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!

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.

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 Construction to Build New H-E-B Store in Kerrville, Texas

EMJ Construction is excited to partner with H-E-B, one of the most iconic brands in the Lonestar State, in its plans to build a new store on Main St. in Kerrville, Texas.

EMJ Construction is excited to partner with H-E-B, one of the most iconic brands in the Lonestar State, in its plans to build a new store on Main St. in Kerrville, Texas. This project comes on the heels of a successful completion of one of its newest stores in Hudson Oaks, Texas, which was also built by EMJ Construction.

While H-E-B Hudson Oaks exemplified commitment to North Texas, this new store in Kerrville demonstrates H-E-B’s commitment to the community where it all began. To pay homage to the company’s roots, part of the design element will include a decorative facade that resembles the retailer’s original store, which was located in the 800 block of Main St. and opened in 1905 as C.C. Butt Grocery Store. The Curbside logo on the store will include a Model T, which is a nod to the early days of H-E-B grocery delivery.

Along with a nod to the past, the new store, at 106,000 square feet, will also include new features such as the inclusion of True Texas BBQ, H-E-B’s lauded barbecue restaurant that was recently named best barbecue chain in Texas by Texas Monthly and a top barbecue chain in the nation by Thrillist. The gas station will also add gas pumps as well as include diesel fuel and a car wash.

“H-E-B is known for its innovation and community service, with deep roots in Texas communities,” said George Heath, Vice President, EMJ Construction. “As a company that strives to deliver unique value to our clients, partners, and colleagues, EMJ is honored to help achieve their vision for this new store that reflects just that.”

Site construction is already underway, and the new store is expected to open late 2020. The existing 79,000-square-foot Kerrville H-E-B on Main St., which opened in 1984, will close upon the opening of the new store.

To read more about this exciting project, please visit the H-E-B Newsroom.

 

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.

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.

Join us in supporting Austin Hatcher Foundation

EMJ Corporation is proud to support the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer this holiday season with Hatch’s Giving Trees in our EMJ Chattanooga and Signal Energy offices.

EMJ employees and visitors to our offices this December will be able to choose an ornament from our Christmas trees and fulfill the donation request listed on the ornament. Each ornament represents a specific need for Austin Hatcher families, ranging from baby wipes and snacks to gift cards and monetary donations.

We also encourage our clients, friends and colleagues outside of our offices to consider joining us in this worthy cause by purchasing items on Austin Hatcher’s Amazon Wish List.

Established in 2006 by Amy Jo and Jim Osborn in memory of their son, the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s mission is to erase the effects of childhood cancer and optimize each child and family member’s quality of life through essential specialized interventions.

In the 1960s, the five-year survival rate for the most common childhood cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), was 4%. Today, it is approaching 90%. Though this is promising for families affected by this devastating disease, patients, parents and siblings are often unprepared for the psychological and emotional effects of cancer survival.

40% of childhood cancer survivors report neuropsychological late effects which makes survivors 10.5 times more likely to have severe cognitive dysfunction than their peers.

The Austin Hatcher Foundation provides services to cancer patients and their families to help prevent and minimize these effects through Industrial Arts, Diversionary Therapy, Psycho-Oncology, and Healthy Lifestyle Education.

The Foundation serves families across the country and is the official charity of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

Learn more about Austin Hatcher Foundation’s services in the video below and visit www.hatcherfoundation.org.

Thank you for joining EMJ to support this deserving organization!