Podcast: Wegmans delivered in only 33 weeks

In 2016, EMJ launched the Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence to recognize exceptional work within the family of companies. The “Jolleys,” named in memory of EMJ’s founder, are presented in three categories: Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Servant Leadership and Outstanding Project.


In this five-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Outstanding Project recipients and why they were selected for these awards. Directors and Vice Presidents of the corporation nominate for Outstanding Project, which is given to a project team that delivered an exceptional client experience, added value, overcame challenges, demonstrated exemplary planning and execution, and built client relationships.

This year, EMJ recognized five projects with this award:

Signal Mill, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tranquillity 8 Solar, Fresno County, Calif.
West Towne Marketplace, El Paso, Texas
Market City Center, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Wegmans Food Market, Medford, Mass.

In this final blog of the series, we’re featuring the team behind Wegmans Food Market in Medford, Mass., in a ten-minute Ground Up podcast.


Before beginning work on Wegmans, EMJ’s Boston team managed the demolition of Meadow Glen Mall, a 200,000-square-foot, 35-year-old shopping center, to make way for the 120,000-square-foot grocery store.

During preconstruction, the team created a comprehensive quality management plan which aligned each project team member from day one. They maintained a consistent open line of communication and made sure they understood the client’s goals to bring the project to a successful completion.

The project team faced challenges with the structural steel slab and poor soil conditions from the earliest phase of the project. In addition, the client requested several design changes throughout the project, which the team responded to quickly, positively, and efficiently.

The day of the grand opening, Colleen Wegman, President of Wegmans, thanked the team profusely and said this was the most successful outside vendor delivery in the history of their program, reflecting how the team delivered an exceptional client experience.

The project now holds the quickest start-to-finish execution, at 33 weeks, of any Wegmans project ever built, which has led to further negotiated work and current projects in N.Y., Va., and Mass.

Congratulations to all members of the project team:

Amy Angus, Assistant Project Manager
Neal Fontana, Senior Preconstruction Manager
Michael Fragassi, Lead Superintendent
Bruce Tassone, Senior Project Manager
Tania Nicholson, Project Accountant


Related articles

Boston celebrates opening of Wegmans at Meadow Glen

Team dives in to complete Dick’s Sporting Goods construction in record time

When a long-time client was in a crunch to get their Dick’s Sporting Goods construction project in West Long Branch, N.J., completed within a reduced timeframe, they turned to EMJ Construction.

Having a previous relationship with our Boston team, they asked us to provide expedited pricing and an accelerated construction schedule.

EMJ Construction Boston was formally awarded the Dick’s Sporting Goods project on December 21, 2018 and challenged with a nearly impossible completion deadline. It was critical to the client’s financial goals that the store be open for business by the third week of May.

Senior Project Manager Bruce Tassone and Superintendent Darryl Moore immediately visited the snowy site over the winter holidays, performing scope reviews and submitting building and demolition permit requests.

Once approved to work, Lead Superintendent Mike Fragassi and the field team immediately jumped into the project, performing a full survey and highlighting many differences from the drawings.

The entire team collaborated to compare the existing conditions to the design drawings and provide creative solutions to various issues that were uncovered—from a 6-inch difference in the slab elevation at the front of the store to conflicts with the basis of design gas service pressure. In addition, the team discovered the site was built on a former landfill, adding levels of approval and environmental consultant oversight to an already-tight schedule.

“There were numerous challenges in the existing conditions and the team worked with the owner and design team to solve these problems within the first 30 days of being involved,” said Fragassi.

They were able to begin selective demolition on January 8, less than three weeks after the client awarded them the project. In the past, EMJ teams have efficiently performed start-to-finish Dick’s Sporting Goods in 16-18 weeks, but with the building permit unavailable until February 16th, 2018, the Boston team was able to complete the project in just over two months. The project was turned over to Dick’s Sporting Goods Operations Team on April 27th.

“The client(s) can’t speak highly enough about the team that pulled this out for them,” said Tassone. “Very early on, it looked like it wouldn’t happen, and our team truly rose to the challenge and did whatever it took to make sure this project ended up positively.”

As a result, both clients are now discussing additional projects with the Boston team.

“This team exhibits true grit— they’ll do whatever is necessary to get the job done,” said Neil Pratt, Executive Vice President of EMJ Boston. “Everyone on the team continually exemplified that behavior, and both clients couldn’t be happier.”

Congratulations to the team:

Alex Colwell, Co-Op
Mike Fragassi, Lead Superintendent
Peter Gilson, Project Engineer
Darryl Moore, Superintendent
Steve Rice, Vice President of Construction
Bruce Tassone, Senior Project Manager
Frank Miller, Preconstruction Manager
Joan Madden, Project Accountant
Katie Slowe, Administrative Assistant


People Serving People: Thank you to our generous team

Our EMJ purpose to be people serving people extends beyond our office doors. In addition to clients, colleagues and partners, our teams are dedicated to serving the communities in which we work, and we do so throughout the year, by participating in charitable events, fundraising initiatives, volunteer construction, and more.

Knowing the holiday season can be an especially challenging time for those in need, our teams make an extra effort to give back during the month of December.

Our Boston and Dallas offices collected boxes of playthings for Toys for Tots, and company-wide our employees are collecting donations for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.

And, for the sixth year in a row, the Chattanooga office hosted a Christmas party for visitors to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

Fundraising for the Community Kitchen event began in November with Chattanooga employees pitching in more than $1,500 by early December. Those funds were then utilized to buy food, supplies and decorations.

Employees cooked at home the night before and then prepared and served 520 plates to the city’s homeless population on Friday, December 15th.

“You came. You cooked. You served. You cleaned. And, you touched many hearts along the way,” said Tina Brogdon, Senior Administrative Assistant, who led the Community Kitchen effort. “You all did a wonderful job in helping to make this event a success.”

Chattanooga Community Kitchen

Thank you to our generous employees who donated their time, money and talents to help so many this holiday season. We are thankful that you are a part of the EMJ team!

To learn more about the organizations EMJ supported this year and to get involved, visit the links below.

Chattanooga Community Kitchen
Toys for Tots
Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer

Related story:

Join us in supporting Austin Hatcher Foundation


EMJ breaks ground on The Sheridan at Hobe Sound

Boston, construction, groundbreaking, retirement community, Hobe Sound, Florida, senior living, healthcare

EMJ’s Boston office recently celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for The Sheridan at Hobe Sound, a 110,000-square-foot retirement community on nearly 8 acres of land.

A joint venture between Senior Lifestyle Corporation and CA Senior Living, the Boston team will soon begin building The Sheridan, which will feature 85 assisted living apartment homes and 40 memory care residences developed specifically to support residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other conditions.

“Our team is excited to begin another large-scale senior living project to serve the Hobe Sound community, and we hope to bring a tremendous amount of value to the client through early collaboration in the project’s development,” said Neil Pratt, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Boston.

Boston, construction, groundbreaking, retirement community, Hobe Sound, Florida, senior living, healthcare
Artist rendering of The Sheridan at Hobe Sound assisted living and memory care community.

The Sheridan at Hobe Sound is designed with a resort-style feel and will bring amenities to residents that will promote social connectivity with top-notch service. Residents will enjoy chef-prepared meals in an elegant dining room, and indoor and outdoor amenity spaces designed for groups.

Residents of the retirement community will also be able express themselves in the creative studio, play bocce ball, practice on the putting green, dine on an outdoor patio and enjoy outdoor spaces and walking paths that weave throughout the property’s natural wetlands.

Artist rendering of The Sheridan at Hobe Sound assisted living and memory care community. (PRNewsfoto/Senior Lifestyle Corporation)

In addition to meeting the housing and healthcare needs of greater Hobe Sound’s growing senior population, The Sheridan will create more than 150 new jobs in the retirement community.

EMJ’s team began construction in early November, and the community is scheduled to open in early 2019.

Read more about the project and our other senior living projects here.

Related stories:
Senior Lifestyle Corporation And CA Senior Living Break Ground On New 125-Unit Development In Hobe Sound, Fla.

Boston celebrates opening of Wegmans at Meadow Glen

EMJ celebrated the grand opening of Wegmans in Medford, Mass., on Sunday, Nov. 5. Nearly 24,000 people visited the 120,000-square-foot grocery store at Meadow Glen Marketplace.

wegmans, grocery, medford, meadow glen, emj construction

This is EMJ’s first Wegmans project, adding to an extensive grocery portfolio that includes Lidl, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Food Lion, Kroger, Publix, Whole Foods and more.

Before beginning work on Wegmans, EMJ managed the demolition of Meadow Glen Mall, a 200,000-square-foot, 35-year-old shopping center, to make way for the new development.

The EMJ team also built the 50,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods and the shell of the 20,000-square-foot Petco located within the development.

wegmans, grocery, medford, meadow glen, emj construction

Congratulations to all team members on the project:

Michael Fragassi, Lead Superintendent
Bruce Tassone, Senior Project Manager
Kyle Bohin, Project Manager
Amy Angus, Project Engineer
Tania Nicholson, Project Accountant

To see more of EMJ’s grocery work, visit our projects page.

Related stories:

Look inside the massive new Wegmans that just opened near Boston

A massive Wegmans is opening in Medford

Using templates for accurate layout at Wegmans

Wegmans: 3D BIM coordination aids through-slab MEP planning


Dann, Joshi join EMJ Boston leadership team

EMJ is pleased to welcome Ed Dann as Vice President of Northeast Business Development and Ketan Joshi as Vice President of Preconstruction in the Boston office.

Ed Dann EMJ Boston executive vice president business development NortheastA native of New England, Ed Dann is based in EMJ’s Boston office and will develop opportunities to drive growth and identify new markets for diversification in the northeastern United States.

He will lead the business development team in building new relationships with regional clients and spreading awareness of EMJ’s brand and unique construction approach.

Dann has more than 30 years of sales and sales management for large private commercial construction firms, most recently serving as Vice President of Business Development for Dellbrook | JKS.

“Ed’s expertise in sales strategy paired with his years of experience positioning large construction firms make him an asset to our Boston office, as well as the entire corporation,” said Neil Pratt, Executive Vice President of EMJ Boston.

Boston executive EMJ Boston Ketan Joshi leadership preconstruction

Ketan Joshi will provide leadership to the Boston office in all areas of preconstruction and manage his team through the budgeting, bidding and buyout of projects.

Joshi comes to EMJ with more than 24 years of construction, architectural and real estate experience. Joshi’s extensive experience in all aspects of estimating, building design and preconstruction makes him well-suited to serve as EMJ’s VPP in Boston.

“Ketan has years of valuable experience that make him an expert in the field,” said Steve Rice, Senior Vice President of EMJ Construction – Boston. “We’re excited to see the leadership and expertise he brings to the preconstruction team and look forward to how his presence is going to impact the Boston office.”

Before beginning a long career in estimating, Joshi earned his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Master’s degree in construction management at Virginia Tech.

EMJ Corporation’s Boston office opened in 1987. With three decades of experience, the office focuses on serving New England in retail, mixed-use, commercial, higher education and senior living sectors.

EMJ ranks #41 among Top Contractors in Giants Report

Building Design + Construction (BD+C) recently released its 2017 Giants Report, an annual ranking of the nation’s largest construction firms, and EMJ ranks #41 among the Top Contractors, climbing six spots from last year.

EMJ also ranks #53 among BD+C’s top CM Agent + PM Firms for our team’s work as a third-party construction management or program management consultant on large and often complex construction projects.

In addition to the overall rankings, BD+C classifies construction firms by revenue in individual sector. EMJ’s diverse portfolio of work is evident as the family of companies was ranked in five separate categories.


With nearly 50 years of history in retail construction, it’s no surprise that EMJ ranks #5 in the country in this sector. Large projects including Grand Parkway Marketplace728 Market Street and Waterside pushed our family of companies’ retail revenue to more than $287 million last year.

2018’s stats appear bright for this sector as well, as our team is currently constructing several large retail developments including Meadow Glen Mall in Medford, Mass., and Village of Waterside in Chattanooga, Tenn. See the full list of retail construction firm rankings here.

construction waterside retailWaterside, a 63-acre mixed use project anchored by Whole Foods and REI, helped bring EMJ to its position in retail.


EMJ ranks #16 among the nation’s top hotel construction firms. In the past year, EMJ completed its largest project in corporation history, River Spirit Casino, along with a myriad of national hotel brands such as WoodSprings Suites and Home2 Suites. See the full list of hotel construction firm rankings here.

River Spirit Casino Resort, the largest project in EMJ Corporation history, helped bring EMJ to its position in hospitality.

Adaptive Reuse

In addition to these rankings, EMJ was mentioned in BD+C’s Retail Report for our adaptive reuse work and “conserving and reimagining historic structures” at Signal Mill .  EMJ has partnered with Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects to repurpose the textile manufacturing facility into a development housing retail, restaurant and office space.

Signal Mill, a 34,560-square-foot “Knitting Mill” transformed into an urban, mixed-use retail, restaurant and office development.

Our rankings from last year were a great achievement, and this year, each of our rankings significantly improved from last year’s. Congratulations to all members of the family of companies for these impressive achievements.

To learn more about our scope of work, visit the Projects page.

Using templates for accurate layout at Wegmans

Photo by Wegmans, www.wegmans.com


As with any EMJ client, attention to detail should be a top priority.

The website of Wegmans grocery store, a current client of EMJ’s Boston office, states the company’s commitment, “Every Day You Get Our Best.” With a slogan like that, 92 stores and more than 47,000 employees, it would be difficult for any contractor to live up to the strict standards of this, or any, client without incorporating a C2C and quality approach to construction.

Wegmans has a brand image that includes many architectural details that need to be met to live up to their, and shopper’s, expectations. So when the Boston team identified a curved ceiling detail hanging directly above a curved seating bar, they knew it had to be exact, or it wouldn’t meet EMJ’s or our client’s expectations upon delivery.

Upon review of the plans, the project team noticed the dimensions for the drywall ceiling feature were incorrect. They posed the question to the architect, who then issued new dimensions that were sent to the millwork subcontractor for a final review.

The millwork subcontractor identified areas of inconsistency with the millwork dimensions and sent the project team the dimensions for the millwork, so they could then send a request back to the architect to verify.

The team could have continued this repetitive process. However, this could potentially cause delays and frustration between all parties involved. Instead, they chose to involve the millwork and drywall subcontractor and send not just the question, but a proposed solution. The architect approved the change.

But, the team didn’t stop there. They worked with the millwork subcontractor to provide a template for the drywall team to use as a layout. This forethought allowed the drywall to be dimensioned and placed as a direct and exact vertical transference of the millwork seating bar below.

Identifying conflicts in the plans early, coordinating with pertinent subcontractors and following through with the design team and owner are all integral parts of the C2C process.

Providing solutions and coordinating with adjacent trades can expedite the process and show our clients how EMJ “Gives Our Best Every Day.”

Pratt, Torrence recognized as ENR’s Top Young Professionals

Two EMJ leaders were recently named among Engineering News-Record’s 2017 Top Young Professionals.

Neil Pratt, Executive Vice President of EMJ Corporation’s Boston office, was announced as one of ENR New England’s winners last week. Chas Torrence, Senior Vice President of Accent Construction Services, received his title in ENR Southeast’s class in January.

Annually, ENR recognizes regional up-and-coming leaders who represent the “best-of-the-best” in their respective construction and design careers and who strive to give back to their companies, industry and communities.

Both men were also recently included in International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) “20 Under 40,” which recognizes 20 outstanding members of the construction, engineering and architectural industries nationwide who exhibit strong leadership, community involvement and innovation.

Pratt has nearly 15 years of construction experience and has been with the corporation since 2003. He helped establish Accent Construction Services, EMJ’s special projects division, where he served for eight years before being promoted to his current role.

When not at work, Pratt serves his community through First Things First, an organization dedicated to strengthening families, and Leadership Chattanooga, a program that brings professionals together to cultivate leadership and community growth.

Torrence’s 15 years of construction experience in a variety of roles, including estimator, project manager and construction manager, serves as a valuable resource to all departments within the Accent team.

Torrence serves as a the Board of Directors for East Tennessee’s chapter of Make-a-Wish, an organization which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and he is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Miracle League of Chattanooga, an organization which allows more than 200,000 physically or mentally-disabled children to play baseball across the nation.

“Neil and Chas are valued team members within our organization, and I am proud that they are now recognized for their efforts across our industry, as well,” said Doug Martin, Chief Operating Officer of EMJ Corporation. “I look forward to seeing them grow and lead our family of companies to continued success.”

Boston Team’s Experiential Learning at United Steel

Team members from EMJ’s Boston  office take a tour of United Steel.


When EMJ Construction’s Boston team began a new project involving structural steel, office leaders seized the opportunity to make it an office-wide learning experience.

Neil Pratt, Executive Vice President, and Steve Rice, Vice President of Construction, took several project engineers and other team members to United Steel in October to ensure that all team members gained a deeper understanding of steel fabrication and how to apply this knowledge to their jobs.

“As someone who is new to working in the field, I haven’t really been exposed to a lot of the processes that go into subcontractor work,” said Adam Parker, Project Engineer, Boston. “It was great to get that kind of on-the-job training.”

Today, Adam is applying the knowledge gained from the field trip to a current project. The information gained from the visit is a good reminder that experiential learning is not just for students.

“Neil and Steve wanted us to get more well-rounded information on how things are run on the fabrication side,” said Adam. “When we arrived, United Steel sat us down in their conference room and discussed how steel fabrication works and how they work with EMJ. After an engaging question and discussion session, we toured their facility to see how they turn shop drawings into actual fabrication drawings.”

Adam said the experience gave him better insight into the erection of steel on jobsites and the impact of missing information. He also discovered how incomplete contractual agreements or schedule sequencing changes interfere with the timeliness and accuracy of structural steel column and beam deliveries.

“It gave me a better idea of the processes on their end,” said Ian Buckley, Project Engineer. “Knowing how they operated helped me understand how to better work with our subcontractors.”

The Boston team’s field trip exhibits EMJ’s C2C step of ASKing questions and continually seeking additional knowledge, but also it’s a testament to the many methods of learning. This type of on-site learning, whether it’s taking construction teams to a subcontractor’s place of business or getting office employees out on the jobsite, can be a powerful tool for knowledge sharing and relationship building.

Congrats to the Boston office for embracing continued learning through this unique experience.