CarMax in Norman Celebrates Grand Opening

Norman, Okla., now has a new CarMax store! EMJ joined CarMax in celebrating the grand opening of its new location on Wednesday.

This marks EMJ’s third project to date for CarMax, and another store is currently under construction in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“This was an outstanding performance by our project team, and they have continued to solidify our relationship with CarMax,” said George Heath, EMJ Vice President – Retail. “They have been a good programmatic client for us and have asked us to pursue three more projects in Texas and Mississippi.”

Dan Swope, CarMax Location General Manager, shares George’s sentiment, “It was fantastic being in our new home today.  We have been looking forward to this for so long, and we wanted to say thank you for the care and attention you put into our facility.  You have been awesome partners along the way!”

EMJ’s partnership with CarMax is what EMJ refers to as programmatic work—performing multiple projects for one client of similar scope and size. This type of relationship enables our team to develop a highly tailored, efficient construction process for the client that supports long-term consistency, accountability and trust.

Look for more updates on the team’s work with CarMax, and congrats to the Norman team on a job well done!

Jonathan Fair, Project Manager
Drew Halsey, Vice President of Preconstruction
Conner Kamps, Preconstruction Manager
Andrew Lackey, Project Engineer
Will Morris, Project Engineer
Rickey Palmer, Superintendent
Brenda Palmer, Administrative Assistant
Sheila Nazario-Thomas, Administrative Assistant
Mary Gross, Project Accountant

Visit for additional information about CarMax.


EMJ celebrates 23-year partnership with Walmart

Last week, EMJ celebrated the grand opening of its 30th Walmart store, marking an important milestone in our 23-year partnership with the retailer.

The 200,000-square-foot store in El Paso, Texas, is a new prototype with a larger footprint and grocery home pick-up center.

“I am extremely proud of the project team,” said George Heath, Vice President – Retail, EMJ Construction Dallas. “They demonstrated selflessness, trustworthiness and grit and did an excellent job of executing this project and continuing our long tradition of success with the Walmart program.”

The EMJ, Walmart relationship began in 1995, but picked up steam in 2010 when the retailer ramped up their new store construction program. EMJ pursued their work throughout the West Coast and Texas markets and developed a programmatic team to handle the growth.

“We constantly trained new team members, created a rigid compliance and stormwater program to respond to the increasing demands of the Walmart Realty Department,” said Heath. “Our predictable execution yielded six negotiated projects and over $250 million of work in the past eight years.”

This partnership is what EMJ refers to as programmatic work—performing multiple projects for one client of similar scope and size. This type of relationship enables our team to develop a highly tailored, efficient construction process for the client that supports long-term consistency, accountability and trust.

We are thankful for our strong relationship with Walmart and for the many trade partners who support us in our work. We look forward to many more years of partnership.

Congrats to the Walmart El Paso team:

Conner Kamps, Preconstruction Manager
Cody Shulze, Project Manager
Andrew Lackey, Project Engineer
Aaron Scott, Level II Superintendent
Denver Moody, Superintendent
Ashley Turner, Operations Accountant I
Suzanna Trent, Administrative Assistant

Related story:

El Paso Times: New 24-hour West El Paso Walmart to open Wednesday, offer online grocery pickup


West Towne Marketplace named 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 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, Medford, Mass.

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 West Towne Marketplace in El Paso, Texas.

West Towne Marketplace is a 500,000-square-foot open-air retail development on 63 acres that EMJ Construction Dallas built for River Oaks Properties, Ltd.

The Dallas team performed all site work and constructed 320,837 square feet of retail space, including build-outs for TJ Maxx, PetSmart and Rack Room. Meanwhile the Chattanooga team of EMJ Construction built the Cabela’s store on the property.

Challenges on West Towne Marketplace could have led to setbacks, but instead, the Dallas team led all project stakeholders to develop creative solutions to save the owner time, money, and even open early.

The team built 16 buildings on a 68-acre site within only 5 months, allowing tenants to occupy buildings and bring in revenue well ahead of schedule.


The team started the project proactively by creating a quality management plan and holding meetings to define roles and responsibilities throughout the project. They worked cohesively together and actively participated through various plan reviews, all-team meetings, buyout meetings, and preconstruction meetings.

The original design called for cast-in-place culvert, and the team coached the design team to go pre-cast, which saved the owner time and money.

The client expressed satisfaction with the team’s coordination, passion, accountability, and delivery of their projects and has since awarded the team an additional office building project.

Congratulations to the team from West Towne Marketplace!

Scott Finney, Senior Superintendent
Cody Shulze, Project Manager
Heath Wilson, Director of Construction
Mike Williams, Level II Superintendent
Mike Crouse, Senior Superintendent
Matt Griser, Director of Preconstruction
Sheila Nazario-Thomas, Administrative Assistant
Suzanna Trent, Administrative Assistant
Valerie Santoy, Administrative Assistant

Related stories:

West Towne Marketplace opens in El Paso

EMJ celebrates grand opening of PetSmart’s 1600th store

Ivan Aguirre/AP Images for PetSmart


Last month, EMJ’s Dallas office celebrated the grand opening of PetSmart in El Paso, Texas. Located at 3790 Joe Battle Blvd., the store is the specialty pet retailer’s 1600th location.

The EMJ team began work on the project in May of this year and turned the project over to the client just five months later in October.

Our work included the interior and exterior of the 18,000-square-foot store and all site work at the location.

Doug Schwartz of Southwest Land Development Services said, “The store looks great. Thanks to your entire project team for delivering on time.”

The PetSmart construction management representative, Gene Winkels, also gave high praise to Superintendent James Jones saying, “It was a pleasure working with you on this project. Your dedication, integrity and professionalism are hallmarks of an outstanding individual.”

This is EMJ’s ninth PetSmart to build, including PetSmart at West Towne Marketplace, also in El Paso.

Congratulations to the entire project team and thank you for your hard work!

James Jones, Senior Superintendent
Scott Reppond, Preconstruction Manager
Cody Walston, Project Engineer
April Barnard, Accounting Supervisor
Kathy Marthe, Operations Accountant I
Sheila Nazario-Thomas, Administrative Assistant

Learn more about our work in the retail sector on our Projects page.

Related stories:

West Towne Marketplace opens in El Paso

PetSmart hits major milestone by opening 1,600th store

West Towne Marketplace opens in El Paso

EMJ’s work at West Towne Marketplace, a 63-acre retail development for River Oaks Properties, Ltd., in El Paso, Texas, is now complete.

The Dallas team of EMJ Construction performed all site work and constructed 320,837 square feet of retail space, including build-outs for TJ Maxx, PetSmart and Rack Room. Meanwhile the Chattanooga team of EMJ Construction built the Cabela’s store on the property, which opened Thursday to a crowd of hundreds.

“EMJ Dallas and EMJ Chattanooga worked together seamlessly to provide both River Oaks Properties and Cabela’s an outstanding client experience,” said Heath Wilson, Director of Construction, EMJ Construction Dallas. “We were able to accomplish this amazing project though team work, communication and ultimately having fun!”

The Dallas team began site work in July 2016 and delivered the project to River Oaks 30 days ahead of schedule.

“I’m really proud of our team’s hard work and diligent efforts to deliver value,” said Ray Catlin, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Dallas. “We were honored to partner with River Oaks and look forward to working with them again in the future.”

As a result of the team’s outstanding work on West Towne, EMJ was also awarded construction of the Super Walmart that will soon be added to the West Towne development.

“With the Super Walmart now under construction, we still have one more year of work with EMJ,”said Richard G. Williams, Vice President of Construction, River Oaks Properties, Ltd. “We certainly are off to a fantastic and successful start of operations. Our thanks go out to the entire EMJ team who made this possible. You guys rock!”

Congrats to the EMJ Chattanooga team on Cabela’s: Superintendent Steve Jensen, Project Manager Caleb Hammontree, Senior Preconstruction Manager Joe Woolums, Preconstruction Manager Kurt Teasley, Director of Construction James Williams, Project Engineer Ryan Colbert, Staff Accountant Mindie Ogle, Contract Expediter Cissy Scott, Senior Vice President of Construction Jack Bowen, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction James Tyson, and Executive Vice President Clint Dean.

Congrats to the EMJ Dallas team on the West Towne development: Senior Superintendent Scott Finney, Superintendent Andres Soriano, Director of Construction Heath Wilson, Senior Preconstruction Manager Matt Griser, Tenant Improvements Project Manager Cody Shulze, Tenant Improvements Preconstruction Manager Scott Reppond, Field Project Engineer Mike Williams, Office Project Engineer John Keany,  Preconstruction Admin Suzanna Trent, Construction Operations Admin Faith Crissman, Project Receivables Accountant Debbie Durrett, Project Payables Accountant Kathy Griffin, Vice President of Retail/Development John Maggiore, Vice President of Construction Kevin Gass, and Executive Vice President Ray Catlin.

River Oaks hosts a collection of aerial videos of West Towne on their YouTube channel. Below is one of the earliest from July 2016 and one of the most recent videos from August 2017.


Related stories:

El Paso Times – Newest Cabela’s Store Opens West El Paso