Well-being Ideas While Working Remotely

Our top priority during this time is the health and well-being of our people and their families. Below is a list of ideas to maintain well-being while working remotely so that you can stay healthy and safe.

Physical

  • Get outside for some fresh air and sunlight
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthy, whole foods – keep healthy snacks and fruit around instead of sugary and processed items
  • Put a recurring reminder in your calendar to move throughout the day – take calls standing, stretch, walk around, etc.
  • Maintain regular exercise routines – look for free exercise apps or videos on YouTube such as Nike Training, Seven Minute Workout, Daily Yoga, Strava, etc.
  • Create a challenge for yourself and/or with colleagues, friends, etc.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule – aim for at least 7 hours/night
  • Incorporate some ergonomic exercises into your workday – sitting on a yoga ball, shoulder rolls, body stretches, etc.

 

Emotional/Social

  • Schedule small breaks throughout the day or utilize your lunch break to do an activity you enjoy – read, play an instrument, bake, FaceTime a friend or family member, etc.
  • Utilize free apps (such as Insight Timer, Headspace, Calm) to encourage meditation and mindfulness
  • Use multiple channels to stay in touch with co-workers (text, video, chat, phone, e-mail)

 

Work

  • Create a space dedicated to work only and keep it tidy
  • Use your “commute” time to take a pre-work walk, prep food for the day, read, journal, etc.
  • Dress as if you were going into the office (aka don’t stay in your pajamas all day)
  • Take a lunch break
  • Keep a regular work schedule and plan to turn off your computer by a certain time each day and walk away

 

Family

  • Maintain or create a schedule for your children so they have some structure
  • Check out this great resource if you need help providing activities for them while you work
  • Be sure and get quality time with family members each day

 

We’re proud of all our EMJ Construction people who demonstrate resiliency during this time.

EMJ to Build The Gateway in El Paso

EMJ is proud to work alongside Prestige Development Group and O’Brien Architects on The Gateway — a  550,000-square-foot mixed-use center in El Paso, Texas.


EMJ is proud to work alongside Prestige Development Group and O’Brien Architects on The Gateway — a  550,000-square-foot mixed-use center in El Paso, Texas that will include retail shops, restaurants, office space, apartments and two hotels.

“EMJ Construction is excited to partner with Prestige and O’Brien on a project of such great magnitude, both in size and impact, for the El Paso community,” says William Mosher, EVP of EMJ Construction, Dallas.

Prestige Development purchased and began demolition on the former liquid petroleum gas storage and dispensing site back in May in order to make way for the new 20-acre mixed-use center.

“I drove by there and saw the property for sale about two years ago, and it just worked out,” said Michael Dixson, President of Prestige Development Group. “This is probably the top piece of (commercial) real estate in El Paso because it’s in the heart of city.”

Check out these articles to learn more about this exciting project:

https://kfoxtv.com/news/local/new-business-development-could-impact-el-paso-hotel-industry

https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/money/business/2019/10/22/multimillion-dollar-mixed-use-center-planned-for-cielo-vista-area-in-el-paso/4024012002/

https://www.virtualbx.com/feature-story/el-paso-goodbye-obsolete-liquid-gas-storage-site-hello-new-shopping-center/

EMJ Serves the North Texas Community

Employees from the EMJ Construction Dallas office spent the afternoon serving at the North Texas Food Bank, a Dallas nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods. The food bank supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships, providing access to more than 200,000 meals each day for hungry children, seniors and families across a 13-county service area.

The Dallas team rolled up their sleeves and dedicated their time there to packing boxes for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which works to improve the health of low-income persons at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. By the end of the shift, the team filled nine pallets with 432 boxes that will provide 11,050 meals.

“I am grateful to work at a place like EMJ that truly values service and encourages us to spend time giving back to our community. It was both refreshing and energizing to get to serve alongside my fellow employees, knowing that we were making a positive impact on so many people in our community,” said Jacob Wadlington, Vice President of Business Development, EMJ Construction Dallas.

This is the third consecutive year that EMJ has partnered with the North Texas Food Bank in the ongoing pursuit of closing the gap on hunger in North Texas, allowing our employees to live out EMJ’s purpose to be people serving people. Visit North Texas Food Bank’s website to learn more about the organization and the work they are doing.

Main Event Opens Newest DFW Location in Grand Prairie

Main Event, one of the fastest growing, most innovative dining and entertainment companies in the country, officially opened its seventh Dallas-Fort Worth area location on Sunday, January 26 in Grand Prairie, Texas.

To celebrate their grand opening week, Main Event had a week full of one-of-a-kind experiences such as a laser tag giveaway, cash claw challenge, free games for a year, and even the change to one $100,000.

Dallas-Fort Worth is our home, it’s where the idea of Main Event originated, so it seemed more than appropriate for us to pull out all the stops in opening our seventh location in the area,” said Sarah Beddoe, Chief Brand Officer, Main Event. “We are so proud to offer such a unique experience, and to display it in such grand fashion in Grand Prairie. We couldn’t be prouder to officially be part of the Grand Prairie community and to grow our footprint and impact in the DFW market.”

The EMJ Construction team and their families got to experience all the fun firsthand during the soft grand opening of the Main Event Grand Prairie on Friday, January 24, where they bowled, sampled a select menu, conquered the high ropes, and competed in laser tag.

“Our EMJ team enjoyed getting to celebrate a successful grand opening,” said Matt Connors, Senior Project Manager at EMJ Construction. “It’s very rewarding to work so hard alongside such a great client like Main Event and then get to share the finished product with friends and family.”

Built by EMJ Construction, Main Event Grand Prairie offers 22 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, each with unique technology and luxury seating, multi-level laser tag, high-flying gravity ropes and zip line, billiards, shuffleboard and a games gallery featuring more than 100 of the latest interactive and the most virtual reality games.  In addition to the 50,000 square feet of fun, the ultimate entertainment destination offers a full kitchen dining experience and handcrafted cocktails in a high-energy sports bar surrounded by big screen TVs.

Visit Main Event‘s site to learn more about “the most fun you can have under one roof”. Click here to read about EMJ’s work on the project.

EMJ Team Members from left to right: Cody Crissman, Field Staff; Kathryn Mueller, Project Engineer; Shaunese Farris, Contract Expeditor; Jacob Wadlington, VP of Business Development; Faith Crissman, Bid Coordinator; Andrew Lackey, Preconstruction Manager; Matt Connors, Senior Project Manager; Phil Crissman, Senior Superintendent

 

EMJ Construction Gears Up for Spring Career Fairs

EMJ Construction will be attending multiple career fairs this spring, looking to add talented Interns, Co-Ops, and graduating Project Engineers to both the Dallas and Chattanooga offices. Information for each of the three events and locations can be found below.

 

The first career fair in the line-up is the Spring 2020 BSCI Career Fair and Interview Day at Auburn University on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at the Harbert Family Recruiting Center at Jordan-Hare Stadium. This event is sponsored by the College of Architecture, Design and Construction Building Science and will take place from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Interview Day will take place the following morning on Thursday, February 13, 2020 (also at the Harbert Family Recruiting Center at Jordan-Hare Stadium ) from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.

 

Texas A&M University will be the next stop for the Spring 2020 CIAC Career Fair on Thursday, February 20, 2020 from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Brazos County Exposition Complex, 5827 Leonard Road, Bryan, located approximately 7 miles Northwest of campus. Interviews will take place following lunch that afternoon from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The Department of Construction Science conducts this career fair, exclusive to CIAC members, which is the largest department level career fair on the Texas A&M campus.

 

EMJ’s third and final stop on the career fair trail will be at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) for the EMCS Spring Career fair on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. This event will be on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Engineering, Math and Computer Science Building (EMCS) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Check out our website to learn more about what it’s like to work at EMJ, and be sure to stop by to learn about your new career!

Fitness Challenge Produces Healthy Lifestyles

At EMJ, we are more than the work we do. We value our people, above all else, and strive to invest in our people and work together effectively as one team.

There are many ways to do that, including friendly office team competition. This, together with the spirit of promoting both healthy competition and lifestyles, is how the People Department created the 2019 Fitness Challenge.

The Fitness Challenge of 2019 was a 3-month challenge that ran January 14 – April 15. EMJ gave a $500 cash prize for both the winning team and each male and female top performer, all based on percentage of weight lost. There were also individual and team prizes for exercise minutes.

While the challenge was definitely a success in promoting healthy lifestyles and building teamwork, it was also the beginning of an incredible fitness journey for some, especially the Dallas Office female winner, Suzanna Trent.

In addition to crushing her competition and helping her team place 3rd, she transformed her lifestyle, allowing her to continue to lose weight even several months after the competition had ended.

We sat down with Suzanna to discuss the details of her motivation, progress, and goals thus far in this journey, which are found in the following Q&A.

What was your motivation for joining the EMJ Fitness Challenge this past year?

Peer pressure. Matt Connors kept trying to convince me to do it. Eventually a few of my co-workers said they would sign up if I did, so I finally gave in. There were several times over the following Christmas break that I debated e-mailing in to say I’d changed my mind, but I didn’t want to go back on my word. Then, once the teams were assigned, I knew I couldn’t let my team down. I was determined to pull my weight — or in this case, lose it.

A few weeks into the challenge, during a meeting, the stats of the leader board were being read and I was starting to move up in the rankings. Nicole Gaiser, our VP of People, commented that she thought she had first place in the bag, but that I was now giving her a run for her money. Beating her then became my new motivation! Once the challenge was over though, I felt so great that I wanted to keep going.

What has been your overall progress?

As of this morning, I have lost 120lbs. and 10 pant sizes! I initially weighed in at 280lbs and I am now down to 160lbs.

How have you gone about losing the weight?

I started a WeightWatchers program and eat a lot of “zero point” foods like chicken, fish, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables. I also began to meal plan and prep my meals and snacks ahead of time –grapes are my go-to snack, I love me some fruit!

I cut out anything with added sugar as well, but I allow myself to splurge every now and then on some cookies and cream ice cream. The key has been getting right back on track. I also started walking eight minutes a day. It was so hard at first just to walk for a few minutes, but I slowly built up my endurance over time. Now, I am jogging for at least an hour every day!

Did you have any goals when you started the Fitness Challenge? Any long-term goals for yourself now?

My only goal when I started the challenge was not to let my team down. Now, my goal is to weigh in at 150lbs on the one-year mark, January 14, 2020. After that, I just want to maintain a healthy weight and continue living a healthy lifestyle. I have never felt better than I do now! I have had so many cheerleaders who have encouraged me along the way, and I am so thankful for the support of my EMJ family!

What would you say to people who are struggling with their weight and motivation?

Make small changes, like parking farther away from work, the grocery store, when running errands, etc. Take the stairs; even if it is one flight a day, it all adds up. Make small weight loss goals. Take baby steps and never look too far ahead.

Be proud when you meet your goals. If you don’t meet your goals (and there will be times you fall short) don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s okay to splurge every now and then, but get right back on the wagon after you do. Know that you are worth every part of this journey and love yourself through it! Last but not least, remember that “healthy” is a goal, not a number. Every bit you are doing matters, and you are good enough!

“We had no idea how much buy-in or what the lasting impact would be when we initially introduced the fitness challenge. It was fun to see the camaraderie and friendly banter amongst co-workers throughout the duration of the challenge. Between both the Dallas and Chattanooga offices we had over 1,000lbs lost and 225,325 exercise minutes logged, so we are excited to see the how the bar will be raised in the 2020 Fitness Challenge,” says Nicole Gaiser, our Vice President of People.

EMJ is planning a second annual fitness challenge. Suzanna hasn’t decided if she’s going to participate, but you can bet she’ll be there cheering her fellow employees on, the EMJ way.

Suzanna (before)
Suzanna (after)

Three Ways BIM Coordination Can Aid Your Project

“BIM” has become quite the buzz word in recent years for the AEC industry. But at EMJ, it’s way more than a buzz word, it’s a critical value-adding tool for our clients and projects.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) spans the lifecycle of a construction project. It enables clients to visualize final working buildings and the layers of the construction process. EMJ Construction Technology helps teams identify obstacles, eliminate unnecessary costs and capture opportunities to add value throughout the project timeline. A recent project in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee is a prime example of all three of these things.

The Residence of Mt. Juliet is a new 212,000-square-foot independent and assisted living community. During the framing of this four-story, wood-frame building EMJ’s Construction Technology Manager, Caleb Wickersham, did a laser scan of the site that he could then compare to the 3-D model to ensure the process would go smoothly.

Caleb’s brief visit to the site, his scan of the project, and comparing it to the 3-D model had an immediate positive impact on the project. The following are just three ways that BIM coordination immediately provided value to the team.

1) Identifying obstacles. When the laser scan was complete, the comparison showed that there were certain elements missing. There were trusses, but the exact framing was off. Holes had been cut during the framing process that would not align with the ductwork when it was time to be installed. The laser scan allowed the team to pin point the exact locations that would cause issues and highlight them for the HVAC subcontractor before he even encountered them.

2) Eliminating unnecessary costs. As soon as the obstacles had been identified, the project team was able to coordinate with both the HVAC subcontractor and the framer to get a plan of action. Because these issues were identified early, the team was able to develop an approach that allowed for more efficient coordination of trades, eliminating unnecessary costs and time.

3) Add value throughout the project timeline. Another step taken in the BIM coordination process was comparing both the floor and unit plans to ensure the final product would meet the correct codes and specifications. In this case in particular, this was extremely important for the owner because senior living facilities must have certain ADA clearances. The comparison showed a four-inch difference in wall locations between the two plans, which could have posed a major issue for the project. However, the project team was able to quickly see from the scans and the 3-D model, that the variation would not effect the ADA standards. This allowed the team to continue building, according to plans, avoiding any re-work and ensuring the owner that the building would meet necessary standards.

EMJ’s internal expertise and strategic partnerships allow us to deliver technical BIM applications that enhance our clients’ construction experience. EMJ’s dedicated Construction Technology Team can partner with clients at any time during the project life-cycle to develop a custom package designed to achieve project goals.

Signal Energy Creates Subsidiary to Serve the Distributed Generation Energy Market

Signal Energy has created a new subsidiary called Signal Energy DG to serve the distributed generation energy market.

Distributed generation power is generated by energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines to create electricity near where it will be consumed. This type of energy may be a source of power for commercial and industrial users or aggregated and residential customers. In many cases distributed generation helps users achieve net-zero energy consumption, or to create excess energy to sell back into the larger power grid.

“We are excited to launch Signal Energy DG,” said Greg Pawson, President, Signal Energy. “As a leading EPC in the utility-scale solar industry, this move will diversify our business into a market where our core competencies fit extremely well and allow us to offer an additional service to an expanding set of customers.”

While Signal Energy has primarily focused on larger utility-scale projects in the past, this move establishes a new market segment in the renewable energy sector. Signal Energy DG has already secured a pipeline of solar projects, many of which start construction this year.

The project pipeline, as well as the staff of approximately 40 professionals, comes through acquisition from Exyte Energy, Inc. the subsidiary of Exyte, a global leader in the design, engineering and delivery of facilities for high-tech industries.

“Once we met the team at Exyte Energy, Inc. we knew that they were a great fit for Signal’s culture and already embodied our values,” said Pawson. “Everyone at Signal is excited to have this great group as part of the Signal team.”

Solar Power World has recognized Signal Energy as a leading solar EPC contractor for seven consecutive years. In 2018 the company launched Signal Energy Australia and is currently constructing utility-scale solar and wind projects across the US and Australia.

“The distributed generation market continues to grow and we anticipate that trend will continue,” said Pawson. “As companies seek to offset power costs and meet internal renewable energy targets, we expect to see the expansion of projects across the spectrum from traditional utilities to industrial customers. It’s a thrilling time to be in the renewable energy industry and Signal Energy DG is in a perfect position to be an industry leader.”

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. For more information, visit www.signalenergy.com.

Signal Energy to Build Five Solar Projects in Texas and California

Signal Energy, the Chattanooga-based leading contractor in the renewable energy industry, is partnering with Intersect Power to perform the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) activities for five new solar projects in California and Texas. These solar plants will produce enough energy to power nearly 357,000 homes annually.

Signal Energy has been working with Intersect Power over the past 18 months to design the massive projects. Construction on the sites is slated to begin in 2020.

“Our relationship with the members of Intersect Power is built on many years of trust, collaboration and successful execution. The Intersect team has once again demonstrated that they are an innovative leader in the development and financial structuring of renewable energy projects,” said Greg Pawson, president of Signal Energy. “We are extremely proud to be chosen as its preferred EPC partner. Intersect Power brought us into their development process very early as a true partner, which provided the opportunity to jointly create the best solution for each project, resulting in the greatest value for the entire team.”

“Deep partnerships with the most innovative, reliable and collaborative suppliers gives us confidence that these power plants will reliably perform at the top end of expectations and maximize the financial returns to long-term equity investors and asset owners,” said Sheldon Kimber, CEO and cofounder of Intersect Power.

This large portfolio of projects has a combined capacity of more than 1.7 gigawatts (GW)DC. Signal Energy will install more than 3.7 million solar modules over an area totaling roughly 15 square miles across five projects in two states. The cumulative output of the five solar plants will power the equivalent of nearly 357,000 homes and result in approximately 2.75 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions per year. Plans for the solar plants include:

  • A project in Borden County, Texas, located northeast of Midland. The plant will have an installed capacity of 425 megawatts (MW) and is scheduled to begin construction in February 2020.
  • A project in Culberson County, Texas, located east of El Paso. The plant will have an installed capacity of 375 MW and is scheduled to begin construction in March 2020.
  • A second project in Culberson County. The plant will have an installed capacity of 250 MW each year and is scheduled to begin construction in June 2020.
  • A project in Riverside County, Calif., southeast of Los Angeles. The plant will have an installed capacity of 350 MW and is scheduled to begin construction in June 2020.
  • A second project in Riverside County. The plant will have an installed capacity of 300 MW and is scheduled to begin construction in October 2020.

 

“Working on this portfolio of projects has certainly been a remarkable experience,” said Karl Schadlich, Preconstruction Manager of Signal Energy overseeing the projects. “This portfolio will be one of the largest ever contracted in the United States. We are fortunate to have an enthusiastic customer that encourages us to bring creative solutions to the table while maintaining a highly efficient and collaborative relationship. Our teams integrate well with one another, and it’s truly exciting to witness our partnership and these projects come to life.”

Signal Energy has extensive experience constructing renewables projects in Texas and California and has been recognized by Solar Power World as a leading solar EPC for seven consecutive years. In 2018 the company opened an office in Australia, where it is constructing two solar projects, including the Darlington Point Solar Farm, a 333 MW solar plant in New South Wales, and the Finley Solar Farm, a 175 MW power plant in the township of Finley.

To read more about this gigawatt-scale EPC effort, click here.