Farmer Brothers 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.


EMJ was awarded Farmer Brothers Co.‘s corporate headquarters when the coffee foodservice company relocated from Torrance, Calif. after 65 years.

Spanning 28 acres, the building, which is anticipated to be LEED-certified, includes a 258,338-square-foot distribution center, a 194,438-square-foot, state-of-the art coffee production facility, and 84,823 square-feet of office space for its nearly 400 corporate employees.

With minimal knowledge of construction or the DFW area, Farmer Brothers relied on a developer, Stream Realty, to help find an ideal location for their new property. Stream brought EMJ to the table as their general contractor for the project, and our team helped Farmer Brothers find a property and hire an experienced design team.

Before breaking ground, our team met with the project team weekly for six months to discuss goals for the project and guide the client through the preconstruction process. The client’s priority was maintaining an aggressive schedule, as four other facilities nationwide were consolidating into the new headquarters, and the new distribution center needed to begin operating while construction was still underway.


Our team used BIM technology to ensure that the distribution center could function while construction was ongoing and worked with consultants to highlight value-saving opportunities and ensure that the property would be efficient for many years to come.

Our early involvement with the entire project team allowed EMJ to be fully in-sync with the client to proactively deliver value, resulting in an exceptional and unique client experience, as well as more than $2 million in savings for the client.

“This project was an exceptional example of C2C’s approach because our team was involved early enough that we could help guide the client to understand its goals for the project,” said Ray Catlin, Executive Vice President.

“This was Farmer Brothers’ first construction project, and I believe this team provided an outstanding experience for them while delivering a project that will continue to bring them value and achieve their goals for many years.”


Last year, the project was recognized as Best Outside Relocation Real Estate Deal by the Dallas Business Journal and Best New Industrial Project by D CEO Magazine.

Farmer Brothers Headquarters team members include:
Glenard Ratcliff
Andy Munsch
Mike McVey
Andres Soriano
Rickey Palmer
John Scanlon
Jerry Soriano
Andy Soriano
James Norwine
Scott Reppond
Solina Bartnicki
Shaunese Farris
Sheila Nazario-Thomas

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 Farmer Brothers’ corporate headquarters on our projects page.

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.

Welch provides environmental guidance amid uncertain times

Joe Welch (left) meets with EMJ Construction Superintendent John Rudez at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga.


Joe Welch serves as the Environmental Compliance Manager for CORE Safety Group and advises EMJ Corporation’s teams on environmental laws, regulations and best practices.

Welch has led environmental compliance efforts for heavy manufacturing and chemical companies for more than 20 years, providing him with ample experience with transitioning legislation. A new administration and potential regulatory changes makes Joe’s role even more crucial to his clients’ businesses today.

“While the EPA is in a temporary state of uncertainty, new general permit requirements will begin affecting many companies through increased public visibility of construction projects,” said Joe. “Construction companies that have not seen much in the way of agency inspections may now begin seeing active interest from citizens in reviewing permits and site plans.”

These requirements mean increased public access to environmental information, which could result in project delays or increased enforcement activities if citizen groups target projects and companies that are not protecting or using resources efficiently. With this added scrutiny, though, comes opportunity for organizations that integrate environmental stewardship into their operating culture.

“There is significant room for improvement in the industry and opportunities for construction companies like EMJ to lead through environmental contributions, “said Joe.

To guide the organization toward a focus on environmental stewardship, Joe works with teams to create proactive processes that help them identify ecological obstacles and opportunities, create environmentally-friendly jobsites, and generate results to deliver unique value for clients.

“I have learned over the years is that environmental stewardship and cost optimization do not have to be mutually exclusive,” Joe said. “The most effective organizations find innovative ways to create value in any operating environment.”

Joe explains that understanding a client’s goals, whether through EMJ’s C2C approach or another process, is key to creating value through environmental sustainability. By understanding vision and goals, Joe can view various environmental solutions through the lens of the client and advise construction teams to proceed in ways that align with those goals.

“If environmental risk and stewardship goals are given proper attention early in the planning process, a project team can identify opportunities to implement best practices and create significant value for the owner in terms of cost avoidance, resource management and sustainability,” Joe added. “If you are not thinking about environmental considerations at the very beginning of a project, you are doing a major disservice to all stakeholders involved.”

Teams should strive to seek best available knowledge to ensure they are providing clients with the best service possible. An ideal process for an exceptional client experience is to understand the client’s goals, risk tolerances and overall vision, then create solutions and engage the right resources to execute effectively.

With a focus on encouraging environmental efforts by focusing on client goals, Joe Welch may be at the forefront of EMJ’s mission to “change the industry—one project at a time.”

Employees awarded Jolley for Outstanding Performance


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.


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.

“The Jolley for Outstanding Performance is for those high-achievers that inspire you to be better every single day—because they lead by example,” said Doug Martin, Chief Operating Officer, while presenting the Jolleys to the family of companies this month.

Below are this year’s winners:

Matthew Connors, Project Manager for EMJ Construction, served as a client executive for Walmart on the four projects that the Dallas team completed this year.

He learned the client’s project goals, identified their definition of value in each location, and through that, captured additional savings for the client during construction. After his latest project was completed, the client gave rave reviews on Matthew’s work on the job and requested his team for future projects.

“I consider Matthew to be one of the finest project managers I have worked with over the years,” his nominator wrote.

“From having many late-night conversations about his projects to watching him address a workload that would be overwhelming to most, he is deserving of this recognition— to say the least.”

Jason Dunnam, Senior Project Superintendent, led the RedStone team in completing a $23 million casino in only nine months.

He is extremely disciplined and ensures that each project on which he works is completed with the highest quality, while building trust and creating additional value for the client.

As a leader, Jason provides great feedback, direction and support to everyone on the job site and “isn’t afraid to jump in with both feet and get muddy.”

He guides his team with wisdom gained from nearly 20 years of construction experience and his constant energy keeps them motivated.

Chris Fisher, Senior Project Manager, has played an instrumental role on EMJ’s work for Shaw Industries Group, overseeing the completion of the Shaw T1 manufacturing plant and breaking ground on the Shaw Create Centre office development.

He is an outstanding member of the Chattanooga team and has demonstrated his ability to manage multiple items at one time while exhibiting strong character and accountability.

“Chris handles challenges in stride, always has a positive attitude and serves as an example to everyone within the corporation,” said Jack Bowen, SVP of EMJ Construction. “EMJ is privileged to have Chris as an employee. He is well deserving of the award.”

Dottie McCallen, Communications Manager, implemented numerous new media channels for EMJ Corporation, including an updated website, social media channels, internal newsletters and intranet. She works with each office and has been creative in implementing useful programs and workflows to maximize efficiency in her department.

In addition to her role, Dottie serves as a member of the Mentoring Program Advisory Board and has done a tremendous job with its communication efforts.

“Her innovative thoughts and ideas for the mentoring program have expanded our reach and enabled our company to blossom through this program,” wrote her nominator.

Justin Pearl, Preconstruction Manager, went above and beyond when working on Grand Parkway Marketplace while fostering and growing EMJ’s client and subcontractor relationships.

He managed, mentored and trained team members on the complex, multi-phase project to ensure that the client’s goals were achieved and the project moved forward according to schedule. His hard work and dedication on this project is one of the reasons EMJ was awarded Grand Parkway Marketplace Phase II.

“Justin’s success here at EMJ stems directly from the concern and care he shows toward his team, the project and especially his clients—something we can all strive to emulate,” wrote his nominator.

Brad Primus, Preconstruction Manager for EMJ Construction, led the Chattanooga preconstruction team in the negotiated bidding and awards of two Bass Pro Shops, The Local student housing complex, and two Lidl grocery stores in 2016.

His strategic thinking and creativity in developing pursuit strategies has been a key to our success, and he continually finds ways for EMJ to become more competitive on each project that we bid.

“Brad is a natural born competitor, and he relishes in the opportunity to go farther and work harder than our competition to win projects for EMJ,” wrote his nominator. “His determination and leadership encourage our team to deliver exceptional value to clients.”

Cody Schulze, Project Manager, was influential in the success of the Connection Park Phase II project from day one and is recognized as a vital team member by the client.

Everyone in the Dallas office comes to him—from Senior Project Managers to his peers— when they can’t figure out something with changes or cost reports. He is efficient and knowledgeable in EMJ’s policies and can correct just about anything with regards to cost documentation or paperwork.

“Cody sees the big picture and is passionate about setting up projects to be successful up from the beginning,” wrote his nominator. “He develops a detailed schedule, creates a quality management plan, and sets up ViewPoint properly to ensure the team operates efficiently in billings and cost control.” 

Congratulations to all recipients of the Jolley for Outstanding Performance!


EMJ’s Year in Review: A look back at our work in 2016

2016: Year in Review

2016 was a successful year for EMJ and our family of companies.

Not only was it the largest revenue year in our nearly 50 years of history, but we were also honored to be ranked #82 of Engineering News-Record’s Top 400 General Contractors in the country, climbing 19 spots since 2015.

We do not take this growth for granted and know it is due to our loyal clients, who help us to become better servant leaders with each project we complete, and our employees, who build strong relationships and continually grow for the greater success of the company.

From all of us at EMJ, enjoy our Year in Review. From the projects we are most proud of, to the investments we’ve made in our employees, to our efforts within our communities, we believe our progress reflects who we are.

EMJ employees awarded Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Servant Leadership

In 2016, EMJ launched the Edgar M. Jolley Awards for Excellence to recognize its most exceptional employees. 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.


The peer-nominated Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership is awarded to employees who exhibit exceptional servant leadership.

“Servant leadership is the idea that we should all serve each other, and we can do that from any level within the organization,” says Doug Martin, Chief Operating Officer. “That’s the culture we’re trying to develop here at EMJ.”

At EMJ, a servant leader is defined as someone who is selfless, honest, passionate, smart, responsible and gritty. These five employees stand out from EMJ’s 500+ people within its family of companies for their desire to put others first, lead by example, and inspire, support, train and invest in their peers.


Joey Barbeauld, Senior Project Manager in EMJ’s Chattanooga office, serves in various roles that go well beyond his job description and promotes servant leadership to all in his sphere.

Over the past year, Joey served as a member of EMJ’s Mentoring Program Advisory Board, leading the corporation’s efforts to engage and fulfill employees through the implementation of various programs including one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring and peer mentoring through the EMJ Guide program.

Joey played a key role in the development of a new client relationship in the student housing sector, which has resulted in multiple construction projects and new pursuits. He also serves as a client executive, or 24/7 point-of-contact, for Nordstrom, with whom EMJ has collaborated on 13 construction projects.

In addition to his his work, he mentors and trains new Project Engineers and Project Managers, reinforcing the company’s “open-door” policy by allowing new employees to go to him with any need or request.


Ken Boyd, Lead Superintendent, fulfills EMJ’s commitment to cultivating a culture of servant leadership by mentoring to ensure the future success of the corporation.

From co-ops to Level II Superintendents and new Project Managers, Ken initiates mentor/mentee relationships with each employee, regardless of whether he or she is a direct report.

Ken has received three Sunshine State Safety Awards for his team’s commitment to safety on the job site and sets high expectations for quality, safety and creative solutions on every project. He leads by example on every project and proactively trains and assists new employees with creating personal growth goals.

Ken led the work on the Bass Pro Shops project in Gainesville, Fla., and quickly earned the trust and respect of the client. This exceptional client experience led to EMJ’s work on a second project for the retailer in Daytona, Fla.
“Ken has served all of the parties that he has touched at a high level over the past few years and is a great example to everyone within the family of companies,” wrote Ken’s nominator.


Donnie Foreman, Superintendent at RedStone Construction Services, leads by example to his peers, colleagues and subcontractors on the jobsite.

He is currently working on River Spirit Casino & Resort, and he has been an immense asset to the client and team by proactively problem solving to avoid issues and thinking creatively to deliver unique value.

Donnie is a willing leader to his RedStone family, as well as the many subcontractor teams on River Spirit. He communicates well and isn’t afraid to speak up and take control of a situation to find a solution. A true steward for the client, he prioritizes the project’s integrity, even if it means potentially stepping on toes.

“Donnie has been an invaluable source of information to me and has instructed me on better practices on several occasions,” his nominator wrote. “He thinks outside the box and is willing to get involved in any task or situation, even if it adds work to his to-do list.”


Stephanie Hall, Accounting Supervisor, embodies stewardship daily in EMJ’s Chattanooga office by putting the team’s success before her own.

She leads by example, always with a positive, can-do attitude, and places others’ needs above her own—whether the person is her direct report or another teammate.

Stephanie serves as a mentor beyond her role and works diligently with team members to ensure that they are successful in their positions and are efficient in their processes. She is a forward thinker and brings new ideas for overcoming obstacles.

“Stephanie is one of the most selfless people I have ever known,” wrote her nominator. “She will always stop what she is doing to help a coworker—even if it causes her to work late or on the weekends to get her own tasks completed.”


Jaime Miramontez, Warranty Manager, continues to show the enthusiasm and dedication that stood out 25 years ago when he was recruited for EMJ’s Dallas office.

Jaime places EMJ’s reputation above all else—putting any issues above his personal needs to ensure projects and clients are properly taken care of first. He prioritizes quality and constantly thinks “outside the box” to make a repair or improve an installation.

He serves as a mentor to new employees,
co-ops and interns by teaching the valuable skills that can only come through years of experience and instilling EMJ’s culture of servant leadership through example.


Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2017 Jolley for Outstanding Servant Leadership. To learn more about what it’s like to work at EMJ, visit

6 things to look for in a construction company

Landing your first job out of college can be overwhelming. Resumes, cover letters, applications, interviews and even personality tests—how do you stand out from the competition? And how do you find the right fit among so many construction companies?

EMJ Corporation’s team of recruiters and career counselors weigh in on key components to look for in a company for a fulfilling career that lasts.

1. Growth Opportunities



High-quality companies provide opportunities for employees to excel and grow into leadership roles. Not only that, they encourage personal growth by investing in resources that allow employees to learn and develop skills that interest them. Visible growth opportunities motivate employees and give them purpose to create tangible long-term goals. Visit a company’s website and social feeds to browse for continuing education, mentoring or learning opportunities provided to employees.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What are my potential career paths if I assume this role?”
“What kind of development opportunities does the company provide?”
“How does the company recognize success?”

2. Work/Life Balance



The transition from a flexible schedule of college classes to an 8-5 job can be challenging for recent grads. The company that you choose should be one that values its employees’ time outside of the office walls as much as inside them. If possible, reach out to an employee at the company to ask about the company’s culture of work/life balance. Check social media feeds and view reviews on to make sure the company will value and respect your time away from the office.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“How does the company ensure that employees have work/life balance?”
“Would I be able to speak to someone in that role currently and discuss their daily schedule and responsibilities?”

3. Culture


About one-third of a person’s life is spent working—that’s why a positive company culture is so important. If you love what you do but are surrounded by people who are unreliable, bring each other down and complain, all of the money in the world is not worth staying at that company. While benefits packages or company incentives may be appealing, an organization’s work environment is the greatest factor in whether or not you will be happy in your role. Look for companies that have team-building events, volunteer together and do things outside of work as a group.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What is a typical day like at your company?”
“How does the company promote a positive culture and work environment for employees?”
“What was the company’s last team-building event?”


4. Values & Philanthropy



Does the company support the community, give back to charities and donate time to worthy causes? Though it may not seem relevant during an initial interview, philanthropic efforts reflect a company’s values. Think about what values are important to you, and look for a company with similar values. Most companies have a mission statement on their website, and you will feel “at home” working for a construction company that doesn’t push you to contradict your ethics. Join an organization with principles that you not only respect, but also believe in.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“Does the company support or participate in any local organizations?”
“What values are most important to the company, and how does it exhibit them?”


5. History



Companies with tried-and-true history allow employees to diversify their experience, work with accomplished mentors and tackle large-scale projects with the support of a knowledgeable team. Accomplished organizations lead with their experience and provide confidence that your job will be stable—even with fluxes in the economy. Research the company for signs of growth, such as expanding markets and affiliate companies, as well as developments including social media and updated web presence. This reflects that the company is not stagnant and evolves as the industry transitions.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What is the largest challenge that the company has encountered, and how does it impact its work today?”
“What would clients and other companies say about the company?”

6. Strong Leaders



Often overlooked by potential employees is the importance of a company’s leadership. Strong companies have leadership within the organization who mentor, advise, instruct and encourage their employees. Not only does this impact the culture, it strengthens the company as a whole. Research the company’s leadership, discover what causes they’re involved in, and find a role under a seasoned individual who is passionate about their work.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What values are important to the company’s leadership?”
“In what ways does leadership mentor and motivate employees?”

At the end of the day, finding a job is a two-way street. Employers know what they want; it’s important that you know what you want, as well. Be self-aware of your personality, skills and weaknesses, and be honest about them—you will be sure to find the perfect match.

EMJ Corporation prides itself in providing an environment that encourages and encompasses all of the above. From promoting a culture of servant leadership to our mission of delivering unique value to everyone in our sphere of influence, we truly believe that our employees are the best in the industry.

If you’re interested in a workplace that values you and your growth, learn more about what it’s like to work at EMJ or view our available positions.