Lidl Opens Stores in Atlanta Area to Much Fanfare

Two of EMJ Construction’s Lidl projects recently opened in Snellville and Mableton, Georgia, two of the first three stores in the Atlanta area.

The Snellville, GA Lidl store. Photo: David Keith from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Two of EMJ Construction’s Lidl projects recently opened in Snellville and Mableton, Georgia.

The first of the stores to open was Snellville, opened on Wednesday, January 30, to a packed house. The Gwinnett Daily Post, was on hand to capture the excitement:

The first customers braved temperatures in the mid-20s just so they could be the first people in the door. Store officials said the first customer to arrive was Snellville resident John Rudovich, who said he arrived shortly after 3 a.m. to get in line for the 8 a.m. opening.

The store employs about 60 people at the store, which has about 36,000 square feet of space — about 21,000 of which is the actual shopping area, according to Lidl spokeswoman Chandler Ebeier.

“We’re definitely very excited to be in Georgia (and) we will continue to expand here and along the east coast,” she said. “It’s definitely great to open the door and be in the Snellville community.”

Ebeier said she was impressed to see the line of customers who braved the cold temperatures to be at the grand opening.

“It was crazy and for 25-degree weather, that is very impressive and it definitely goes to show how people are excited about Lidl opening in the community,” she said. “Grans openings are one of my favorite things to attend. We just love to open in new communities and introduce our high quality and low prices to brand new customers in the area.”

A recent Lidl opening. Photo: The Patch.

The Mableton store opened on Wednesday, February 12. The Snellville and Mableton locations are two of the first three stores in the Atlanta area. To read the full story, visit: Gwinnettians pack German grocer Lidl’s Snellville store for grand opening.

“Lidl is a fantastic client,” said Chas Torrence, EVP of EMJ Construction. “They provide a premium product and excellent experience to their customers, which is why they have a loyal and dedicated following. We’re proud to partner with them as they expand their brand and reach.”

Lidl operates over 10,500 stores in 29 countries. They have a history of cultivating relationships with local suppliers in each region to offer customers high quality products at low prices. They have recently expanded to the United States and are striving to be a time-saving, life-enhancing grocery store where customers love to shop. Visit Lidl to learn more.

Signal Energy Leaders Discuss Exciting 2019 Projects

Greg Pawson and Julian Bell of Signal Energy sat down with Mike Pare of the Chattanooga Times Free Press to discuss the company’s exciting 2019 outlook.

Julian Bell, left, and Greg Pawson, of Signal Energy Constructors, talk about upcoming construction projects.
Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Recently Greg Pawson and Julian Bell of Signal Energy sat down with Mike Pare of the Chattanooga Times Free Press to discuss the company’s 2019 outlook. Here’s an excerpt of the story which ran on Sunday, February 3, 2019:

With tariffs on solar panels taking some sizzle out of that market in 2018, a Chattanooga company says business is heating back up with plans for its biggest-ever project and a push into Australia.

Signal Energy Constructors, which designs and builds utility-scale solar installations, is readying large projects in Texas, Georgia and Australia, said company President Greg Pawson.

The over 600 megawatt array in Texas is the largest the company has ever done and one of the nation’s biggest, he said.

“We’ll start design this year,” Pawson said about the company that’s owned by Chattanooga-based construction giant EMJ Corp.

Also, the business founded in 2005 last year opened an office in Australia, where it’s working on what will be the biggest solar array in that country, he said.

Signal Energy has been picked to build a 333 megawatt solar plant in New South Wales, Pawson said.

That installation will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 115,000 homes and displace more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the company said.

To read the full story, visit: Chattanooga solar power array maker takes on its biggest-ever project.

Signal Energy is the renewable energy subsidiary of EMJ Corporation. Signal Energy, is a leading full service design/build contractor providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services for utility-scale renewable energy projects. Signal Energy Australia opened January 2018 and is headquartered in Sydney.

EMJ Promotes Senior Preconstruction Leaders

Left to Right: Alex Miller, SVP, Preconstruction and Keith Starkes, VP, Preconstruction.

EMJ Construction has promoted Alex Miller to Senior Vice President of Preconstruction for its Chattanooga-based team, and Keith Starkes to Vice President of Preconstruction for its Dallas-based team. 

In these roles they will plan, organize, and direct the activities of the Preconstruction Department, provide overall leadership and management of the client experience process. Additionally, they serve as a champion for EMJ’s strategic vision.

Miller attended the University of Tennessee – Knoxville where he earned a degree in civil engineering. He joined EMJ Construction in 2008 as a Project Engineer. Since that time he has held several successive roles including Senior Project Estimator, Director of Preconstruction and Vice President of Preconstruction.

“At a construction firm, one of the key roles is leader of the preconstruction department because that department is the key to delivering a great client experience,” said Chas Torrence, EVP of EMJ Construction, Chattanooga. “Throughout his many years with EMJ, Alex has demonstrated expertise in the construction industry and an unquestionable dedication to serving our clients, partners and colleagues.”

While at EMJ, he’s served on several high-profile projects in Tennessee including: Wacker Polysilicon, a polysilicon production plant in Bradley; Market City Center, a massive mixed-use project in downtown Chattanooga; and, the high-profile renovation work for Ruby Falls, a 145- foot high underground waterfall located within Lookout Mountain.

Starkes attended the Texas A&M University-Commerce where he earned a degree in construction science. He joined EMJ Construction in 2004 as a Project Engineer. Since that time he has held several successive roles including Superintendent, Project Manager, Senior Project Estimator, and Director of Preconstruction.

“Keith has displayed a dedication to serving his colleague and clients from the day he started at EMJ,” said William Mosher, EVP of EMJ Construction, Dallas. “Our preconstruction department sets the course for the project and it’s where we first earn trust from our clients. He’s passionate, fair, and humble. He will continue to be a steady and pragmatic voice helping to ensure we deliver value on each project.”

While at EMJ, he’s served on several high-profile projects in Texas including: Farmer Brothers Co. Headquarters, an office building and distribution center in Northlake; various programmatic projects for Lowes, Kohl’s and Walmart; and, the upcoming Alpha + Inwood project, a massive mixed-use development that includes a hotel, office building, and retail space, in Farmers Branch.

Market City Center, downtown Chattanooga.

 

A rendering of the The Alpha + Inwood project.

EMJ Participates in the Urban Land Institute Event

Recently, the global think-tank Urban Land Institute hosted its annual forecast on real estate and development trends for 2019 in Chattanooga. EMJ Corporation sponsored the event in partnership with the AGC of East Tennessee, AIA Chattanooga, Chattanooga Design Studio and River City Company.

Anita Kramer, Senior Vice President at ULI Center for Capital Markets & Real Estate started the event with her presentation on the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019 report. The report is annually published by ULI each year. The Emerging Trends report is considered one of the most credible and well-regarded forecasts in the real estate industry. Drawing on insight from industry leaders, the report considers industry wide variables including U.S. investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, property sectors, metropolitan areas, construction influences and other real estate issues.

Following ULI’s macro-forecast of the 2019 U.S. real estate trends, a panel of local experts gathered to provide a more specific discussion on Chattanooga’s 2019 outlook. The panelists included Chas Torrence, EVP of EMJ Construction, Tiffanie Robinson, CEO of Lamp Post Properties, and John Clark owner of Tennessee Development Resources. The panel was moderated by Jim Williamson of River City Company and covered a range of topics from the impact of Opportunity Zones and Opportunity Funds to rising construction costs and qualified labor shortages in Chattanooga.

The event was a first of its kind in Chattanooga and one that EMJ and presenting partners hope will help establish a ULI presence in Chattanooga permanently. Industry partners attending the event came from as far as Nashville and Atlanta and consisted of various developers, investors, designers, and more.

EMJ hopes to be a driving force behind Chattanooga’s affiliation with the Urban Land Institute while also helping to unify Chattanooga’s real estate development leaders and build upon continued growth in the same community where EMJ was founded in 1968.

Report by, Sam Marks, EMJ Construction 

EMJ Serves The Chattanooga Community Kitchen

EMJ’s Chattanooga employees took over the Chattanooga Community Kitchen  (CCK) to share the Christmas spirit.

“We love the mission of the Kitchen, which is to meet the most basic needs of hungry, homeless and vulnerable people in our community, while offering a clear path to self-sufficiency,” said Tina Brogdon, who serves as EMJ’s liaison with the Kitchen.

This was the seventh consecutive year EMJ hosted a Christmas party for the clients and employees of the Kitchen. EMJ partners with the Kitchen because it allows employees to support a great cause through service.

EMJ employees tooks shifts decorating the Kitchen, cooking and serving meals, and making phone calls to ask for donations for the organization. The team prepared and served nearly 600 meals.

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

“Those who have been given great gifts have greater responsibilities,” said Brogdon.” We appreciate the Kitchen and are humbled to help in a very small way.”

The Community Kitchen relies 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.

Signal Energy Australia to build 333MW Darlington Point Solar Plant

The Australian subsidiary of Signal Energy, a member of the EMJ family of companies, has been selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to build the 333MWdc/275MWac Darlington Point Solar Plant in western New South Wales, Australia.

The Australian subsidiary of  Signal Energy, a member of the EMJ family of companies, has been selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to build the 333MWdc/275MWac Darlington Point Solar Plant in western New South Wales, Australia.

This is Signal’s second project in Australia, and when completed, it will be the largest solar project in the country, producing enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 115,000 NSW homes and displacing more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This is Signal Energy Australia’s second partnership with Canadian Solar, Inc. who will supply the solar modules for the project.

 “We are extremely pleased that Edify Energy and Octopus Investments selected us to construct the Darlington Point project,” said Greg Pawson, President of Signal Energy, “Edify’s track record of success in Australia, collaboration, and focus on quality makes them an ideal customer to work with. Octopus brings a wealth of solar investment experience from Europe and we look forward to building our relationship with them.”

Construction starts in March 2019 and will be complete in 2020. The solar plant will be built on approximately 2,000 acres near Darlington Point, New South Wales, Australia. Over 820,000 of Canadian Solar’s 1500V high efficiency HiKu (CS3W-P) will be installed on single-axis tracking systems.

  “We are delighted to be selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to provide EPC services together with Signal Energy and to supply our high efficiency and industry-leading 1500V and 400W multi-crystalline solar modules to this large-scale solar power plant,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. “Our work with Darlington Point Solar Farm further demonstrates our strengths as a systems solutions provider with global experience. We are committed to work closely with local Australian communities in creating new jobs and to provide customers in Australia with affordable and reliable solar energy.”

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. Signal Energy Australia opened January 2018 and is headquartered in Sydney. For more information about Signal’s recent projects, visit Darlington Point Solar Farm or Finley Solar Farm.

The universal principles of client experience 

This August, my wife and I welcomed our third son. After his arrival, I was charged with bringing our two oldest sons to the hospital to see their mom and meet their new brother. Little did I know that it would be a lesson in client experience.

Entering the hospital, I was nervous. It was hot. The boys were tired, and as excited as they were about their new brother, we were worried about how they would adjust to the change. It was a lot to process.

As we passed the reception area, I treated it like we were trying to slip past an old East German checkpoint—act like you belong, walk with a purpose, and don’t make eye contact. We were almost home free, when the receptionist shouted, “Wait, your boys need identification bracelets.” She left and returned with bracelets that said “Big Brother.”

The impact of this gesture was immediate. The boys were ecstatic, and seeing that, I was at ease. Undoubtedly, the hospital staff had seen thousands of weary dads in the exact same situation. They were taught to recognize it and empowered to engage with families to help alleviate stress.

What does this have to do with commercial construction? More than you might think.

Providing our clients an exceptional experience is at the heart of everything we do. By doing the little things, day by day, our employees strive to make the construction experience better and to provide value to our clients.

It doesn’t matter if you work at a hospital delivering babies, or if you’re a superintendent overseeing the construction and delivery of the hospital itself, the principles of a great client experience are the same. It’s as simple as every single employee paying attention to clients, empathizing with their situation, and taking actions to improve their experience.

Learn more about EMJ’s approach, designed to produce significant benefits for our clients and make the experience enjoyable.

 

Deron Smith leads the marketing and communications team in internal and external marketing and communication strategy. He has 20 years of experience as a consultant and in-house communications and marketing professional. Before joining EMJ in 2015, Deron served as the National Director of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America and held positions with notable public relations firms Edelman, Publicis Dialog and The Gooden Group.

More Than a Meal: Small Actions, Big Impact

The Principles of Client Experience are the Same, No Matter How You Slice It

 

Providing our clients an excellent construction experience is at the heart of everything we do. As in every venture and life, challenges and problems sometimes arise that our team must overcome. A true servant leader is someone who understands this and works to overcome challenges by taking responsibility and action, no matter who is at fault.

Recently, an American Airlines flight was rerouted because of weather, stranding its passengers. The pilot empathized with his customers and took action:

Passing out pizzas didn’t solve all the passengers’ problems, but you can bet that giving them a meal made the experience less difficult than it could have been.

We believe taking any action to improve our clients’ experience is meaningful, even if it seems small compared to the problem. In the construction industry, it can be as simple as taking time to talk with a client or trade partner, or assisting an employee with career goals.

By doing the little things, day by day, our employees strive to make the construction experience better and to provide value to our clients. We know by alleviating just one frustration, we are fulfilling our purpose to be people serving people.

We commend the pilot for his exceptional service. Read more about him on CNN.com.

 

Deron Smith leads the marketing and communications team in internal and external marketing and communication strategy. He has 20 years of experience as a consultant and in-house communications and marketing professional. Before joining EMJ in 2015, Deron served as the National Director of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America and held positions with notable public relations firms Edelman, Publicis Dialog and The Gooden Group.

How strategy drives meaningful employee engagement in the AEC industry

 

People are at the heart of every success in the AEC industry. Whether it’s a trade partner, a project manager or a superintendent, delivering exceptional experiences and value to clients and partners starts with motivated employees. So, how do companies motivate employees at all levels to maximize positive outcomes?

Experts have wrestled with this question for decades. Steve Coughran, Chief Financial Officer of EMJ, discussed how a well-defined strategy affects employee engagement in a recent interview with Procore’s Jobsite blog. 

“Companies don’t just need employees to be compliant—they need them to be engaged,” says Coughran. “This begins by incorporating both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, coordinating work through mutual adjustment, and aligning everyone on a well-defined strategy.”

Coughran cautions that demotivation can result if employees’ are tasked with responsibilities that do not clearly tie to the overall strategy.

“If employees are working hard—maybe putting in extra time, missing obligations to stay at work late—and can’t see the results of their labor, they will become disengaged very quickly. You must ensure that your employees’ efforts tie to meaningful, tangible strategic outcomes.”

Coughran notes that for a company’s employee engagement strategy to be successful, it must be at the heart of its business strategy. That is a guiding principle for EMJ’s People Department, which works to ensure the company is engaging its employees in a variety of ways. The team engages all employees, but all of its activities are defined by the company’s strategic plan, which says “Invest in our people and work together effectively as one team.”

“At the end of the day, engagement stems from winning in a meaningful way,” said Coughran. “When’s the last time you saw a Super Bowl championship team that was not engaged? Tackle the tough strategic challenges and make the difficult decisions, and engagement will improve.”

Read Steve Coughran’s full interview with Procore’s Jobsite blog. Learn more about just one way EMJ engages its employees.

 


Steve Coughran serves as the CFO for EMJ Corporation. Before joining EMJ, Steve authored the book, Delivering Value, and founded a firm where he counseled construction clients on services including strategy, financial management, and operational effectiveness. To schedule some time to talk with Steve about your strategy or how it impacts engagement, please email marketing@emjcorp.com.

 

Thank you, Brock Insurance, for 50 years of partnership

Founded only five years prior to EMJ in 1963, Brock Insurance Agency has partnered with and served our employees for more than 50 years.

Earlier this month, Brock Insurance was gracious enough to present the Chattanooga office with a beautiful gift in honor of EMJ’s 50th anniversary. The gift was a glass sculpture by artist Chris Mosley of Ignis Glass in Chattanooga.

“The sculpture represents a fusion between art and cityscape and carries monolithic shapes meant to connect the design of buildings with the design of the sculpture,” Mosley explained.

Mark Brock of Brock Insurance Agency and Jay Jolley, EMJ Chairman of the Board

 
The piece serves as a token of appreciation for the ongoing partnership and was received by Jay Jolley, Chairman of the Board, on behalf of the past, current and future employees of EMJ.

Thank you, Brock Insurance, for helping us celebrate EMJ’s 50th anniversary.

Read more about the relationship between Brock and EMJ in this excerpt from EMJ Corporation: The First Fifty Years, which tells the story of EMJ’s founding, relationships, project and growth.

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Loyalty Personified: A Vendor’s Perspective

 
For Ed Jolley, business was about relationships. And while he famously focused on the relationship with his company’s main client, the dedication and loyalty he afforded from day one actually extended to everyone he worked with, including vendors. No one has felt that more keenly than Mark Brock, owner of Brock Insurance. His father, John Brock, who founded Brock Insurance, began working with Independent Construction Company in 1968, handling all of the organization’s insurance and bonds. When Independent Construction Company became EMJ Corporation in 1978, the relationship never wavered. Sadly, John Brock passed away in 1983, leaving his company to his sons—Paul, who was 27 at the time, and Mark, who was only 22. “At that time, Mr. Jolley and the folks at EMJ were extremely helpful to our agency as far as continuing to work with us,” Mark Brock says. “It was a major account for our agency, and we were able to continue the relationship for years and years.”

To this day, even after Paul’s unexpected passing in 2008, EMJ and Brock Insurance remain connected, working together as both companies evolve. The agency insures all of EMJ’s projects and construction activity, as well as all of the companies that have become part of the EMJ family.

 

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Read more excerpts from EMJ Corporation: The First Fifty Years in these blogs:

Celebrating 50 Years: A New Name Heralds New Opportunities

Celebrating 50 years: Above and Beyond

Celebrating 50 years: How it all began