Last week, the EMJ team and The Ainbinder Company celebrated the opening of Academy Sports + Outdoors and Five Below at the High Point Shopping Center in Dallas.
Spanning more than 14.5 acres, the High Point development includes 9 buildings, totaling 180,000 square feet. EMJ’s work included all site work and new construction, as well as adding a new traffic signal on Northwest Highway.
The opening of Academy and Five Below marks the second construction milestone on the project. Burlington opened in September, and Marshalls is expected to open next week.
Congratulations to the project team!
Bobby Bass, Project Manager
Keith Starkes, Preconstruction Manager
Chris Ross, Preconstruction Manager
Charles Grothe, Project Engineer
Mike Coyne, Lead Superintendent
Marcus McAdams, Superintendent
EMJ’s fourth project to date for CarMax opened last week in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Located on five acres, construction of the 7,500-square-foot store included all site work and installing of a below grade 2,000-gallon fuel storage tank.
“The team’s hard work and client support was outstanding,” said George Heath, EMJ Vice President of Construction. “Their diligence led us to the recent award of two new stores in Denton and Lubbock.”
EMJ’s ongoing partnership with CarMax is what EMJ refers to as programmatic work—performing multiple projects for one client of similar scope and size. This type of relationship enables our team to develop a highly tailored, efficient construction process for the client that supports long-term consistency, accountability and trust.
Look for more updates on the team’s work with CarMax, and congrats to the Corpus Christi team on a job well done!
Jon Fair, Project Manager
Daniel Brantley, Superintendent
Conner Kamps, Preconstruction Manager
Will Morris, Project Engineer
Kathy Griffin, Accounting Manager
Suzanna Trent, Administrative Assistant
This week, the EMJ Construction project team hit several milestones in planning and development stages of the Alpha + Inwood project, which is slated to begin early next year.
The massive mixed-use development is located at Alpha and Inwood roads, directly west of the Galleria Dallas and the Dallas North Tollway. The development will consist of a hotel, office building, retail spaces and apartments.
Earlier this year, EMJ completed an expansion at Ruby Falls, a tourist attraction in Lookout Mountain, Tenn., that boasts the nation’s largest public underground waterfall. Our team constructed a new lobby, retail space, pedestrian mall, and more next to the original, historic castle that sits more than 1,000 feet above the underground waterfall.
The expansion required removal of a significant amount of rock to create a pad for the new construction. Considering the site’s location on a mountainside above an underground cavern, the team carefully drilled out the rock section by section, rather than blasting. As documented in a recent Ground Up podcast, the rock removal process required precision planning, logistics, and execution by all project team members. It also required careful consideration for how to prepare the resulting site to endure the elements for many years to come.
Among those considerations was waterproofing and the best method to ensure the exposed rock could withstand the elements. Of particular concern was a void between the new building and the rock wall. This gap was created when the team carved out the rock to create the building pad. The design team presented two options for EMJ to consider: apply a vinyl-waterproofing product or fill the space between the building and the mountain with concrete.
But, here was the catch. While the team could estimate the cost of the vinyl waterproofing, it was impossible to measure the gap and estimate the cost of the concrete.
The team called on Caleb Wickersham, EMJ Virtual Construction Engineer and licensed drone pilot, who had already flown the site and created a 3D model of the mountainside using photogrammetry.
Caleb layered the architect’s building model next to his mountainside model. Using his previous calculations, he was able to determine the volume of the space between the building and the mountain, which provided the amount of concrete needed to solve the waterproofing issue. From this, the team calculated the concrete cost, and in comparing it with the vinyl-waterproofing cost, the vinyl product was the more cost-effective and prudent option for Ruby Falls.
There is an old adage that applies to construction, “Measure twice and cut once.” In a figurative sense that means to plan and prepare in a careful, thorough manner before taking action. Using construction technology, that is exactly what the Ruby Falls team did, helping make sure its recommendation to the client was accurate.
Founders’ Hall served as phase II of EMJ’s ongoing work at The Commons, an eight-acre cultural and recreational space serving the Collegedale, Tenn., community.
Phase I, which opened in late 2017, included a clock tower, Redwood tree grove, and an open-air pavilion, and Phase III will include the addition of a sound stage for concerts. It is expected to be completed in 2019.
The Commons is the culmination of joint efforts by Collegedale leaders, the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation, and the public to bring this center to the community.
“We are honored to be a part of bringing this project to Collegedale,” said Matt Elliott, EMJ Project Manager. “The Foundation and community leaders have worked hard to make it possible, and we are glad to be a small part of giving this strong community something to enjoy for years to come. Thanks to all of our trade partners and colleagues for their hard work in getting us here.”
Congratulations to the EMJ team on this project:
Ryan Colbert, Project Engineer
Matt Elliott, Project Manager
Blake Johnson, Lead Superintendent
Joe Woolums, Senior Preconstruction Manager
Pictured (left to right): Matt Elliott, Project Manager; Alex Miller, Vice President of Preconstruction; Ryan Colbert, Project Engineer; and Blake Johnson, Lead Superintendent
Parkridge Health System is getting an upgrade, thanks to support from HCA’s FacilitiGroup. The hospital kicked off a $3.1 million chiller and cooling tower replacement project last month in partnership with the EMJ Construction team.
According to Parkridge, “This significant upgrade will improve the facility’s ability to manage its interior climate controls and overall utility efficiency.”
The new structure is being built within a mechanical “bull-pen” full of multiple utilities and services, leaving little to no room to spare. This complexity, combined with the need to continue operations at the hospital without disruption, required extensive planning and critical analysis before construction began.
“After reviewing the drawings, Lee Company and EMJ Superintendent David Taylor had concerns that the new chiller equipment wouldn’t fit into the roll-up door considering the adjacent air-cooled chiller located only a few feet away,” said Lance Truett, EMJ Project Manager.
If the equipment could not fit through the roll-up door, the team would need to identify an alternative method for installing the new equipment. To test the installation scenario, the project team enlisted the help of EMJ’s Construction Technology Department, which specializes in building information modeling (BIM) and other virtual imaging techniques.
“Employing laser scanning for existing conditions was the perfect solution for the Parkridge project since we were dealing with a high degree of complexity and congestion,” said Jonathan Deming, EMJ Director of Construction Technology. “This process has enabled our team to move forward with complete confidence and certainty.”
A “scan” is a powerful laser recording that captures a site’s shape and appearance and converts those conditions into 3D models and structural drawings at sub-millimeter accuracy.
“Roger Aasheim and Will Callery laser scanned the existing conditions and overlaid the new construction along with a 3D model of the chiller equipment provided by the chiller manufacturer to see how it was all going to go together,” said Truett. “With their help we were able to demonstrate that moving the building 18” east would eliminate all concerns and site constraints. Moving the structure also makes the installation safer and the future maintenance possible.”
With a modified construction plan approved and in place, the team and its trade partners kicked off the Parkridge renovation in late August. Demolition of the existing cooling tower is complete, and temporary towers are fully operational.
Working in conjunction with the technology team at HVAC company Lee Company, the EMJ team is currently modeling the pumps, piping, and control panels of the new space to fully understand the structure and ensure smooth and efficient construction continues throughout the project’s duration.
The Parkridge project is on track for early 2019 completion. Congrats to the EMJ Construction Healthcare team on a job well done!
Roger Aasheim, Virtual Construction Engineer II
Will Callery, Virtual Construction Manager
Zach Klassen, Project Engineer
Lance Truett, Project Manager
Sam Marks, Preconstruction Manager
Cody Stubblefield, Project Engineer
David Taylor, Superintendent
On the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, EMJ Construction, led by Co-Op Rashard Minnis, participated in “11 Hours of Remembrance,” a run/walk at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Sponsored by the UTC Army ROTC/SVO, the event honors those killed and injured on Sept. 11, 2001, and those whose heroic actions prevented more deaths. Participants carry an American flag or a flag of one of the U.S. Armed Services around a track and take at least one lap around the field with the goal of having at least one of the flags circulating throughout the day.
Minnis served the Marine Corps for 15 years prior to attending The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he is pursuing a second degree in civil engineering with a minor in construction management while serving EMJ as a co-op. He reached out to his EMJ colleagues and asked them to join him in honoring the heroes of 9/11, and they answered the call.
Among those joining Minnis at the event was EMJ Project Engineer and military veteran Evan Rector, who served more than 11 years in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.
Thank you Rashard, Evan, and all of the military veterans at EMJ who served our nation. You exemplify our purpose to be people serving people.
Pictured are Kami Clark, Office Manager, EMJ Construction Special Projects; Evan Rector, EMJ Project Engineer; Rashard Minnis, EMJ Co-Op; and Cody Stubblefield, EMJ Project Engineer.
Read more about the event and see additional photos on the UTC blog.
High Point Climbing and Fitness will soon arrive in Memphis, Tenn. The EMJ Construction Special Projects team began work on the project in late 2017 and is on schedule to deliver the project to the client in early 2019.
Designed by PV Design, Inc., the unique, 32,000-square-foot facility will include several indoor climbing walls up to 50 feet tall, a 40-foot outdoor wall, a kids climbing area, a cardio room, weight room, and spaces for yoga and spin classes.
Drone flyover footage captured in August 2018.
The design includes a specialized exterior wall panel system that provides water tightness and insulation and required extensive coordination with various stakeholders to ensure the project stayed on track.
“It’s a very complex system that took the entire team working together to overcome the hurdles, to keep our original schedule,” said Jon-Michael Davis, EMJ Project Manager.
“On top of that, we had multiple meetings involving every subcontractor that touched or penetrated the system to ensure water tightness per the manufacture recommendation.”
Having successfully installed the exterior wall system, the team began constructing the exterior climbing wall earlier this week.
“Working and coordinating with Walltopia, who provides and installs all the interior and exterior climbing walls, has been the most interesting part of this project,” said Davis. “This group is out of Bulgaria, so coordination has been extremely important.”
High Point’s leadership team recently commended the project team on a job well done, and the EMJ project team attributes this to weekly collaboration meetings and excellent communication.
“We’ve worked hard to earn their trust,” said Davis. “The High Point team has been great to work with.”
Look for more updates on High Point Memphis in the coming weeks, and thank you to the project team for delivering an exceptional client experience.
Project team members include:
Mark Stepansky, Lead Superintendent
Marty Nielsen, Superintendent
David Lindsey, Level 1 Superintendent
Jon-Michael Davis, Project Manager
Evan Rector, Project Engineer
Jerry Campbell, Senior Preconstruction Manager
Craig Skidmore, Preconstruction Manager
David Haley, Senior Preconstruction Manager
Travis Darwent, Preconstruction Manager
Norman, Okla., now has a new CarMax store! EMJ joined CarMax in celebrating the grand opening of its new location on Wednesday.
This marks EMJ’s third project to date for CarMax, and another store is currently under construction in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“This was an outstanding performance by our project team, and they have continued to solidify our relationship with CarMax,” said George Heath, EMJ Vice President – Retail. “They have been a good programmatic client for us and have asked us to pursue three more projects in Texas and Mississippi.”
Dan Swope, CarMax Location General Manager, shares George’s sentiment, “It was fantastic being in our new home today. We have been looking forward to this for so long, and we wanted to say thank you for the care and attention you put into our facility. You have been awesome partners along the way!”
EMJ’s partnership with CarMax is what EMJ refers to as programmatic work—performing multiple projects for one client of similar scope and size. This type of relationship enables our team to develop a highly tailored, efficient construction process for the client that supports long-term consistency, accountability and trust.
Look for more updates on the team’s work with CarMax, and congrats to the Norman team on a job well done!
Jonathan Fair, Project Manager
Drew Halsey, Vice President of Preconstruction
Conner Kamps, Preconstruction Manager
Andrew Lackey, Project Engineer
Will Morris, Project Engineer
Rickey Palmer, Superintendent
Brenda Palmer, Administrative Assistant
Sheila Nazario-Thomas, Administrative Assistant
Mary Gross, Project Accountant
When tasked with building a school in time for the new academic year, while knowing the project was already behind, what did EMJ Superintendent Nestor Praniuk do? He was honest.
“This is where we are; this is where we need to be. We’re a team. Together, we’re going to do this,” Praniuk said referring to his conversation with the owner. And, together, they did. Through collaboration and Nestor’s leadership, the team delivered a new lower school addition at Chattanooga Christian School (CCS) just in time for the school year.
“As a parent, I know the importance of starting the new year off right,” said Praniuk. “I didn’t want our work to impact the parents and teachers. To me, there was only one option and that was to open on time.”
On paper, getting the school completed by the August 13, 2018, deadline did not look feasible as various setbacks had already placed it 10 days behind. Through diligent efforts and consistent communication, Praniuk and his team, including Senior Preconstruction Manager Kyle Tippens and Project Engineer Devin Munczenski, aligned all trade partners with their goal and empowered them to make it happen.
Praniuk recalls challenging his trade partners and workers on site to understand the progress CCS is trying to make and the experience the school is aiming to deliver its clients. “I told them, ‘Think like a parent and what their needs are. What happens with their day if construction doesn’t come through on time?’”
Communicating an end goal is one thing. Getting all stakeholders to follow through on their commitment is another feat, one that requires thoughtful leadership and influence.
“It’s all about trust,” said Praniuk. “The key is creating healthy relationships with all involved. Get to know the other person and what’s important to them and why. Determine what you need to do to please them and then do it. You do what you say you’ll do, and you solidify that mutual trust.”
“In my many years of organizational leadership, [Nestor] is in a small group of unique leaders who I believe are critical to the ability of an organization to meet its goals and execute its mission,” writes Chad Dirkse, President of CCS, about Praniuk in a letter to EMJ.
“The core values EMJ espouses are embodied well in Nestor’s leadership. I know he cares deeply for CCS and for EMJ,” Dirkse continued. “He is not afraid to tell me no or challenge something he doesn’t agree with but works hard to meet my needs and expectations. He is also extraordinary at building healthy sub relationships.”
Praniuk’s approach to building great relationships with the trade partners, or subcontractors, on his construction jobs is simple: “Be a leader your subs want to follow, and treat them like you would like to be treated. We are only as good as our subs are. If they succeed, we succeed.”
At EMJ, we talk a lot about our project teams and how they extend far beyond our own employees to include the owner, designers, engineers, and all of the subcontractors that deliver a piece of the intricate puzzle that results in a building. Praniuk lives this. He manages each partner on the site as he does members of the EMJ team, with respect and as a valuable contributor.
“I get to know the workers as people and try to tap into their potential. 99% of their life is work. They’re sharing it with you on this project. Show them you care,” said Praniuk. “My goal is for them to take ownership and pride in the project, just like me. It’s much more than a task to be completed that day.”
The team’s hard work and strength of character shone brightly on the site.
The lower school at CCS was phase III of ongoing work the EMJ Construction Special Projects team is completing for the school. Praniuk and his team are now constructing an outdoor pavilion on the campus.
“The most rewarding part of our team’s work is meeting the client’s expectations and needs and creating great impact on the life of subs and our clients,” said Praniuk. “It’s more than a project. It’s personal.”
Nestor Praniuk joined the EMJ team in 2015. He has more than 18 years of construction experience, working at all levels from trade partner to site supervision. Earlier this year, he was honored with the Edgar M. Jolley Award for Outstanding Performance.