Fitness Challenge Produces Healthy Lifestyles

At EMJ, we are more than the work we do. We value our people, above all else, and strive to invest in our people and work together effectively as one team.

There are many ways to do that, including friendly office team competition. This, together with the spirit of promoting both healthy competition and lifestyles, is how the People Department created the 2019 Fitness Challenge.

The Fitness Challenge of 2019 was a 3-month challenge that ran January 14 – April 15. EMJ gave a $500 cash prize for both the winning team and each male and female top performer, all based on percentage of weight lost. There were also individual and team prizes for exercise minutes.

While the challenge was definitely a success in promoting healthy lifestyles and building teamwork, it was also the beginning of an incredible fitness journey for some, especially the Dallas Office female winner, Suzanna Trent.

In addition to crushing her competition and helping her team place 3rd, she transformed her lifestyle, allowing her to continue to lose weight even several months after the competition had ended.

We sat down with Suzanna to discuss the details of her motivation, progress, and goals thus far in this journey, which are found in the following Q&A.

What was your motivation for joining the EMJ Fitness Challenge this past year?

Peer pressure. Matt Connors kept trying to convince me to do it. Eventually a few of my co-workers said they would sign up if I did, so I finally gave in. There were several times over the following Christmas break that I debated e-mailing in to say I’d changed my mind, but I didn’t want to go back on my word. Then, once the teams were assigned, I knew I couldn’t let my team down. I was determined to pull my weight — or in this case, lose it.

A few weeks into the challenge, during a meeting, the stats of the leader board were being read and I was starting to move up in the rankings. Nicole Gaiser, our VP of People, commented that she thought she had first place in the bag, but that I was now giving her a run for her money. Beating her then became my new motivation! Once the challenge was over though, I felt so great that I wanted to keep going.

What has been your overall progress?

As of this morning, I have lost 120lbs. and 10 pant sizes! I initially weighed in at 280lbs and I am now down to 160lbs.

How have you gone about losing the weight?

I started a WeightWatchers program and eat a lot of “zero point” foods like chicken, fish, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables. I also began to meal plan and prep my meals and snacks ahead of time –grapes are my go-to snack, I love me some fruit!

I cut out anything with added sugar as well, but I allow myself to splurge every now and then on some cookies and cream ice cream. The key has been getting right back on track. I also started walking eight minutes a day. It was so hard at first just to walk for a few minutes, but I slowly built up my endurance over time. Now, I am jogging for at least an hour every day!

Did you have any goals when you started the Fitness Challenge? Any long-term goals for yourself now?

My only goal when I started the challenge was not to let my team down. Now, my goal is to weigh in at 150lbs on the one-year mark, January 14, 2020. After that, I just want to maintain a healthy weight and continue living a healthy lifestyle. I have never felt better than I do now! I have had so many cheerleaders who have encouraged me along the way, and I am so thankful for the support of my EMJ family!

What would you say to people who are struggling with their weight and motivation?

Make small changes, like parking farther away from work, the grocery store, when running errands, etc. Take the stairs; even if it is one flight a day, it all adds up. Make small weight loss goals. Take baby steps and never look too far ahead.

Be proud when you meet your goals. If you don’t meet your goals (and there will be times you fall short) don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s okay to splurge every now and then, but get right back on the wagon after you do. Know that you are worth every part of this journey and love yourself through it! Last but not least, remember that “healthy” is a goal, not a number. Every bit you are doing matters, and you are good enough!

“We had no idea how much buy-in or what the lasting impact would be when we initially introduced the fitness challenge. It was fun to see the camaraderie and friendly banter amongst co-workers throughout the duration of the challenge. Between both the Dallas and Chattanooga offices we had over 1,000lbs lost and 225,325 exercise minutes logged, so we are excited to see the how the bar will be raised in the 2020 Fitness Challenge,” says Nicole Gaiser, our Vice President of People.

EMJ is planning a second annual fitness challenge. Suzanna hasn’t decided if she’s going to participate, but you can bet she’ll be there cheering her fellow employees on, the EMJ way.

Suzanna (before)
Suzanna (after)

Diverse career path leads Pfeiffer to EMJ

EMJ’s people are the building blocks of the company. Their personalities, skills and past experiences are large parts of what make the company great. We are proud of each member of the team and enjoy sharing their stories.

EMJ Construction Project Manager Anita Pfeiffer found success in many different arenas before finding a home at EMJ Corporation.

Born and raised in Allentown, Pa., Pfeiffer began exploring different career options while attending Cedar Crest College in her hometown.

She worked for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., a manufacturer of industrial gases, and then as a paralegal at a law firm in New York. After a couple of years in the legal field, Pfeiffer decided to pursue a new challenge and enter the retail industry.

Pfeiffer worked as a district manager for a number of years, then transitioned to the restaurant business, where she worked with a private owner to manage numerous locations.

She began noticing that her responsibilities in the retail and restaurant industries aligned closely with the responsibilities associated with a career in construction.

“In both industries, I worked closely with the general contractor to ensure stores would be ready for timely turnover,” Pfeiffer said. “The responsibilities were extremely similar, which made the transition to construction a smooth one.”

With the help of her brother, EMJ Lead Superintendent Greg Pfeuffer, she dove into a construction career. After gaining nine years of experience as a superintendent, she joined EMJ as a Project Manager in November 2014. She says EMJ presented a perfect opportunity to utilize her combined skills that she’d gained from years in other industries.

“I enjoy the empowerment and autonomy that I am granted in order to get my job done,” Anita says. “I love having numerous balls in the air and at the end of the day or week feel success through the dedication and collaboration of the team.”

From a young age, Pfeiffer was inspired by her mother, Alice Pfeiffer, who instilled in her the values she carries with her today.

“She was always concerned about others, and she led by example,” Pfeiffer said. “She taught me to be dedicated, determined, responsible, trustworthy, and courageous in her own way.”

Pfeiffer has followed in her mother’s footsteps, leading by example to her colleagues at EMJ. She was recently awarded a Jolley for Outstanding Performance, the corporation’s highest honor for an individual employee, at EMJ’s 50th anniversary meeting.

Pfeiffer sees many great opportunities in her role, but specifically appreciates the chance to craft and mentor the next generation.

“Nothing is more rewarding than helping those around you achieve success,” Pfeiffer said. “All my success has stemmed from the tremendous people around me, so it’s nice to return the favor to future generations.”


Related articles:

Employees honored for Outstanding Performance

Grit: The key to 50 years of progress


Who is successful and why?

Angela Lee Duckworth spent over a decade investigating this query among various groups, from West Point cadets to middle school spelling bee champions, and she discovered the common thread between high-achievers is their grit.

Duckworth speaks on her research in this TED Talk.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals, and working really hard to make that future a reality,” Duckworth says.

In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Duckworth recounts how various studies and interviews with successful people led her to three components of gritty people: having a purpose in life, being willing to work hard for it, and having resilience when faced with setbacks.


Grit, one of EMJ’s core values and a defining trait in founder Edgar M. Jolley, is a large reason the corporation is celebrating 50 years of service this year.


Jim Self, former Superintendent and Vice President of Construction at EMJ, who worked closely with Jolley, said, “When we started a project, we knew when we had to finish it…and we did whatever it took to accomplish that.”1

Empowered by our purpose to be “people serving people,” the emphasis on working hard to meet commitments remains at EMJ and continues to help our team build strong relationships with clients and partners across the U.S.



“Whether it’s analyzing drawings to identify cost savings for a client or staying up all night to oversee a concrete pour, I see our people going above and beyond every day to serve our clients,” says Doug Martin, President of EMJ Construction.

We recognize and celebrate wins, but we also embrace a culture of growth and persevering through challenges. We promote transparency about issues and lessons learned on projects, improving quality and efficiency on current projects throughout the family of companies.

“I could tell you a story about my first year in construction 36 years ago, when I was working as a project engineer and made such a huge mistake, I should’ve been fired,” says Burt Odom, President and CEO of EMJ Corporation. “Fortunately, my manager gave me grace. I learned from my error and corrected course. I tell that story to new employees as a lesson to never give up…and don’t forget to double-check your spec book.”

Success isn’t about being the smartest or most talented person in the room. Further, grit empowers anyone with drive to be successful, as long as they are willing to work for it and persevere through difficult circumstances.

Watch Angela Lee Duckworth’s full TED Talk here.



1 – EMJ Corporation: The First 50 Years (Bookhouse Group, Inc., 2018) 10.

Together we raised $46,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Photo by Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga


For as long as anyone can remember, EMJ’s Chattanooga office has partnered with its local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter. EMJ Founder Ed Jolley was passionate about the cause, and today, we continue the partnership through an annual fundraiser and bowling event.

This year, EMJ’s Chattanooga office raised $46,895 for the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters through Bowl for Kids’ sake.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga’s largest annual fundraiser and has been ongoing for nearly 30 years. All funds raised through this event go directly toward volunteer recruitment, matching of mentors and youth, and big/little support.

The Chattanooga office divided into eight fundraising teams led by team captains, Joey Barbeauld, Billy Kile,  Jacob Mammen, Michelle Parker, Kurt Teasley, Joe Welch, Jonathon Woolsey, and  Joe Woolums.

Team 5, led by Senior Project Manager Joey Barbeauld, raised the largest amount at a whopping $19,240. Steve Totzke, Project Manager, was our top individual fundraiser for the entire competition, raising $15,000 for the cause.

“I could not have done it without the generous support of many of the subcontractors we’ve built relationships with over the past year, specifically on our Lidl stores,” said Totzke. “I am grateful that they were so willing to join in for this worthy cause.”

Bowling teams from local companies, community supporters and friends all rolled in to Spare Time Hixson to compete and show their team spirit. Many “Bigs” and “Littles” joined in the fun as well. In all, over 300 bowlers and many sponsors helped make this a record-breaking year, enabling BBBS to support 105 new matches.

“A special thanks to the employees of EMJ Corporation who were instrumental in making the event a huge success,” BBBS officials said.

Way to go, EMJ Chattanooga! You are changing lives in your local community, and thank you for representing the corporation as “people serving people.”

While the EMJ team was instrumental in the success of this fundraiser, we couldn’t have done it without the generous donations from our clients, partners and colleagues. Thank you to the following donors:

3H Group Hotels
Adman Electric, Inc.
Air Conditioning Specialist, Inc.
Anatole Exteriors
Anderson Group Company, Inc.
Apel Steel
ARC Document Solutions
Asa Carlton Services, Inc.
B&W Granite and Tile
BB&T Huffaker Insurance
BE-CI, Inc.
BRK Services
Brock Insurance
Callahan Mechanical
CBL Properties
Ceramic Technics
Coates Electric of Wilmington, Inc.
Construction Systems
CORE Safety
Covenant Transport
Crowe Horwath
Doug Martin & Family
Duggan Contracting Corporation
Eldeco, Inc.
Evergreen Landscaping, LLC
First Tennessee
Front Runner
Fulmer Concrete
G. Ware Construction
G&P Masonry
George McKenna
H&H Brown, Inc./JBH Steel, LLC
Hayward Baker
Horizon Stone
Ideal Building Solutions
Industrial Air & Mechanical, LLC
Jenkins Masonry
Lawson Electric Co., Inc.
Lee Company
Lookout Pest Control
Lyndon Steel Company, LLC
Office Furniture Warehouse
Philip Augustino & Family
Pierre Construction
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Presley Electric
R. Chatfield Company
Ralph White Electric
Reliance Interiors, Inc.
Ron Jobe
Schaal Glass Co.
SECO Architectural Systems
Silvers Plumbing
Southeast Painters, Inc.
Vision Hospitality Group
Wesnic, Inc.
World Travel


Related stories:

Bowlers Pack Lanes To Bowl For Kids’ Sake

EMJ employees honored for servant leadership

The Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence recognize exceptional work within the EMJ 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. This is the second in a seven-part blog series about the 2018 Jolley recipients.


At EMJ, a servant leader is defined as someone who leads by example, inspires and serves others, and exhibits EMJ’s core values by being trustworthy, selfless and gritty. These five employees received the peer-nominated Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership for their desire to put others first, lead by example, and inspire, support, train and invest in their peers.


Dueker (right), received the award at EMJ’s 50th anniversary meeting from Signal Energy Executive Vice President Julian Bell.

Chad Dueker, Director of Projects for Signal Energy, exhibits servant leadership in all that he does. He is very trustworthy, gaining the respect and loyalty of anyone with whom he works.

Recently promoted to a senior position, Chad makes the time to help his teams become better, whether it’s through a call or an on-site visit. Chad has always gone above and beyond his role to assist others that may be struggling or just need an honest, outside opinion.

His nominator summed up his personality in this closing statement: “I can’t say enough good things about the kind of person that Chad is. He has been a mentor to Project Engineers, Construction Managers, Superintendents, and his peers, and his selflessness is second to none.”


Lance Lindsey (right), received the award at EMJ’s 50th anniversary meeting from Jack Bowen, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Chattanooga.

Lance Lindsey, Lead Superintendent in EMJ’s Chattanooga office, sets an example for his team by helping in any way that he can and going above and beyond to make others successful. He truly exhibits selflessness when leading his team on every job.

In addition, he serves clients daily by following through and completing tasks efficiently and correctly every time.

His nominator wrote,
“Lance is a very good listener, and is probably the best superintendent I have ever worked with. I am very fortunate to have been able to work under and learn from him.”




Mathews (right), received the award at the 50th anniversary meeting from Ray Catlin, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Dallas.

Joe Mathews, Warranty Manager, has worked for EMJ Construction Dallas for more than 20 years. He is always willing to help others and serves with a joyful heart. Whether the task at hand is overwhelming or menial, he is always the first one to volunteer to help with a smile.

He welcomes new hires, teaching them the ropes of the office and making them feel at home from day one.

He is selfless, putting others first, whether he is faced with a crisis of his own; gritty, pushing through challenges and maintaining a positive attitude; and trustworthy, keeping his promises and doing the right thing.



Mitchell (right), received the award at EMJ’s 50th anniversary meeting from Chris Hall, President of Equitas Management Group.

Jason Mitchell serves in a dual role as Real Estate Coordinator and Office Manager for Equitas Management Group. Both roles have high demands, but he makes it look easy.

He serves those around him “quietly and dependably,” willingly accepting any requested challenge, while also taking initiative. His cheerful, positive attitude makes everyone around him feel valued and important.

His nominator wrote, “Jason is the kind of person that over-delivers, no matter what is asked of him, and the results are always thorough, thoughtful and polished. His spirit of genuine humility is an intrinsic part of who he is, which makes his brand of servant leadership especially inspirational to those of us who work alongside him every day.”


Whitmire-Reno received the award at EMJ’s 50th anniversary meeting from Chief Financial Officer Chuck McGlothlen.

Chelle Whitmire-Reno, Payroll Analyst in EMJ’s Chattanooga office, works tirelessly to ensure all aspects of payroll are correct, from time off to time sheets to expenses. Though always busy, she is upbeat, friendly and approachable.

Throughout the year, the accounting department went through several changes, and Chelle did a great job taking on more responsibilities in order to keep EMJ’s payroll up and running. Chelle is smart and passionate about her role. She takes her responsibilities seriously as she works selflessly to accomplish her work.

Her nominators wrote, “I interact with Chelle nearly every day, and she is a delight to work with. She is very hard-working and deserving of this award. Every few weeks I hear at least one person on my team say out loud, ‘Chelle is the best!’”


Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2018 Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership. To learn more about what it’s like to work at EMJ, click here.


Related story:

Employees honored for Outstanding Performance

The Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence recognize exceptional work within the EMJ 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. This is the first in a seven-part blog series about the 2018 Jolley recipients. 


The peer-nominated Jolley for Outstanding Performance is awarded to employees who go above and beyond in their roles by expanding their range of responsibility, developing junior team members, demonstrating initiative and creativity in tackling challenges and building relationships with clients.

Congratulations to the following high-caliber employees who were honored with the Jolley for Outstanding Performance:

Kile was presented the award at the annual meeting by Jack Bowen, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Chattanooga.

As a Warranty Manager at EMJ Construction Chattanooga, Billy Kile’s work ethic, adaptability and dedication to mentoring put him in this year’s outstanding performance category.

Described as a “team player” and a “very valuable asset” by his nominator, Billy goes above and beyond to get any task done, regardless of whether it falls under his job responsibilities.

He serves those around him, building trusting relationships with architects and subcontractors, while guiding them to bring value to our clients. He guides subcontractors to ensure our finished products are strong representations of the corporation. He is diligent and efficient, following up with a variety of team members to ensure that everyone is accountable and any outstanding issues are resolved.

His nominator writes, “If anyone I have worked with this year deserves this award, it would definitely be Billy Kile. I was very fortunate to get to work with him and learned a lot.”


Totzke (right), shown with Jack Bowen, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Chattanooga.

Steve Totzke, Project Manager in EMJ Construction’s Chattanooga office, serves clients and those around him by continually going above and beyond on any task. He simultaneously worked on three Lidl stores last year, and is completely dedicated to his work—even taking work-related calls as late as midnight to instill trust with the client.

He puts forth continuous effort to represent EMJ positively through his work ethic and service-minded attitude. Steve’s nominator wrote, “The relationship that Steve has built with Lidl is a strong one, and I’ve seen firsthand how much they respect, trust, and like Steve. He is able to communicate with people in a way that specific to the individual, and is always very in-tune with the client’s wants and needs.”

Steve’s nominator also wrote about his dedication to growing his employees, saying he has “put forth more time and effort into my career development than anyone I’ve ever met. He consistently looks for learning opportunities for me and challenges me on a regular basis.”

Lastly, Steve dives head-first into challenges, learning new techniques and training others in valuable skills. He is “always there for his team, and will not shy away from any issue— regardless of how messy.”


Pfeiffer, shown with Jack Bowen, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Chattanooga.

Anita Pfeiffer, Project Manager, EMJ Construction Chattanooga, regularly goes beyond her role to ensure that her team is successful on every project. She moved from Tulsa to Chattanooga midway through 2017, and jumped into what her nominator called a “very complicated project,” but “she did not let these challenges get her down or impact her attitude.”

Anita took a strained relationship and turned it around by dedicating herself to the client and guiding her team to create an experience rich with unique value.

Her forward-thinking leadership helps her team plan ahead and she leverages various team members’ skills to ensure success. She inspires her team with her consistently positive attitude and encourages them to do their best work by example.


Praniuk (right), was presented the award at the annual meeting by Chas Torrence, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Special Projects.

Nestor Praniuk, Superintendent for EMJ Special Projects, managed the construction team on the Public Defenders of Tennessee offices last year. He received a request from the client to cut the construction schedule by 25%, took ownership of the task, and put the effort in with his team to get the job completely early.

Through this, he has served EMJ by “developing a relationship with the owner of his project like no one else has been able to in the past. The owner has given EMJ repeat business and will not accept any other superintendent to lead his jobs except for Nestor.”

Nestor always has a positive attitude and leads his team by example. His nominator writes, “Even on a hard project for the sub-contractors, the attitude and energy of the job site is always high and positive. Nestor rewards good work and makes the job site a place where people enjoy working.”

Lastly, Nestor has exceeded expectations of the client and his team and has become a better superintendent doing so. His recent performance has increased his value and the value of those he has led throughout the job.

Congratulations to all recipients of the Jolley for Outstanding Performance!


River Spirit Casino Resort team receives Jolley for Outstanding Project

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 three-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Jolley recipients, and why they were selected for these awards.


Directors and Vice Presidents of the corporation nominate for The Jolley for Outstanding Project, which recognizes a project team’s collaboration and unique value-creation. Outstanding teams exemplify innovation through C2C, demonstrate admirable planning and execution, overcome unusual challenges, and build relationships through an exceptional client experience. In this four-part blog series, we highlight EMJ’s outstanding project teams and the reasons behind their selections for these awards.

This year, EMJ recognized four projects with this award:

Shaw T1 Plant, Adairsville, Ga.
River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa, Okla.
Farmer Brothers Headquarters, Northlake, Texas
Bass Pro Shops, Gainesville, Fla.

In the coming weeks, we will highlight each project and the team that brought it to life on the blog. This week, we’re featuring RedStone’s River Spirit Casino and hotel expansion and the 24 members of the project team.


River Spirit Casino and hotel expansion is a two-phase project on which RedStone Construction partnered with Manhattan Construction Company. The project included the site work for and construction of the 29-story hotel tower, 2,500-seat Paradise Cove entertainment venue, six-level parking garage, grand ballroom, retail center, resort spa, outdoor pool and bar, and additional gaming space.

The resort also includes a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 5 o’clock Somewhere Bar, Johnny Rockets, Scoreboard Sports Bar and a buffet and grill.

After the client expressed a desire to open 50% of the project earlier than the originally-stated completion date, the team “took a deadline that was nearly impossible,” and went above and beyond to deliver an exceptional project to the client “with grace and poise that we should strive to attain every day.”



Even with a month removed from the initial project schedule, the team remained focused and captured more than $37 million worth of savings during the course of the project by implementing creative solutions and design alterations.

“This team was dedicated to providing an outstanding construction experience for the client, even under tremendous pressure to complete the project early,” said Lance Gopffarth, Executive Vice President. “Each member of the Manhattan-RedStone partnership prioritized the client’s goals and held them above their own needs, and as a result, this project has been one of our greatest achievements in our company’s history.”


River Spirit team members include:

Bryan Adson, Lauren Boochie, Mike Coyne, Roy Cramer, Walter Darr, Money Dexter, Jason Dunnam, Donnie Foreman, Pat Freeman, Chris Hart, Allison Howison, Tammy Johnson, Jason Jones, Leta Lambert, Ted Lambert, Gordon Lingley, John Massetti, Hope Miller, Denver Moody, William Mosher, Anita Pfeiffer, Greg Pfeuffer, David Ramer, and Dave Sprague.

The official grand opening celebration for the resort will be held on April 15, 2017.

EMJ sponsors Make-a-Wish child’s trip of a lifetime

This spring, EMJ’s Dallas office was honored to help grant the wish of seven-year-old Daisy Perez, a Dallas resident, through Make-a-Wish.

Employees divided into teams and competed to raise funds. The two-month competition was led by team captains Ray Catlin, Executive Vice President, Ben Milner, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction, and Kevin Gass, Vice President of Construction.

“Team Ben” got a head-start by hosting a building-wide bake sale in the office lobby. Members of the team made various baked goods and raised nearly $800 by the end of the work day.

“Team Kevin” hosted a breakfast taco sale with tacos donated by Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, which raised nearly $400. Meanwhile, members of each team reached out to clients, partners and colleagues to see if they would donate to help grant Daisy’s wish.

A few weeks later, members of the office were invited to participate in Good Morning Texas to surprise Anthony, another local child, with his wish.

“Seeing a child’s wish granted really brought our fundraising efforts to life,” said Madison Latimer, Operations Accountant, who attended the televised event. “We saw how much joy it would bring to a child who has gone through so much.”


By the April 1 deadline, EMJ had far exceeded its $10,000 goal, reaching nearly $17,000 in donations.

On April 14, Daisy and her family flew to Orlando for a fun-filled week during which she visited Disney World, Universal Studios and Legoland— and of course, fulfilled her dream of meeting Belle from Beauty & the Beast.

“@EMJCorp This once-in-a-lifetime trip would not have been possible without you,” tweeted Daisy’s aunt, Patricia. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”


Daisy was featured on several outlets including E! News, Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping with photos from her emotional trip.

She was also interviewed on Fox 4 News about her overnight fame.

“My favorite part of going to Disney was getting to meet Belle,” Daisy said. “I also got to have ice cream for breakfast and eat lunch with all of my favorite characters!”

Finally, last Friday, Daisy and her family visited the Dallas office to share stories and pictures from their trip and show their gratitude. Daisy was greeted with signs, balloons and even a princess-themed photo booth.

Daisy and EVP Ray Catlin smile for the photo booth in EMJ’s Dallas office.

“It was so rewarding to have Daisy and her family in our office,” said Ray Catlin. “Working together for this cause has been a great experience for the team, and I believe EMJ’s partnership with Make-a-Wish is just beginning.”

It has evidently been a whirlwind two months for Daisy, and EMJ is appreciative to have been a part of it. A sincere thanks to our partners, colleagues and friends who donated to this worthy cause—we could not have done it without you.

To see more pictures from Daisy’s visit, visit our Flickr page, and to get your company involved with Make-a-Wish, visit

Bass Pro Shops team receives Jolley for Outstanding Project

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 four-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Jolley recipients, and why they were selected for these awards.


photo courtesy of Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops is an 80,000-square-foot retail development that sits on more than 100 acres of conservation land and is the anchor tenant of Celebration Pointe, a large mixed-use residential, office, entertainment and retail development in Gainesville, Fla.

The tilt-wall structure includes unique finishes such as polished concrete floors, hand-painted murals reflecting Florida wildlife and a 12,000-gallon indoor aquarium. EMJ’s Chattanooga team completed the Bass Pro facility in just ten months—despite impact to the schedule due to Hurricane Matthew.

photo courtesy of Celebration Pointe

EMJ worked with the project team to deliver value through collaboration and creative thinking in several ways. During preconstruction, our team analyzed the plans and noticed aggregate was included in the initial site work. Our team knew that aggregate is unnecessary in Florida due to the sandy soil type, so we worked to see that it was removed from the project scope.

In addition, our team discovered that a concrete slab for the store’s loading dock was not included in the scope. Using the cost-savings from the aggregate, the EMJ team provided Bass Pro with the loading dock slab at no extra cost. In total, at completion the EMJ project team returned over $430,000 in savings to the owner.

The project team received the Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award from the University of South Florida’s Safety Consultation Program in recognition of its dedication to safe practices on the project and was applauded by stakeholders for maintaining project schedule despite the area’s impact from Hurricane Matthew. 

“The Bass Pro team built strong relationships with all project participants based on trust and transparency,” said Clint Dean, Executive Vice President of EMJ’s Chattanooga office. “Their commitment to serving our customer, as well as quality and schedule, delivered an excellent construction experience that has opened the door for further opportunities with Bass Pro.”  

photo courtesy of Celebration Pointe

The team’s work on this project earned the respect and trust of Bass Pro Shops, and made possible the award of a second store in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Congratulations to all Bass Pro Shops team members:

Ken Boyd, Lead Superintendent
Neil Forell, Level II Superintendent
John Scanlon, Superintendent
Caleb Hammontree, Project Manager
Brad Primus, Preconstruction Manager
Jonathon Woolsey, Project Engineer
Mindie Ogle, Accountant
Michelle Parker, Shop Drawing Expeditor
Cissy Scott, Contract Expeditor
Emma Dixon, Co-Op


Read about the other Jolley for Outstanding Project recipients:

Shaw T1 team receives Jolley for Outstanding Project

Farmer Brothers team receives Jolley for Outstanding Project

River Spirit Casino Resort team receives Jolley for Outstanding Project


Shaw T1 team receives Jolley for Outstanding Project

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 four-part blog series, EMJ highlights our Jolley recipients, and why they were selected for these awards.


Shaw Industries Group’s T1 Plant is a 686,668-square-foot facility with 566,662 square-feet of carpet tile manufacturing space, a 107,506-square-foot warehouse and a 12,500-square-foot administrative building. Additionally, the scope included 27 loading docks, eight 88-foot tall storage silos, and a rail spur for material distribution. The project is slated to be LEED-Silver certified.

At the time of engagement, the T1 project was well underway with mass site grading nearly complete. Having worked with EMJ on a previous project, Shaw partnered with our team to carry the facility to completion.

Despite facing challenges due to late entry into the project, the team hit the ground running and worked with Shaw to execute the project brilliantly. They built relationships with the designers, engineers and subcontractors who were already involved in the project and collaborated with all parties to ensure a unified focus on the client’s vision for the plant.

“All project participants came together as a team to ensure that Shaw’s vision for the project was delivered,” said Clint Dean, Executive Vice President of EMJ’s Chattanooga office. “The client’s experience with us further solidified a trusting relationship that has since led to two additional projects.”

Chattanooga’s team is currently building Shaw’s Create Centre, a 67,000 square-foot, three-story “think tank” for the company’s creative, marketing and innovation teams, and was recently awarded an additional large-scale project in Andalusia, Ala.

Shaw T1 team members include:

Paul Wells, Superintendent
John Scanlon, Superintendent
Richard Stone, Assistant Superintendent
Chris Fisher, Senior Project Manager
Gary Gibson, Director of Construction
Chris Grannan, Vice President of Preconstruction
Mindie Ogle, Accountant
Matt Holder, Project Engineer
Michelle Parker, Shop Drawing Expeditor
Cissy Scott, Contract Expeditor
Zack Panczer, Co-Op
Jake Smithers, Co-Op

Congratulations to this outstanding team who went above and beyond to bring the client an exceptional construction experience and unique value. See more photos of Shaw T1 on our projects page.