Tuesday, August 3, 2021

EMJ Employees Exemplify Excellence

Our purpose is to be People Serving People. For 53 years, we have charged our teams, nationwide, to be servant leaders who lead by example and inspire and serve others. EMJ’s leaders took some time at our Summer Summit in Orlando, Fla. to recognize those who exemplify this purpose by giving out the Jolley Awards.

Named in honor of Edgar M. Jolley, Sr., who founded EMJ in 1968, the awards recognize employees of EMJ Construction, which includes Shared Services, for exemplary performance and contributions to EMJ’s family of companies.

Outstanding Servant Leadership:
The Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership is EMJ’s recognition of an individual who exemplifies servant leadership as defined by EMJ’s core values. ​Employees are nominated for this award by office leadership, and recipients are selected by the Jolley committee. The recipient of the Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership meets the following criteria:

  • Leads by example
  • Inspires and serves others
  • Exhibits EMJ’s core values

Servant leaders at EMJ really exemplify our values of selfless, trustworthy and gritty to those that they work with inside and outside of the company.

Charles Grothe, Project Engineer

The recipient of the Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership is Charles Grothe.
Charles not only exemplifies our values but also has an unyielding internal commitment to these values including leading by example, being self-aware and honest, possessing humility, and serving as an excellent steward for our clients. He has served as a Project Engineer on some of the most challenging projects for long periods of time and continues to thrive amidst any obstacles that may come his way, always giving his best effort. Charles never lets overwhelming challenges negatively impact him and always finds ways to help his project team. He serves others at the highest level possible and has an unequaled commitment to EMJ.


Outstanding Performance:
The Jolley for Outstanding Performance is EMJ’s most prestigious individual award.

Employees are nominated for this award by office leadership, and recipients are selected by the Jolley committee. The recipients of the Jolley for Outstanding Performance meets the following criteria:

  • Improved performance and/or range of responsibility
  • Exhibited strong work ethic resulting in accurate and timely outcomes
  • Developed junior team members
  • Exemplified servant leadership within his/her team
  • Demonstrated initiative and creativity in tackling difficult or unusual challenges.


Travis Darwent, Preconstruction Manager

Travis Darwent is the recipient for the Jolley Award for Outstanding Performance.
He converted four project wins during the course of 2020 and helped lead the Preconstruction department. He sets the bar for his work ethic—he’s one of the first to the office every morning and creates significant contingency in the buyout process of projects. He always puts in the time required to make EMJ successful.



Outstanding Project:
The Jolley for Outstanding Project is EMJ’s highest recognition of a project team. This award is given to one project team each year.

Employees are nominated for this award by office leadership, and recipients are selected by the Jolley committee. The recipients of the Jolley for Outstanding Project meets the following criteria:

  • Client Experience
  • Staff turnover
  • Safety

The 2020 Outstanding Project was the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lupton Hall. There was no staff turnover on the project and it had exemplary safety observations while being an active campus site in the middle of the university. The project team turned the project over to the client four weeks early delivering an exceptional client experience. The Construction Department and UTC staff had high praise for EMJ’s performance which set us up for winning an additional project, the University of Tennessee at Martin STEM Building. Additional complexities on the project included renovating two old buildings with complex mechanical system renovations, having to match old precast, working with two different design teams concurrently and two groups of subcontractors concurrently—all while taking all the necessary precautions due to the effects of COVID-19 on an active campus. The UTC Lupton Hall project team consists of Chris Grannan, Adam Graves, Kevin Fix, Tina Brogdon, Mindie Ogle, Gary Gibson, Shane Hurley, David Taylor, Zane Rice and David McCallen.

Pictured from left to right: David Taylor, Superintendent; Zane Rice, Level II Superintendent; David McCallen, Sr. Preconstruction Manager; Kevin Fix,Project Manager; Mindie Ogle, Project Engineer; Tina Brogdon, Project Coordinator; Chris Grannan, VP of Preconstruction
Not pictured: Gary Gibson, Director of Construction; Shane Hurley, Senior Superintendent; Adam Graves, Senior Project Manager

Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients of a Jolley Award. We are  proud to serve alongside those who demonstrate the principles of servant leadership, exemplify our team approach, and deliver unique value to our clients, partners and colleagues.

Learn more about other highlights of the Summer Summit here.