EMJ Scholarship Awarded to Six Students

The Edgar M. Jolley Memorial Scholarship assists eligible children of employees in completing their education This year, EMJ awarded six deserving students with scholarships.

In 2007, the Edgar M. Jolley Memorial Scholarship was established to assist eligible children of employees in completing their education. The scholarship rewards 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 Matthew Connors, Project Manager, EMJ Construction Dallas. Daniel is a senior at Texas State University. He is a microbiology major with a minor in biochemistry. Daniel works during the school year and teaches a general chemistry lab as a University Staff Member. He is in the process of applying to medical school, hoping to become a physician.

Claire Johnson is the daughter of Boyd Waldrep, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Development, Signal Energy. Claire attends the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, studying theater education. Claire has been an active participant in Chattanooga local theater, and has been cast in numerous musicals.  Claire graduates in the spring of 2020 and hopes to be a teacher.

Jared Taylor is the son of David Taylor, Superintendent, EMJ Construction Chattanooga. Jared is attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is majoring in Computer Science.

Eli Wash is the son of Jay Wash, Superintendent, EMJ Construction Chattanooga. Eli will attend Southern Adventist University and pursue his Physical Therapy Assistant degree.

Colton Smith is the son of Audra Smith, Scheduler, Signal Energy. Colton is a Junior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in Computer Science. Colton is the Captain of the Men’s Lacrosse Team and a part of the Honors Program.  Colton hopes to pursue a career in applications development.

Jonathan York is the son of Mike York, Assistant Construction Manager, Signal Energy. Jonathan is a rising sophomore at Tennessee Technological University, majoring in Civil Engineering. He is a member of ASCE and currently serving as the risk manager of the Iota Theta chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.  Jonathan aspires to design and build bridges and open his own civil engineering firm after college.

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

EMJ Projects Nominated for Awards

Two EMJ Construction Chattanooga projects have been nominated for the Building Recognition in Chattanooga (BRIC) awards.

Nominated in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) category, is The McCallie School.

Located in Chattanooga, on the side of historic Missionary Ridge the school has undergone significant growth and has recently focused its campus improvements on an area central to the academic and boarding facilities.

The project consists of the redevelopment of campus space between two existing school dormitories, with the academic campus and chapel to the north, and the school’s dining hall to the south. This corridor is a main campus pedestrian thoroughfare and needed to create a stronger connection between buildings, while creating a stronger sense of place for the campus that could be used during and after school hours.

Read the full award submission.

The McCallie School, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

Nominated in the Sustainable Project of the Year category is Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls boasts the nation’s largest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public, sitting 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain. The reimagined venues at Ruby Falls represent a new chapter for the destination. With over 500,000 guests annually visiting the tallest underground waterfall open to the public in the U.S., the iconic Ruby Falls Cavern Castle was straining to function as a welcome center and tour launch point, in addition to accommodating dining, retail, and administrative offices.

The environmentally sustainable transformation, completed in 2018, involved repurposing the historic 1929 Cavern Castle and the creation of new venues. This project invigorated the Lookout Mountain natural attraction, located in Chattanooga, Tenn., and created recreational, ecological and economic benefits for guests, the community, region, and the state of Tennessee.

Read the full award submission.

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

“We take pride in each and every project we complete across the nation,” said Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction Chattanooga. “But it is especially rewarding to be nominated for these awards in our home town. It is a testament to Chattanooga, our amazing clients and employees.”

You can vote for the McCallie School and Ruby Falls at the BRIC Awards Voting page. 

EMJ’s CFO Presents at CFMA Annual Conference

EMJ Corporation’s CFO, Steve Coughran, participated in the 2019 CFMA Annual Conference teaching courses about strategy and financial management.

This week, EMJ Corporation’s Chief Financial Officer, Steve Coughran, participated in the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) Annual Conference at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Steve led two sessions about Finance and Accounting. The CFMA Annual Conference & Exhibition provides educational opportunities, including general sessions, mini-conferences, breakout sessions – including advanced sessions – peer groups, and networking opportunities. This year’s theme was “Success Encompassed.”

Steve Coughran, CFO of EMJ Corporation, speaks at the 2019 CFMA conference.

 

Steve’s sessions focused on the connection between strategy and financial management and gaining strategic insight and financial acumen to make value-based decisions that enhance cash flow and the bottom line.

In addition to serving as EMJ’s CFO, Steve is a keynote speaker for national associations and universities and the author of “Delivering Value: A Holistic Approach to Strategic-Powered Growth,” and the recently released book, “Outsizing: Strategies to Grow Your Business, Profits and Potential.”

At the University of Denver, Steve teaches a course entitled “Strategic Financial Leadership.” Steve is a CPA and earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business. He graduated with his MS in Accountancy from the University of Denver.

EMJ Corporation Ranks on ENR’s Top 400 List

EMJ Corporation is #164 on ENR’s Top 400 List of contractors. This ranking includes the work of EMJ Construction and Signal Energy.

EMJ Corporation has once again landed on ENR’s Top 400 List of contractors. This year EMJ ranks number 164. This ranking represents EMJ’s corporate work including EMJ Construction and Signal Energy.

“I am proud of our employees and their work which earned this ranking,” said Burt Odom, President and CEO of EMJ Corporation. “But more than that, I am proud of how they provide value and exceptional experiences to clients every day.”

Since 1968, EMJ and its family of companies have delivered billions of dollars in building and renewable energy projects across the U.S. This year Signal Energy entered the Australian large-scale solar marketplace, opening regional headquarters in Sydney where it has contracts for two major solar projects.

The corporation’s history and experience are unique, but what elevates EMJ is the client experience. With more than 50 years of diverse experience, thousands of partnerships across the country and numerous satisfied, repeat customers, EMJ challenges clients to expect more —one project at a time.

EMJ Construction Recognizes Outstanding Work

The Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence recognize exceptional work. The Jolleys, named in memory of EMJ’s founder, Ed Jolley, Sr., are presented in three categories: Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Servant Leadership and Outstanding Project.

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

“We are proud of our all our employees who work to fulfill our purpose, to serve our clients, partners, and colleagues,” said Jack Bowen, President, EMJ Construction. “It is important to stop and recognize extraordinary achievements and employees throughout the year and celebrate great work. Congratulations to all this year’s award recipients and thank you for continuing the legacy of EMJ Construction.”

Outstanding Performance

 

The award for Outstanding Performance is EMJ’s highest individual performance honor. This award is given to one employee each year. Employees are nominated for this award by office leadership, and a committee selects the recipient. Nominees are judged against the following criteria:

  • Exemplified strong work ethic, performance, and responsibility
  • Modeled servant leadership and developed additional team member
  • Demonstrated initiative and creativity in tackling difficult or unusual challenges

 

This year’s Jolley for Outstanding Performance is awarded to Jon Fair, Project Manager, EMJ Construction Dallas. Jon is the client relationship manager for the CarMax program.

Jon Fair, Project Manager, EMJ Construction Dallas

 

Jon provides an exceptional experience to the client and, along with the team, responsible for successful projects. Jon leads by example and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. For example, this year he led the way to create a weekend rotation program for the project team, providing relief for the field staff. Congratulations on the well-deserved honor.

Honorable mentions in this category include:

  • Shane Hurley, Lead Superintendent, Chattanooga
  • Rickey Palmer, Superintendent, Dallas
  • Sheree Quarles, Divisional Controller, Chattanooga

 

Servant Leadership

 

The award for Outstanding Servant Leadership is EMJ’s highest recognition of an individual who exemplifies servant leadership as defined by EMJ’s core values. This award is given to one employee each year. Employees are nominated for this award by office leadership, and a committee selects the recipient. Nominees are judged against the following criteria:

  • Lead by example
  • Inspired and served others
  • Exhibited EMJ’s core values

 

This year’s Jolley for Servant Leadership is awarded to Mike Coyne, Superintendent, EMJ Construction Dallas. Mike is the epitome of Superintendent.

Mike Coyne, Superintendent, EMJ Construction Dallas

 

Mike is willing to go wherever EMJ needs him and is relentless with it comes to meeting any commitments. He has moved offices and projects multiple times. Whatever his assignment, Mike is selfless and gritty. Leadership trust him he provides an exceptional experience to the client and, along with the team, responsible for successful projects. He lives out the EMJ purpose, to be people serving people.

Honorable mentions in this category include:

  • Charles Grothe, Project Engineer, EMJ Construction, Dallas
  • Matt Johnson, Accounting Manager, EMJ Corporation, Chattanooga
  • Jonathan Woolsey, Project Manager, EMJ Construction, Chattanooga

 

Outstanding Project

 

The award for Outstanding Project is EMJ’s highest recognition of a project team. This award is given to one project team each year. Projects are nominated for this award by office leadership, and a committee selects the recipient. The team receiving the Jolley for Outstanding Project will meet at least four of the following criteria:

  • Managed the team, schedule, and budget with precision
  • Demonstrated a commitment to safety
  • Delivered an exceptional client experience

 

This year’s Jolley for Outstanding Project is awarded to the Ruby Falls expansion in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

Members of the team include:

  • Tina Brogdon
  • Ryan Colbert
  • Taylor Copeland
  • Matt Elliott
  • Katie Haberberger
  • Lance Lindsey
  • John Rudez
  • Cissy Scott

 

Located over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls boasts the nation’s largest and deepest waterfall open to the public. The site has become one of the most popular attractions in the Southeast, welcoming thousands of visitors each year.

The project took 14 months of meticulous planning and diligent work. With the expansion, visitors enjoy a new entrance lobby and pedestrian mall, as well as updated parking, ticketing, retail and restrooms. Other additions include renovated office space and enhanced observation of the city.

Due to its location and landscape, the project provided some unique challenges including hammering out rock and installing rock drapes to mitigate the risk of falling rocks. Click here to read more about the Ruby Falls expansion.

Honorable mentions in this category include:

  • Graysville Elementary, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • CarMax, Norman, Oklahoma

 

Congratulations to all the nominees, winners, and employees dedicated to delivering unique, relevant client experiences, and operational excellence every day.

H-E-B opens Hudson Oaks store in North Texas

H-E-B just expanded its reach and commitment to North Texas with the addition of its new 80,000-square-foot store, built by EMJ Construction.

Hudson Oaks celebrates the opening of the latest H-E-B. Photo courtesy of H-E-B.

 

One of the most iconic brands in the Lonestar State is H-E-B Texas Grocery and its easy to see why. And now H-E-B has expanded its brand, reach, and commitment to North Texas with the addition of its newest store, H-E-B Hudson Oaks.

Built by EMJ Construction, the 80,000-square-foot store, located at 100 Hudson Oaks Drive, is a shopping destination with a top-quality product assortment at H-E-B’s celebrated low prices.

Designed in a rural Texas style, the store offers world-class shopping with an emphasis on fresh, quality food options and innovative services that allow customers to choose how they shop, pay for and receive their products. This includes the addition of a H-E-B Curbside with covered parking and digital services the retailer continues to rollout across Texas, which allow customers to place orders online for pickup at the store or delivery to their homes.

H-E-B Hudson Oaks. Photo courtesy of H-E-B.

 

“Our North Texas stores continue to flourish, and the Hudson Oaks store will allow us to answer the long-standing call for a store in this community,” said Leslie Sweet, H-E-B Director of Public Affairs.

Highlights of the H-E-B Hudson Oaks store include:

  • H-E-B Curbside with covered parking and H-E-B Home Delivery
  • Pharmacy with drive-thru service
  • A produce section with expanded local and organic selections
  • Full-service fresh food departments including bakery, deli, meat and fish markets
  • Scratch Bakery and Tortillería
  • Expanded seafood and meat sections
  • Fresh meat market
  • Deli counter
  • Cheese shop
  • Extensive beer and wine selections
  • Cooking Connection
  • Fresh sushi
  • H-E-B Meal Simple
  • Healthy Living department with bulk foods
  • Blooms floral department
  • Texas Backyard featuring plants, pottery and grills
  • Self-Checkout lanes
  • An eight-pump fuel station with ultra-efficient car wash

 

The sustainably-built store has incorporated several features to conserve resources such as LED lighting in parking lot, wind break walls at entry ways to help keep out the elements and remote control of energy systems to reduce energy consumption.

“Nothing represents Texas, or a commitment to customers and quality like H-E-B said George Heath, Vice President, EMJ Construction. “As Texans, we were excited that H-E-B expanded its reach in North Texas. That’s why we are honored to have been a part of the Hudson Oaks project, and what it will mean to the community and region.”

The EMJ Construction field team. (L-R Bianca Sevilla, Aaron Scott, Matt Connors, Denver Moody, Colby Reese, Bryson James, George Heath, and Erick Perez.)

 

With sales of $26 billion, operates 400 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrates its 114th anniversary this year.  Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs over 110,000 Partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities.

Farmer Brothers Project Wins Award

The Farmer Brothers office and manufacturing facility, built by EMJ Construction, won the PRO Food World Manufacturing Innovation Award.

Photo: RGA Architects

 

Farmer Brothers delivers exceptional coffee, tea, spice, culinary, and equipment solutions to local businesses, foodservice, national chains and everything in between. Recently, the Farmer Brothers office and manufacturing facility won the PRO Food World 2018 Manufacturing Innovation Award.

Spanning 28 acres, the coffee company headquarters includes a 258,338-square-foot distribution center, a 194,438-square-foot coffee production facility, and 84,823 square feet of office space for its nearly 400 corporate employees.

This lean, greenfield manufacturing facility features a customized, flexible manufacturing system that hopes to achieve 95 percent OEE and reduces the need for human intervention on the plant floor. The facility includes advanced roasters, an automated replenishment optimizer; and custom mixing, weighing and conveying equipment that allow Farmer Brothers to respond to rapidly changing market demands.

Watch Daniel Gerritsen, Director of Engineering & Strategy, Farmer Brothers accept the award and discuss the project.

Farmer Brothers desired an aggressive schedule, as four other facilities nationwide were consolidating into the new headquarters, and the new distribution center needed to begin operating while construction was still underway. EMJ coordinated the project team, ensured that the facility could function while construction was ongoing, and worked with consultants to highlight value-saving opportunities and ensure long-term efficiency for the facility.

“Farmer Brothers is a world class company,” said William Mosher, EVP, EMJ Construction, Dallas. “As national manufacturer, it serves over 60,000 food and beverage establishments across the U.S. We are honored to partner with them on this project and excited that it won this prestigious award.”

The Keys to Operational Excellence in Construction

There are three universal tenants to ensure operational excellence on construction projects that must be executed and measured on a consistent basis.

General George S. Patton once said that “By perseverance, and study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.” These principles of perseverance, study, and desire are cornerstones of any individual, group, or organization desiring to obtain and sustain success. While some may argue that General Patton lacked the ability to empathize with people, most can agree that the man knew how to move an army in order to achieve operational excellence.

In the construction industry, a need for this same operational excellence becomes evident when reflecting on the final decades of the twentieth century, a time where stagnancy pervaded the industry. Construction companies were under-performing, the expected turnover left much to be desired, and clients often felt the pains of mismanaged projects. These issues revealed a glaring need for a a new model of operational excellence.

Operational excellence encourages companies to enhance the client experience, minimize cost, and cut wasteful processes in terms of managing resources and materials, allowing value to be restored and delivered to clients. Coming out of the Great Recession of the early twenty-first century, adopting this new practice in our industry became necessary in order to meet the demands of the market. In a time where clients had tighter margins and technological advances were happening at an ever increasing rate, it was imperative that construction companies become experts on this new model, have a great desire to learn its principles, and persevere through the slow, arduous process of applying it within all disciplines throughout their organizations.

There are many facets where operational excellence should be applied, but just as General Patton believed in the three principles of perseverance, study, and eternal desire, there are three universal tenants to ensure operational excellence on construction projects that must be executed and measured on a consistent basis. These universal tenants of operational excellence are:

  • Collaboration. In order to achieve and maintain excellence within any successful organization, there must be collaboration. Clients must know of pending changes and issues. Designers have to seek input from contractors in order to provide an exceptional finished product. Contractors must look beyond what they are doing today so they can positively impact the schedule and efficiencies on a given project.
  • Standardization. Far too often leaders are reactive, rather than proactive, when it comes to meeting the needs of those they serve. Processes and procedures found in countless operation manuals are typically the result of a problem that had to be solved, which is why it is critical for attention to be consistently given to improving quality through standardization. When processes/procedures and means/methods of operational excellence are all standard, the improved quality of construction is directly correlated. Standardized tasks become muscle-memory and are easily tracked/measured, saving time and reducing error.
  • Development. There is no doubt that real dollars are tied to the development of team members. However, the importance of investing in staff development cannot be overstated if our industry wants to achieve and maintain operational excellence. Our team members are our most critical resource – the one companies should be continually investing in to grow and retain. The quality of our team members are directly related to the predictable success of our projects. Therefore, providing training and committing to development opportunities quickly produces positive results across the construction spectrum.

 

More than ever, clients want things done right, and they deserve nothing less. Time has never been more expensive, and we can’t retrace steps. A steady focus on the importance of completing quality projects on time while creating strong, positive relationships with those in which we serve has never been more important.

Companies that are finding success today are the ones that made the decision to embrace their potential and move past the old status quo by collaborating, setting high standards, and developing their people. They embraced operational excellence, realizing how critical it was to their organization. They realized that it is the driving force that produces better results in terms of client experience, cost efficiency, productivity and innovation.

A desire for excellence is what separates the good from the great. My hope is that, just as General Patton did, our industry continues to pursue the principles of perseverance, study, and desire so that we can provide our clients the operational excellence and client experiences they deserve.

 

Jason Dunnam provides day-to-day leadership to the construction operations team in Dallas. He has nearly 20 years of experience, including as a senior superintendent. Jason lives in Dallas, but returns home to Seneca, Missouri, every chance he gets. He enjoys the outdoors, hunting, serving his church and community, and spending time with his three adult sons.

 

A Hat Tip to Ditch Diggers

Selfless, Trustworthy and Gritty — these are EMJ’s core values which represent who we want to be.

This poem by Eric Borden, recently featured at the 2019 AGC Convention, reminds us of our EMJ employees — especially those in the field — and their grit. As the author says, it’s dedicated to everyone who works in construction or is involved in it in any way.

We are proud of all our all our employees who work tirelessly for our clients. If you want to learn more about our team, check out our Foundation. 

The Mark of a Servant Leader

At EMJ, our purpose is to be people serving people. Whether in an office, at a meeting, or on a job site, we perform our work by serving others.

But does that end at 5 o’clock when we go home? Are the people we seek to serve and inspire limited to those we cross paths with during our typical work day? Sarah Kirby, IT Support Manager for EMJ Corporation, doesn’t think so and she has a scar to prove it.

Her story starts almost two years ago when her best friend Kate found out that she was in end stage renal failure due to Polycystic Kidney Disease. This diagnosis meant that she needed a kidney transplant.

With Sarah by her side, Kate took immediate action to be placed on the National Recipient List for a donation, which she was placed on a few months later — this was the good news. The bad news was that the doctors estimated it would be five years before Kate would receive a kidney.

Sarah had promised Kate that when it came time for a new kidney, she would gladly give her own. So Sarah called the transplant center and began the process of donating a kidney to Kate.

“You only need one kidney so you should donate your spare,” said Sarah, which is exactly what she intended to do. Unfortunately, she was not a match. “I’ve never been more devastated in my life,” she said.

There was, however, another option. Even if you are not a match for your intended recipient, you can still donate on his or her behalf. This is possible because of Piedmont Healthcare’s Paired-Kidney Exchanges – an intricate process of mixing and matching recipients and their donors in an ever-widening pool until the right pairings are found. While that means your kidney may go to a stranger, your donation assures that the person you volunteered to help gets a new organ too.

Sarah leapt at this opportunity and was approved, allowing Sarah and Kate to be paired together. They were told it would be about a year before matches were found and they would have months to plan the surgery. That was the first of January. Surprisingly, by the second week of March, Sarah received a call that there was someone in need of her kidney and that they also had a kidney for Kate.

“I got a call and they needed me to say yes to start the chain…and they needed the answer within the hour,” said Sarah. “I was shocked but somehow collected myself enough to say yes. I got to tell Kate she was getting a new kidney. This was by far the best phone call I have or will ever make.”

The process worked like a three-team, multi-player, NBA trade. Sarah’s kidney was sent to a recipient from San Francisco. In turn, that recipient’s living donor sent a kidney to a recipient in South Carolina. Finally, the trade was completed when that recipient’s living donor sent a kidney to Kate.

Kate and Sarah’s surgeries were completed on March 27, a few hours apart. Kate’s new kidney immediately worked and today she is doing better than she has in many years.

Sarah doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. “I am not going to lie, it was scary to think about having a kidney removed,” said Sarah, “But, I really love my best friend, she’s a really good one. So I did it for a very selfish reason – I want her to be around as long as possible.”

Sarah may claim her kidney donation was “selfish,” but there’s nothing selfish about it. EMJ is grateful to have people like Sarah on our team, reminding us that giving of yourself is tough and can leave a scar, but that it’s also the mark of a servant leader.

Sarah Kirby (R) with her best friend Kate (L) after their surgeries.

 

Are you interested in learning more about this procedure? Check out the Piedmont Transplant’s Living Donor Program. Click here to learn more about EMJ’s purpose and values.