Aerial Footage of H-E-B in Kerrville, Texas

Check out this arial footage of the work at H-E-B in Kerrville, Texas.

Check out this aerial footage of the work at H-E-B in Kerrville, Texas. Upon completion, this new store will replace the #1 store built. EMJ is proud to partner with H-E-B, a leader not only in U.S. grocery retail.

 

 

Quarantine Cookbook Is A Recipe to Stay Connected

Quarantine cookbook is an example of resiliency and determination to remain human, and in contact, while we transition to a digital work environment.

The Dallas preconstruction team conducts its daily meeting.

 

These past few months have been interesting, to say the least. While EMJ Construction was deemed an essential business, and our field teams continued to work on projects, in mid-March the office-based teams started working from home.

While the work transition was seamless, thanks to Microsoft Teams meetings, it took some time to adjust to not seeing teammates in the office. To help feel better connected, the Dallas Preconstruction team had daily touch point meetings with a special theme every Wednesday.

The first Wednesday each member of the team wore a hat and explained its meaning. That’s when Drew Halsey, Vice President of Preconstruction, had an idea – a cookbook. “I was looking for something different to talk about. We wanted something to get people involved and interacting in a personal way,” said Halsey. “We’re all spending time at home and I thought it’d be great to see what everyone is cooking during the quarantine.”

Martin Briggs, Dallas preconstruction.

 

That led to a call for entries sent to Martin Briggs, Assistant Preconstruction Manager, who assembled “Cooking in the Time of Crisis,” EMJ’s own version of a “Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book.” Some of the recipes are serious and others tongue-in-cheek with little golden nuggets of humor sprinkled throughout. Here are some highlights:

321 Rib Method, submitted by Drew Halsey

I firmly believe that you should cook food the way you like it, and ribs are no different! You like your ribs saucy? Put some extra sauce on them (I like using my Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce)! You like your ribs falling off the bone? Follow this 3 2 1 Rib Method. These are your ribs after all. Don’t you let the man get you down. Just don’t.

A Starkes Family Lunch, submitted by Keith Starkes

1. Middle child yells at you during conference call because “they are starving.”
2. Commence with making lunch.
3. Assemble ingredients. Oldest child: make ham sandwich with ham, cheese, ranch, pickles.
4. Yell at kids to get out of pantry: “Can’t you see that I am making you lunch?”
5. Resume step 3.

Quick 1 Minute Oats, submitted by Suzanna Trent

1. Boil water or milk and salt.
2. Stir in oats.
3. Cook about 1 minute over medium heat; stir occasionally.

World Famous Homemade Buttermilk Ranch, submitted by Chris Ross

What You Need:

½ cup whole fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing BUTTERMILK mix
Can always add more if needed
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Paprika (to taste)
1/8 cup of celery salt

Steps
1. Mix All together. Eat with anything because ranch goes with everything.

While the cookbook will not be featured on any of your favorite cooking shows, and we can’t vouch for any of the recipes, it did accomplish its mission – to bring levity and camaraderie to a heavy and potentially isolating situation.

“I have been so proud of my team and how they’ve responded to this unbelievably challenging time,” said Keith Starkes, Vice President of Preconstruction, Dallas. “They didn’t miss a beat. This is just one of many examples of resiliency and determination to remain human, and in contact, while we transition to a digital work environment.”

The cookbook is not available on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore, but you can download here.

 

Jack Brown Joins EMJ Construction

Jack Brown, Director of Construction, EMJ Construction

EMJ Construction is pleased to welcome Jack Brown, Director of Construction. Jack is based in the Dallas office.

In his role, he will work closely with the Executive Vice President and the Dallas leadership team to build client relationships and pursue new work, while providing oversight and strategic vision on all projects to the operations team, ensuring every client receives an innovative and customized construction experience.

“We are excited to welcome Jack to our team,” said William Mosher, EVP, EMJ Construction Dallas.  “His experience, commitment to quality, and client-centric approach make him the perfect addition to our team as we continue to expand into new sectors and regions.”

Jack joins EMJ with over 33 years of construction management experience, including time at Balfour Beatty and CBG Building Company as a leader of Multi-family and Mixed-Use markets. He has a track record of success in growing profitable business units while building and developing operations teams that deliver added value at every level.

“I joined the EMJ team because of the dynamic family-like culture, the relentless desire to serve clients, and the team’s eagerness to pursue diverse project types across a broad geographical area,” said Jack Brown. “I look forward to being an instrumental part of growing the company and helping to further diversify its project types across the nation.

Jack earned a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management from Broward University. When he’s not working, you can find him in his community serving at youth sporting events or in the air enjoying the freedom of flight as a private pilot.

EMJ’s IT Department Rises to the Occasion

Gabe Thompson, Director of Construction, leads a Microsoft Teams call.

 

 

On March 9, 2020, Heather Collins, SVP of People and the IT Department, sent two emails to Sarah Kirby. The first asked how many employees were using Microsoft Teams and what it would take to get everyone fully operational in the event that everyone needed to work from home. Two hours later, the second email asked how fast the team could get it in place.

By Friday, March 13, all EMJ Corporation employees had access to Microsoft Teams and plans were set into motion to allow all of EMJ’s workforce to work remotely. While our field-based staff have worked remotely for many years, the IT team quickly equipped EMJ’s office-based employees with the tools, resources, and support they needed to be able to function effectively away from the office.

“From the very beginning, our IT staff was attentive and extremely responsive to what they were being asked to do in such a short time period,” said Heather.

It might seem like this was implemented overnight, but the quick reaction was made possible because several years ago the IT Department embraced cloud technology, first with Box, then Salesforce, Office 365 and finally Procore. It was all part of addressing the challenge Burt Odom, President and CEO, gave the IT Department to be “Smart and cutting-edge.”

As is the case with most IT solutions, the need didn’t stop with giving everyone access to Microsoft Teams. The IT Department then provided around-the-clock support for field and home-based employees, ensuring employees could remain productive by supporting our clients and our field employees. The group has even continued to onboard new employees to EMJ during this time period.

Chuck Hall, Director of IT, participates in a call with a little help from his son.

 

“I think it’s worth noting how well our systems and infrastructure have held up in a very different usage scenario,” said Chuck Hall, Director of IT. “The remote capabilities we had in place for our field employees are now in use by nearly everyone. Thanks to our preparation and infrastructure, the most challenging part of working remotely might be that many of us have kids that aren’t in school right now.”

The IT Department has risen to the occasion, putting in long hours and addressing issues quickly.

“None of this would have been possible without the groundwork they laid years ago with embracing the cloud, ” said Heather. “Without this important groundwork, there would have been no Microsoft Teams. While it may make us all feel like we’re in the opening credits of the Brady Bunch, it has allowed everyone to work from home relatively seamlessly. This was a great job by the entire group. Their work has been an embodiment of EMJ’s values, selflessness, trustworthiness, and grit.”

 

A special thank you and recognition to the entire department: (Top L to R) Chuck Hall, Sarah Kirby, Jay Ross, (Bottom L to R) Justin North, Ryan Van Dolson, Brent Page, and Chris Murphy.

 

Project Progress: H-E-B Kerrville, TX

EMJ is thankful for our field staff that continues to be away from home, keeping our projects and company moving.

Here’s an update from the H-E-B job site in Kerrville, Texas. Upon completion, this new store will replace the #1 store built. EMJ is proud to partner with H-E-B, a leader not only in U.S. grocery retail, but also in serving communities during the current pandemic. Read more on how they are doing so here and check out progress photos below.

Great job, H-E-B project team!

Servant Leadership in Action

On Sunday, April 10, a deadly tornado with winds as high as 145 mph slammed into eastern Chattanooga, damaging many homes and leaving a wide swath of destruction.

The storm hit the homes of several EMJ Construction employees and family members, including the neighborhood of Nestor Praniuk, Superintendent, EMJ Construction.

Nestor quietly took a couple days off work, borrowed a tractor from a friend and, together, they went around the neighborhood cleaning up trees and debris for people who needed help.

“This wasn’t something Nestor broadcast, or even discussed, but others noticed,” said Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction. “Our purpose is to be people serving people, but we don’t always see it in action. For Nestor and his friends to do this amid the Coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example of what we mean.”

A few weeks ago we shared this blog about Mr. Rogers, who famously said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

We are thankful for people like Nestor and all the other helpers out there who see a need and step forward.

EMJ Leaders Discuss Construction During COVID-19 Crisis

River Rock, Chattanooga, TN.

 

Recently, Mike Pare with The Chattanooga Times Free Press took a look at the state of Construction amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The paper spoke with the Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee and other leaders in the industry.

Jack Bowen, President, EMJ Construction, and Burt Odom, President and CEO of EMJ Corporation, took time to share their thoughts about the industry and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The following is an excerpt:

Burt Odom, CEO of Chattanooga-based builder EMJ Corp., said the company continues to work, including locally at the River Rock mixed-use development downtown that will be one of the biggest-ever new housing and commercial complexes in the riverfront area.

“Our top priority is the health and well-being of our people,” Odom said. “We’re following all national, state and local mandates.”

Jack Bowen, president of EMJ subsidiary EMJ Construction, said the company has taken a lot of new safety steps, such as suspending all mass transit travel, including on airlines. On the job sites, EMJ has implemented just one entry point per project, set up hand washing stations, prohibited meetings in trailers and upgraded cleaning requirements, he said.

The construction industry is key to the vitality of the economy and helps people “maintain a glimmer of hope that it’s not as terrible as it may seem,” Bowen said.

Odom said it’s hard to say what the future will hold.

“We’re living in a day-to-day world,” he said. “Is this something we see over in three months or six months? We’re not sure. We’ve got to honor what state and local mandates say.”

To read the full story, visit: Construction continues during COVID-19 pandemic in Chattanooga. 

FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control

During this unprecedented time, it is easy to receive and share rumors. It is important to do your part to the stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along, and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the federal (COVID-19) response. Check out this FEMA page, designed to distinguish between rumors and facts.