Navigating Uncharted Territory

Burt Odom, President and CEO of EMJ Corporation, shares some thoughts about navigating uncharted territory.

Burt Odom

I think it goes without saying, but we’re all feeling a little uneasy right now. That is understandable.

I want you to know that we are monitoring the situation with the Coronavirus and how it affects the health and safety of our people, and our projects. I’m thankful for the leadership I’m seeing as we adjust to the situation.

As we navigate this issue, I want to share some thoughts that are top of mind:

This too shall pass. The following days and weeks will be inconvenient, but a lot of smart people are taking measures to lessen the impact of this virus.

This is the time to serve people. To EMJ this includes our clients, but more broadly, your communities in general. Find some people around you in need and help them. And please, whatever you do, don’t stockpile toilet paper.

This is the time to be gritty. Being gritty means we are courageous and of strong character. Remember, challenges provide the fire which tempers the steel.

We are in uncharted territory and uncertain about what will happen in the coming days. But, I’m reminded of this quote from St. Joan of Arc, “Go forward bravely. Fear nothing. Trust in God, all will be well.” Onward!

Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Burt Odom is President and CEO of EMJ Corporation.

 

EMJ Construction Delivers New CarMax

Today, while practicing social distancing, the CarMax team opened its 7th store in  Bradenton, Florida.

Today, while practicing social distancing, the CarMax team opened its 7th store in Bradenton, Florida.

A special thanks to the project team including Mike Coyne, Chance Coyne, Jon Fair, Conner Kamps, and Elijah Hall.

We extend a virtual high five to this team and all the EMJ Construction teams. Great job!

People on the Move: Tina Brogdon

Tina Brogdon has been promoted to Project Coordinator. She works in the EMJ Construction office in Chattanooga.

This upcoming September will mark Tina’s 15th year with EMJ and in the construction world.

“Tina has always been a key part of the success of the Chattanooga Admin Department and I know she is ready to take on the challenge of her new role as Project Coordinator,” said Andrea Boatman, Office Manager of the Chattanooga office. She has a passion to help those around her and will do whatever she can to make EMJ successful.  Tina will use the vast knowledge she has acquired during her 15 years at EMJ to help make the Project Coordinator a vital part of the Project Team.

“My favorite part of construction is getting to see the pieces come together as something is built. I love to watch that process,” says Tina.

When Tina isn’t working, she loves to sew, read, participate in community theater and be a ‘Volunteer Cuddler’ in the NICU at Hamilton Medical Center. However, her favorite pastime is playing with her grandkids.

Congratulations, Tina!

People on the Move: Priscilla Harrell

Priscilla Harrell has been promoted to Project Coordinator. She works in the EMJ Construction office in Chattanooga.

Priscilla has been with EMJ for over six years. Prior to working at EMJ and in the construction world, she worked for the Marine Corps and Air Force in Georgia, Florida, and Ohio as a Department of Defense civilian, holding many different positions.

“Priscilla loves to learn new things and has always shown interest in learning all she can about the construction business and how she can put her skills to work to help those she supports. The Project Coordinator role will be a perfect fit for her,” said Andrea Boatman, Office Manager of the Chattanooga office. “Priscilla is always ready to go above and beyond to help in any way she can. I am excited to see her get the opportunity to use her talent and skills in her new position.”

“I love being in Chattanooga, and I love that in construction there’s something new to learn every day,” says Priscilla.

In her spare time, Priscilla likes to read and listen to music.

Congratulations, Priscilla!

Auburn University Hosts Construction Career Camps

EMJ Construction is a proud supporter of the Auburn University’s McWhorter School of Building Science. This summer, the school will host two, week-long programs for young people in high school to participate in construction career camps. The opportunities include:

Construction Management Academy for Young Women, June 9-13

The Construction Management Summer Academy for Young Women is a program geared toward rising 11th – 12th grade female students interested in learning about the exciting and diverse career opportunities available in construction management. Applications are due by April 1. Click here for more information and to register for this camp.

Building Construction Camp, June 21-26

The Building Construction camp hosted by the Auburn University McWhorter School of Building Science is a week-long program geared toward rising 11th – 12th grade students interested in the field of Construction Management. Click here for more information and to register for this camp.

If you have questions or need additional information please visit here.

EMJ Leads Construction Work on Hamilton Place Mall Renovation

Hamilton Place Mall, Chattanooga, TN (1987)

 

In 1968, CBL Properties was EMJ Construction’s first client. In 1987, we were proud to help the company construct Chattanooga’s Hamilton Place Mall. Today, we’re  honored to lead the construction work on CBL’s renovation of this local landmark. The Chattanooga Times Free Press toured the mall and sat down with Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL Properties, who shared the following detailed progress of the mall:

New mall development is focused on offering experiences and services over the things shoppers can carry out of a store, with restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues playing a key role.

Thirty years after Hamilton Place mall opened, the age of the mega-mall anchored by department stores and surrounded by ring roads is at an end, Lebovitz said. The redevelopment of the space around Sears will have an outdoor focus, favoring sidewalks, lighting and landscaping over stark expanses of asphalt.

Multiple businesses will fill the 145,000 square feet that once housed Sears, which is 65%-70% leased. Next door, the new Aloft expected to open in early 2021 will have a rooftop bar and a Mean Mug coffeehouse on the ground floor.

Mitch Patel, president and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, expects the hotel to become a draw for locals as well as out-of-town guests.

“It isn’t downtown or the river, but it is a pretty nice view when you get 75 or 80 feet in the air,” he said during a tour of the site on Tuesday. Reinvention is a challenging process, but it’s one that comes with significant potential, Lebovitz said.

More than 40 anchor stores in the CBL portfolio of properties have closed, but their replacements will move the properties and the company in a stronger direction, he said.

“CBL is an innovative retail real-estate company, developing some of the finest retail shopping centers in the U.S.,” said Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction. “EMJ had the privilege of helping CBL construct the Hamilton Place Mall in 1987. Working on this renovation project feels like we’ve come full circle. We’re excited to see it remain a hallmark of our community for generations to come.”

Read the full story or learn more about The Hamilton Place Mall.

Chattanooga Times Free Press photo by Erin O. Smith / Construction is underway across from CBL Headquarters at Hamilton Place mall in front of what was formerly Sears Thursday, January 9, 2020, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

Chattanooga Times Free Press photo by C.B. Schmelter / Work continues inside an unleased space at Hamilton Place Mall on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Anchoring the renovated spaces are Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dave & Buster’s. The Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dave & Buster’s are both scheduled to open in March.

 

EMJ Employees Serve Chattanooga Community Kitchen

For the eighth straight year, EMJ hosted a Christmas party for the clients and employees of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen .

The kitchen offers a variety of services to its clients. Through all of the assistance offered, 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.

EMJ partners with the Kitchen because it allows employees to support a great cause through service. This year EMJ employees raffled gift baskets to raise money to cover the cost.

On the day of the event, employees took shifts decorating the Kitchen, cooking and serving meals, and making phone calls to ask for donations for the organization. The team prepared and served more than 750 meals, which set a new record.

The Community Kitchen relies on 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.

 

 

7 Winter and Cold Weather Tips for Construction Workers

Since humans began building, we have been at war with winter. In construction, one key to winning is planning how to continue moving forward without losing ground.

Since humans began building, we have been at war with winter. In construction, one key to winning is planning how to continue moving forward without losing ground. The following items are just a few things to consider in the coming months:

Use in-ground heating. Frozen subgrade in the winter can lead to damaged slabs, foundations, pools, and retaining walls in the spring. Moisture becomes trapped above the frost line, making compaction efforts extremely difficult. Once the moisture thaws in the spring, the ground becomes less compacted and more plastic, causing settlement, and in some cases, catastrophic failure, especially at retaining walls.

Plan to remove ice and water. Low areas in a slab, pools, and other features often collect snow and water which will freeze and thaw, expanding and contracting against the walls and within the porous concrete causing damage to the surface and possibly to the structural integrity of the concrete. Make sure you have a plan to deal with these issues and temporarily cover this hazard.

Use cold weather concrete. Review your specifications, and when in doubt, refer to ACI 306. Make sure you know whether your architect or engineer will allow for add mixtures ahead of time. Several add mixtures on the market now help to encapsulate the moisture in the concrete, allowing for flooring to bond and helping to boost the vapor barrier as well as repelling surface moisture due to exposure to the elements.

Understand and adhere to material delivery and storage requirements. A vast majority of materials are susceptible to excessive moisture and temperatures below 40°F. Without tenting and heat, materials may freeze if left to the elements. Read and understand your manufacturer’s requirements for material handling and application.

Prepare your parking lot. In winter, it’s difficult to store materials level and off the ground if the ground profile continues to change. Plan on paving early in order to avoid vehicles getting stuck, deliveries turning away, manpower being unable to access the building safely, and to maintain general site cleanliness. Whenever possible, get the base course down, a binder course or concrete paving is even better. This will reduce mud pits, avoid rework on paving structures, increase mobility of people and supplies, and provide a more safe and secure area for material laydown.

Secure interior heat. Heat can be helpful in many ways. It makes drywall and paint possible in cold conditions and can also provide a more safe and comfortable work environment; thus, increasing productivity in months that may not allow work without it. Remember, some forms of heat, like propane, will introduce moisture to the interior so make sure there is adequate ventilation.

Ensure you have power. Even if you have permanent power, have a plan for when the power is disrupted so your work won’t be. Generators can be hard to come by when everyone needs one. Also remember, no matter how many windows you had in the summer that allowed sun to help with lighting, the days are much shorter; artificial lighting will be necessary just to meet standard working times in most areas.

All of the items above directly impact quality and play a large role in maintaining a safe jobsite focused on quality. Being unprepared for winter weather can cause exposure to the elements, material loss or misuse, inadequate lighting, irregular grades, snow and ice causing slipping hazards, and a variety of other issues. Being winter ready will help us continue to meet our schedules and stay on budget – all while delivering and exceptional client experience.

Brian Tiehan is a Quality Manager for EMJ Construction. 

EMJ Client Featured in Shopping Center Business

Recently, the magazine Shopping Center Business published a feature about EMJ’s client Cinemark, and how the company is transforming client experiences by increasing food and beverage, adding luxury seating and enhancing technology to take movie-going to another level. The article states:

As out-of-home entertainment providers, theater operators have been under increased pressure to enhance the movie-going environment in recent years as competition from streaming services, online television and other entertainment options have presented new options.

Theater operators have changed the movie exhibition business in recent times. Cramped auditoriums with small screens in large multi-plex theaters are no longer built, giving way to a new model with larger screens and seating in luxury recliners. Theaters have also improved their sound systems, food-and-beverage options and even extensive upgrades to their physical environments to enhance the experience and extend the stay.

One operator leading the charge for change in the movie business has been Cinemark Theatres. As one of the largest movie exhibition companies in the business, Cinemark has been smart about its real estate and its experience throughout its history.

The article goes on to highlight Cinemark’s new concept, CUT! by Cinemark, that includes a full-service restaurant and bar in an upscale atmosphere. The prototype, built by EMJ Construction, was designed to elevate the movie-going experience, opened earlier this year in Frisco, Texas, a few miles from Cinemark’s headquarters.

“We are proud to have partnered with Cinemark on this endeavor,” said William Moshier, EVP, EMJ Construction. “It’s not every day that you get to work with clients who are pushing the boundaries of their industry and delivering exceptional  experiences to their clients.”

Check out the entire article at Shopping Center Business  or learn more about EMJ’s work on the project.