EMJ Construction Begins Work on State-of-the-Art Administration Building for Nokian Tyres

Nokian Tyres has begun construction on a world-class administration building at its new factory in Dayton, Tennessee. Nokian Tyres is partnering with EMJ Construction to construct the facility, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2020.


Nokian Tyres has begun construction on a world-class administration building at its new factory in Dayton, Tennessee, its first production facility in North America.

Complete with meeting spaces, offices, a gym, garden and other premium amenities, the facility is intended to reinforce the Scandinavian company’s life-driven culture while providing everything its employees need to be successful.

“Our administration building is another example of our desire to be the employer of choice in Southeast Tennessee,” said Dayton Factory Operations Director Peter Chia. “In addition to taking care of our workers’ practical business needs, we want this facility to give them space to thrive.”

Nokian Tyres is partnering with EMJ Construction to construct the facility, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2020. Work on the adjacent production complex is largely complete; trial production began in early July, and commercial tire production remains on schedule for early next year.

The administration building’s interactive, open-concept office space will accommodate as many as 100 employees. The two-story, 26,500-square-foot facility will also feature:

  • A cafeteria that doubles as a large meeting space
  • Conference rooms • A first-aid room
  • A gym and locker rooms
  • A sauna, to honor the company’s Finnish roots


In line with Nokian Tyres’ passion for the environment, the company is building several green features at the factory. That includes a greenspace area outside the building, which features a garden between the parking lot and the building’s entrance complete with a pond, trees, park benches and a walking path. Patios will dot the exterior of the structure.

“As a Tennessee-based company we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Nokian Tyres,” said Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction. “Nokian Tyres is a best-in-class brand and manufacturer. We’re proud to partner with the company during its exciting growth and expansion in North America.”

“We are going above and beyond to provide our team members with a premium place to work,” said Nokian Tyres Construction Manager David Korda. “In my years of experience helping oversee industrial construction projects, this is among the most impressive facilities I have encountered.”

The Dayton Factory is a major element of Nokian Tyres’ ambitious growth strategy, through which the company aims to double North American sales by 2023. The facility will allow the company to make premium products tailored to the needs of North American consumers, expand its customer base, and strengthen its relationships with existing customers.

Once capacity reaches four million tires per year, the factory will employ as many as 400 people, from production operators to engineers, managers and specialists in several core business areas.

To learn more about Nokian Tyres’ Dayton Factory or to explore job opportunities there, visit www.NokianTires.com/DaytonFactory. For more information visit : www.nokiantires.com.

EMJ Construction Supports The Charles H. Coolidge Nation Medal of Honor Heritage Center

A rendering of The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.


EMJ Construction has made a $15,000 donation to the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center to support the Character Development Program.

The Heritage Center will memorialize the valorous actions of the recipients of our nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, and promote its history and character associated with their gallantry. The Heritage Center’s cornerstone program, Character Development, is taught to elementary, middle and high school students. Through the Character Development Program, the Heritage Center educates the next generation about the six character traits associated with Medal of Honor recipients: Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice, and Commitment.

“We are grateful for EMJ’s generous gift and support. These funds will allow us to continue and expand our efforts to teach the Character Development Program in local schools and in Chattanooga Youth and Family Development Centers,” said Keith A. Hardison, Executive Director, National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “EMJ’s gift is the latest example of the generosity of local businesses and foundations and their commitment to the character education of our future leaders and citizens.”

Chattanooga’s own Charles Coolidge earned the Medal of Honor – and, years later, the title of “Tennessee’s bravest man” from the Tennessean – for his daring actions in France during World War ll. His story of bravery and selflessness is only one of thousands that will be brought to life by the Heritage Center, the national home and lasting tribute for these genuine American heroes who represent the best and bravest of all who served and sacrificed in defense of our country.

“The greatest recognition of selflessness, courage, and leadership is the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for valor,” said Jack Bowen, President, EMJ Construction. “The Heritage Center’s work is vitally important for the future of our community, and nation, and we are humbled to be a small part of it.”

The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center will be located next to the Tennessee Aquarium and is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2020.

L to R: Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction; Major General Bill Raines, National Medal of Honor Heritage Center; Keith A. Hardison, Executive Director, National Medal of Honor Heritage Center; and Jack Bowen, President, EMJ Construction.


EMJ Construction’s Katie Haberberger Named ACE Mentor of the Year

Katie Haberberger ACE Mentor of the Year
Katie receives ACE Mentor of the Year at the 2019 BRIC Awards Banquet

Katie Haberberger, Assistant Preconstruction Manager, was selected as this year’s ACE Mentor of the Year. The ACE Mentor Program is a nationwide program designed to introduce high school students to the wide range of career opportunities in architecture, construction, engineering, and related areas of the building design and construction industry. Katie joined EMJ back in 2016 and has been a part of the ACE Mentor Program ever since.

As a high school student in St. Louis, Missouri, Katie had the opportunity to participate in a similar program called “Project Lead the Way”. Katie’s participation in this program helped affirm her desire to pursue a degree and career in the construction industry, and she now gets to pay it forward by helping high school students today discover and develop new skills, solidify future goals and get on track to exciting, rewarding careers.

The team that Katie led this past year met weekly in the evenings at the EMJ Chattanooga office, and during each session students had the opportunity to work directly with industry professionals as they sought to plan/design a renovation for a building in downtown Chattanooga. Katie brought in the architect she was working with on one of her job sites at the time so that the students could further apply real-life experience to their hypothetical project. After six months of learning, planning, and experimenting, the students presented their project at an end of the year banquet.

“It’s tough at first to get the students to progress week to week so that they can be prepared for the final presentations, but I love getting to see how proud they are of themselves once they reach the end,” says Katie.

After hearing Katie talk about her experiences thus far as an ACE Mentor, it was no surprise that she was named ACE Mentor of the Year. This title is only given to one mentor in the entire Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia area each year and EMJ is proud that Katie is this year’s recipient. She is actively living out EMJ’s mission, to be people serving people, by volunteering her time and industry experience to the next generation of industry professionals.

If you are interested in learning more about how to become an ACE Mentor, you can learn more about it here or by e-mailing Katie at katie.haberberger@emjcorp.com

EMJ Construction’s Ruby Falls Project Wins Two Awards

Ruby Falls AerialRuby Falls, an EMJ Construction Chattanooga project, is a multi-award winning project. The project was awarded “Sustainable Project of the Year” by the BRIC and  was a recipient of the 2019 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards in the “Building Green” category. Both awards are reflective of the innovative work the EMJ team demonstrated during this project and the high standard of excellence that EMJ strives to deliver.

Ruby Falls is known for their commitment to protecting and preserving the natural wonders of the cave on Lookout Mountain and the resources of the earth for the education, wellbeing and enjoyment of generations to come. They are a leader in tourism sustainability and environmentally-sensitive business practices.

“EMJ is proud to have partnered with Ruby Falls to help turn their ‘seemingly colossal goal’ towards sustainability into a reality through this project,” says Chas Torrence, EVP of EMJ Construction in Chattanooga. ” This project has created numerous benefits for the local community and we are excited that it is being recognized through these prestigious awards.”

The 2019 BRIC awards banquet.


Highlighted below are just a few ways that EMJ partnered with Ruby Falls to demonstrate conservation and sustainability practices throughout the duration of this project:

  • Materials and resources were tracked closely during design and construction
  • 22,716 tons of rock were excavated during construction and repurposed
  • More than75% of all construction waste was recycled
  • More than 20% of materials were manufactured within a 500-mile radius 
  • Recycled content and regionally sourced materials lessened the greenhouse gas emissions
  • Indoor air quality management practices were implemented to minimize dust and protect against moisture


In addition to these recent accolades, Ruby Falls is Green Globe Certified and Tennessee Green Hospitality Certified. It is also now on its way to achieving LEED certification. For more information on the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, visit the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation website.

Solar Panel Lookout




New Book Places CX at the Center of Strategy

Steve Coughran presents at the 2019 Construction Management Financial Association convention.


In 2018, Steve Coughran joined EMJ Corporation as Chief Financial Officer. He came to EMJ with over two decades of experience driving business excellence. Upon joining EMJ, Steve brought a new approach to the position – that of a strategic CFO. As noted in a Forbes article, a strategic CFO champions focused investments of its people and resources, which allows a company to provide strategic value.

It is that approach which is the heart of Coughran’s newly released book, Outsizing: Strategies to Grow Your Business, Profits and Potential. Recently, Martin Zwilling reviewed the book in an Inc. column, sharing his thoughts on Coughran’s six dimensions of a winning business strategy. The following is an excerpt of his takeaways:

Above all, deliver an exceptional total customer experience (CX).


The most successful companies today build a strategy to proactively anticipate the needs of their customers, as a group and individually, and totally delight them with all aspects of the shopping experience: value, delivery, and help with any follow-on questions or problems.

Highlight your competitive value, not your technology.


This may sound obvious, but I still see too many companies with a strategy of highlighting technology improvements and features, rather than their value compared with competitors’.

Seek out and capitalize on emerging opportunities.


With a little hard work at projecting market and technology turns, as well as the courage to make bold decisions, you can move further in this direction. It does, however, take effort to weave these into a strategy. That’s your real challenge.

Unleash the potential of your team and talent.


Strong leaders continually work on a strategy of hiring, developing, and retaining the best and the brightest. Too many business owners I know push these efforts to the bottom of their priority list, in favor of the operational crisis of the moment, or until they feel gaping holes in their teams.

Turn value creation (revenue) into value capture (profit).


Strategy is more than hashing out mission, vision, and value statements. It’s making sure that these statements are financially grounded with specifics to assure an adequate return on investment for all constituents.

Internalize the strategy process keyed to the bottom line.


Strategy can’t be a one-time effort. Customers and the market don’t stand still, so your strategy can’t either. Establish a strategic cycle of initiatives, actions, and results. Strategy is about working on the business, as well as in it. It’s hard work, and requires learning from your mistakes.

EMJ is implementing some of these principles and has built a bridge between our clients’ needs today and the tried-and-true methods that EMJ has relied on for more than 50 years. The result are a continued focus on our clients and their values, and adding value to projects.

To read more about Outsizing, check out Grow Your Business: Think Like a Farmer, and Outsizing Strategies to Grow Your Business Potential. Outsizing is available for purchase on Amazon. For questions about the book, contact Steve at:  steve.coughran@emjcorp.com.

Choose Your Words Wisely

All words have meaning. And words mean different things to different people, which is why it is so important to choose our words wisely.

All words have meaning. To complicate matters, what a word means to someone who works one cubicle over may be very different than what it means to me, or even the original “dictionary” definition. Which brings us to why it is so important to choose our words wisely.

At this point, maybe some of you are thinking that we’ve become too sensitive as a society, and there may be some truth to that, but before you dismiss this topic, hear me out.

When I was growing up, the phrase “retarded” was commonly uttered. We weren’t trying to make fun of those with a disability – although indirectly it did – but rather to use it in place of stupid or dumb. Since hindsight is always 20/20, today I cringe at how that word was a fabric of my vocabulary for many years. As I matured, the use of the word slowly started to fade.

As I entered into the field of human resources, I really learned how impactful that particular word really was as an employee had to fill out an insurance coverage waiver and it specifically asked if the over-26 dependent child was “retarded.” I’m not making that up – the form from the carrier actually used that word. When I saw the impact the word had on an actual person I cared about, that term was no longer acceptable.

Our word choices can define how others view us, especially those who are in a position of management or authority. If a manager’s everyday office vernacular involves words of the four-letter variety, do we expect direct reports to use anything else? There cannot be a double standard here. And, just because no one complains about a word choice, does not mean it’s acceptable. When it comes down to it, using inappropriate language doesn’t give you credibility or provide better emphasis.

We are, or should be, better than bad vocabulary choices. Words have meaning and the meaning can vary from person-to-person. I work in the construction industry where four-lettered words – and variations – are thrown around regularly. Do they need to be? I think we get the same, or even better, results talking to our subcontractors and partners respectfully. One thing is certain: to proactively head the issue off at the pass, we must minimize the use of potentially inflammatory words at work and know our audience.

The ancient monk Buddha is attributed with saying, “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” Remember the old adage you are what you eat? Well, it applies here as well. We become what we speak – choose your words wisely.


As Senior Vice President of People, Heather is a member of the executive team, providing leadership to departments within the corporation that directly impact EMJ’s culture, including benefits, learning and recruiting. Heather has more than 20 years of experience in employee resources-related fields. She is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is designated as both a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Heather is a DDI-certified trainer and an accomplished speaker. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband and three children.

Great Client Feedback is EMJ’s Measure of Success

EMJ’s measure of success is the client experience. Recently, one client shared his experience working with EMJ upon completion of a 15 month project.

Collegedale Church, Chattanooga, TN.


At EMJ our purpose is to be people serving people, and our mission is to deliver unique value to our clients, partners and colleagues. Edgar M. Jolley founded EMJ over 50 years ago in order to serve one client and, today, EMJ serves hundreds of clients with the same values, purpose, and mission. So how do we make sure we are hitting the mark, providing that unique value to our clients?

Over the years we have adapted our approach, building a bridge between our clients’ needs today and the tried-and-true methods that EMJ has relied on for more than 50 years, resulting in our focus on the Client Experience (CX). A successful client experience is focused on the client’s perspective and feedback.

Recently, one client shared his experience working with EMJ upon completion of a 15 month project. The following are just a few snippets of what he had to say.

“Closing out this chapter reminded me that I wanted to express to each of you my personal gratitude for the experience, and yes, privilege of working with your company over the past, almost two years…EMJ has certainly gone above and beyond mine and [the company’s] expectations in your expertise, professionalism, and responsiveness to our needs. We’re grateful for the building not only of a structure but also in the relationships we’ve been able to build through this process. Your responsiveness and willingness to work with us in some of the unique requirements placed on you has been remarkable…All of you make EMJ a company I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who asks!”

As a national general contractor, it is crucial for CX to be embedded in all the activities of our employees and the company as a whole. This means we are not just about offering our service by building a building, rather, we seek to understand our client’s end purpose and make sure the construction process helps accomplish it. In turn, the end result is way more than a building, it’s an experience that we can be proud of and lasting relationships.

“Our measure of success is the client experience, and we can only be as great as our people,” said Chas Torrence, Executive Vice President, EMJ Construction, Chattanooga. “Delivering an exemplary client experience on a project of this magnitude and duration requires exceptional effort and consistency from our people. I am very proud of this team.”

Congratulations to the project team, which includes: Brad Primus, Steve Jensen, Katie Haberberger, Adam Ankers, Drew Templeton, James Williams, and Philip Augustino. It is project teams like these that allow EMJ to continue to live out our purpose and mission, one client at a time.


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.