Let’s create a supply chain of gratitude

“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” —John Wooden

A recent story on LinkedIn talks about a math teacher who wrote the following on her chalkboard:

When she turned to her class, the kids were snickering. She asked, “What’s so funny?” The students quickly noted that her first math fact was incorrect.

The teacher responded, “Sure, but I got 9 out of 10 problems right.” Her lesson that day was about far more than math. It was a lesson to prepare her students for the world, and that one mistake can outshine 9 successes.

Her message wasn’t that they should work harder and never make a mistake. It was to never let the negative get in the way of the positive and to never get discouraged—to have grit.

So how do we change our perspective and put more emphasis on the positive? One way is to give thanks.

Expressing gratitude for a colleague’s contribution, even the small things, is a great way to emphasize good work and harness strengths.

Studies show that simple acts of gratitude encourage feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression. Affirmations also build confidence and trust and are proven to increase performance and job satisfaction and improve culture as employees pay their gratitude forward.

It’s a good time of year to reflect on all that we are thankful for, but let’s not stop there. Let’s intentionally express our appreciation for those that positively impact our life and work each day.

In his book Thanks a Thousand, author A.J. Jacobs chronicles his effort to thank every single person who made his morning cup of coffee possible, which turns out to be hundreds of people around the world including farmers, chemists, presidents and artists.

Much like the folks behind Jacobs’ cup of coffee, sometimes in a business setting, the steady, consistent performers can get overlooked, simply because they are getting their work done. Stop and consider your supply chain of positive, and express thanks day in and day out for the large and small contributions.

As Coach Wooden said, let’s magnify our blessings today and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Recommended Reading:

This is the Most Underrated Way to Be a Better Leader

The Importance of Saying Thank You in Business and Beyond

Thanks A Thousand by A.J. Jacobs

High Point Shopping Center Opens in Dallas

Last week, the EMJ team and The Ainbinder Company celebrated the opening of Academy Sports + Outdoors and Five Below at the High Point Shopping Center in Dallas.

Spanning more than 14.5 acres, the High Point development includes 9 buildings, totaling 180,000 square feet. EMJ’s work included all site work and new construction, as well as adding a new traffic signal on Northwest Highway.

The opening of Academy and Five Below marks the second construction milestone on the project. Burlington opened in September, and Marshalls is expected to open next week.

 

 

Congratulations to the project team!

Bobby Bass, Project Manager
Keith Starkes, Preconstruction Manager
Chris Ross, Preconstruction Manager
Charles Grothe, Project Engineer
Mike Coyne, Lead Superintendent
Marcus McAdams, Superintendent

Related story:
https://www.emjcorp.com/project-updates/grand-parkway-academy/

EMJ to begin Independence Mall overhaul

EMJ Construction is proud to announce its partnership with Brookfield Properties on the Independence Mall redevelopment in Wilmington, N.C.

“We are honored to be selected for this project,” said Jeff Brewer, EMJ National Account Executive. “We previously built Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington and are looking forward to again serving that community.”

Originally built in 1979, the traditional, enclosed Independence Mall is being revamped into an open-air, streetscape-style shopping experience. The new development will be called the Collection at Independence and include 126,000 square feet of new retail space, 15,000 square feet of restaurants, and a new indoor-outdoor food court area.

The initial project consists of tearing down a portion of the mall and a Sears anchor store, replacing them with new, outward-facing retail, 10 new restaurants, and a 25,000-square-foot grocery store.

The ultimate goal for EMJ on the project is to provide a new look for the development while ensuring safety for employees and customers of the mall. Independence Mall presents several construction challenges due to its size and typical foot traffic during the day.

“We are tearing apart an existing mall that’s going to remain in operation,” said EMJ Senior Preconstruction Manager Joe Woolums. “This requires careful planning and coordination to ensure both safety and no disruption to operations while we complete the demolition and redevelopment.”

Construction plans are in full swing, and the team hopes to begin demolition this fall and deliver the first retail spaces in mid-2019.

The redevelopment of traditional, enclosed malls is a growing trend in the retail industry. Read about EMJ’s work on the mall redevelopment at Cool Springs Galleria here, and learn more about our team’s retail experience here.

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

Digital mock-ups streamline Brookhaven Village construction

EMJ’s Construction Technology (CT) team recently created a digital mock-up for EMJ Construction Special Projects’ Brookhaven Village retail project in Addison, Texas.

A digital mock-up is a 3D visual representation of proposed construction that allows a team to see how their current methods and materials will come to life on a project. Typically the architect designs the mock-up, but this can be complex when coordinating between owner, contractor and subcontractors.

Brian Tiehen, Quality Manager, saw an opportunity to utilize construction technology on the project. At the project kick-off meeting, Tiehen proposed that the CT team design a digital mock-up to submit to the architect to avoid delays.

EMJ Construction Special Projects Superintendent Tom Rue jumped at the opportunity. Within only a few days, Roger Aasheim, EMJ Virtual Construction Engineer II, had coordinated with him to create the mock-up.

“It’s a little bit like a Tetris puzzle,” Aasheim said. “We had to look at all the materials and possible situations and make them fit together in a small space. All the conditions need to be met for it to be useful.”

The digital mock-up allowed all parties to make necessary design adjustments before performing the full-scale structural mock-up.

“The beauty of this is being able to give the entire team a visual of how the mock-up should look,” said Rue. “You take that to the architect, they make several changes to their plans, and it simplifies the entire process before you’ve even started construction.”

“We sent it to the architect, and he approved it with minimal changes, which expedited the whole process,” Aasheim added.

The team then moved forward with the structural mock-up wall, giving the entire project team peace of mind to move forward efficiently into construction.

“I spoke with the architect after the fact, and he was absolutely thrilled,” Tiehen said. “Helping him get a visual representation together took something off his plate, made his job a lot easier, and set expectations for the project.”

The team’s efforts constructing this digital mock-up in only a few days served the team, the architect and ultimately the client to deliver an exceptional construction experience. Congratulations to the Brookhaven Village team on their proactive behavior!

EMJ delivers fourth grocery construction project for Lidl

EMJ’s Chattanooga team recently celebrated the grand opening of its fourth Lidl grocery construction project, located in Florence, S.C.

On May 24, the EMJ team, Lidl representatives, local officials, and eager residents attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the store opened its doors for the first time.

lidl grocery construction

The international grocery retailer built and opened 47 stores last year, with lofty goals for additional stores in 2018 and beyond. EMJ Construction is currently building two additional stores in Georgia.

Lidl’s key selling points are its “easy-to-shop” layout, wine selection, freshly-baked goods, healthy, sustainable choices, and top-quality products. According to an announcement, about 90 percent of the grocery brands at Lidl will be exclusive to the chain.

lidl grocery construction

“Our team has gotten into a groove with Lidl,” said Gary Gibson, Director of Construction. “They truly understand the client’s goals and have used lessons learned from prior projects to deliver a truly-customized product.”

Congratulations to the team:

Ben Caulder, Level 1 Superintendent
Gary Gibson, Director of Construction
Priscilla Harrell, Administrative Assistant
Steve Jensen, Superintendent
Jacob Mammen, Project Accountant
Brad Primus, Preconstruction Project Manager
Steve Totzke, Project Manager
Jonathon Woolsey, Project Engineer

Related stories:

Lidl grocery stores in Virginia and North Carolina open

EMJ’s first Lidl grocery store opens in Winston-Salem

Special Projects celebrates grand opening of Starbucks

EMJ Construction Special Projects celebrated the grand opening of its first Starbucks in Port St. Lucie, Fla., last month.

A development by Equitas Management Group, the project was completed on time and within the requested budget, despite challenges with municipality regulations. In addition, the team proactively tackled a clay cap within a retention pond on-site to turn the project over to a highly-satisfied client.

“Any time we had any kind of blip on the radar, our entire team went after it head-on,” said Ray Alamo, EMJ Superintendent, who led the project. “The project wasn’t easy, but all of us worked hand-in-hand from the beginning and exceeded the client’s expectations in the end.”

 

The Starbucks representative wrote, “This project has been nice for me to manage because I know I am in good hands. I have built and managed projects in 30-35 states, so when it comes to talent, I can see it a mile away. I hope to have more projects with Ray as the superintendent.”

The project also received a Sunshine Safety Award during construction for the team’s consistent dedication to safe practices on site.

Congratulations to the team:

Ray Alamo, Superintendent
Stephen Anderson, Project Engineer
Jerry Campbell, Preconstruction Manager
Sam Marks, Project Engineer
Devin Munczenski, Project Engineer
Brian Pemberton, Preconstruction Manager
Tom Zylstra, Project Engineer

Related stories:

Port St. Lucie Starbucks team awarded Sunshine Safety Award

Market City Center 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 Market City Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Market City Center is the highest structure built in Chattanooga since 1972 and is located between three downtown buildings on bustling Market Street.

The team generated very detailed delivery and staging plans to ensure that materials and manpower could easily access the site with minimal impact to the downtown area. When faced with schedule challenges, they worked collaboratively to tackle these issues with minimal impact to the owner.

By proactively utilizing construction technology, such as BIM Modeling, the team was able to identify clashes within the building system and inform the subcontractors prior to installation. This fostered collaboration, mitigated numerous changes, and helped maintain the overall schedule.

The team also fostered a trusting relationship with the local municipalities to ensure that inspections were timely and the work was ready when inspectors arrived on site. This helped maintain the project schedule while ensuring that it was code compliant.

“The scope and pressure of Market City Center was extremely unique because of the downtown location, and this team went above and beyond to serve not only the client, but the city and its residents, as well,” said Jack Bowen, Executive Vice President of EMJ Construction Chattanooga.

This project started out as a select build project with no past relationship with the owner. Through the team’s efforts and the project’s success, the team is discussing future projects with the owner.

Congratulations to all members of the project team:

Taylor Copeland, Project Engineer
Neil Forell, Level II Superintendent
Gary Gibson, Director of Construction
Chris Grannan, VP of Preconstruction
Billy Kile, Warranty Manager
Lance Lindsey, Lead Superintdent
Robert Mazza, Project Engineer
Alex Miller, VP of Preconstruction
Zane Rice, Level I Superintendent
James Williams, Director of Construction
Jonathon Woolsey, Project Engineer

Related articles:

Market City Center opens in Chattanooga

Technology’s impact on an urban mixed-use project 

Chattanooga leaders tour job site at 728 Market

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

Brookhaven Village team shines on Texas community

Tom Rue, Blake Kaylor and Tom Zylstra of EMJ Construction Special Projects are living examples of EMJ’s values as exhibited through their work at the start of the Brookhaven Village project earlier this year.

Brookhaven Village, a retail project in Addison, Texas, required demolition of five buildings prior to construction of the new development. One of these buildings was a daycare with approximately $50,000 worth of playground equipment. Rue, Superintendent on the project, spoke with Kaylor, Senior Project Manager, and Zylstra, Project Engineer, about opportunities for the equipment.

“My first thought was, ‘We need to find someone who can use this,’” said Rue. “I was not going to let something that could bring great joy be demolished in a landfill—if I could help it.”

Seeing an opportunity to serve, the team made it their mission to find a new home for the equipment. Rue called more than a dozen Addison churches before finally speaking with a local pastor, who gratefully volunteered his congregation to move the playground and reinstall it on their church grounds. By the end of the week, the playground equipment had been moved to its new home—saving the client time and money and providing great value to the church.

The team also reached out to the local police department and offered the soon-to-be demolished structures up for training. The Addison SWAT and Special Tactical Unit took him up on the offer.

Rue, Kaylor and Zylstra worked together to coordinate the demo schedule, allowing the SWAT team to use the facility for tactical training. The team used the facility to train on everything from blowing up doors with explosive charges to hostage negotiations.

The Addison SWAT team prepares for tactical training on the Brookhaven Village site.

 

“At EMJ, we promote core values of grit, trustworthiness and selflessness, and this team is a testament to these principles, serving not only the client, but going above and beyond for the residents of Addison,” said Doug Martin, President of EMJ Construction.

Sometimes, the project at hand is just the beginning. Thank you, Tom, Blake and Tom, for your selflessness on this project and for representing all that EMJ stands for!