them on social media and tag us @EMJCorp on Twitter, @EMJCorporation on Instagram, or @EMJ Corporation on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Last, email us at news@emjcorp.com and tell us about the cool things going on at your job site or on your team. Pro tip: Think beyond work. For example, did your teammate run an ultra-marathon? Tell us.

EMJ serves world-class clients and brands. Social media is an easy way to tell their stories of success and highlight our expertise in bringing their visions to life. If you’re interest in knowing more about why we, along with other top general contractors, use social media, check out this article: “7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business .”