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

EMJ ranks #41 among Top Contractors in Giants Report

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Adaptive Reuse

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

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

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

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

The importance of giving back through community service

EMJ believes our purpose is to serve, and that extends beyond our office doors. In addition to clients, colleagues and partners, our teams are dedicated to giving back to the communities in which we work and continually demonstrate this through community service.

Each year, each office dedicates itself to a cause, from a specific charitable organization to a goal—like helping the homeless or raising funds for cancer research—and strives to commit their employees’ time and resources to this cause.

The holiday season brings joy to many, but it also creates challenges for families in unfortunate circumstances. This season, EMJ’s offices focused on local opportunities for giving.

Chattanooga donated its time to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for the fifth year in a row. The team prepared and served meals for the city’s homeless population.

Community Service - Chattanooga Community Kitchen

The Boston team held a toy drive and collected more than 50 toys for area children through the local Toys for Tots program.

Community Service - Toys for Tots

The Dallas office volunteered through its Waterside Fort Worth development and helped hand out turkeys to needy families in the metroplex.

Community Service - Waterside FW

The RedStone team in Tulsa sorted canned goods to provide meals for local residents through Asbury’s 2nd Saturday.

Community Service - Asbury 2nd Saturday

From active duty to military veteran in construction

There are nearly 21 million veterans throughout the U.S. who have made enormous contributions to our country’s safety and security. This Veteran’s Day, EMJ honors veterans across the nation, especially those who are members of our family of companies.

Through our recruiting team’s efforts and EMJ’s recent partnership with Orion International, the family of companies has hired several outstanding veterans who have served in a variety of roles for our armed forces, including the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

Today, we pause to honor our veterans and highlight several extraordinary members of the EMJ team, who share what the transition from active duty to construction duty is really like.


Joe Bethel- Air Defense Artillery Officer, U.S. Army

Joe Bethel, Project Engineer, served as an Air Defense Artillery Officer for the U.S. Army for more than 20 years. He says his three life purposes have been to, “serve our nation, travel the world and build things.” His active duty in the army served the first two goals, but approaching retirement, he decided to pursue the third.

“I was ‘all-in’ after learning about EMJ’s servant leadership philosophy and how closely it mirrors the seven Army values.”(loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage) “Finding an organization that I could grow with— that embraces these principles— was paramount in my decision.”

Mike Williams, Army Corps of Engineer Officer

A company he “could grow with” was the most important component in a post-military role for Mike Williams, Project Engineer, as well. After serving as an Army Corp of Engineer Officer for 13 years, he connected with Orion, who guided him to interview with several companies— one of which was EMJ.

“Professional development was really important to me because you get used to people investing in you when you’re in the military,” Mike says. “EMJ believes in developing their leaders and gives you all of the tools you need to develop. I’ve only seen that here and in the military.”

Brian Tiehen- Airborne Combat Medic, U.S. Army

EMJ’s culture and mission also appealed to Brian Tiehen, Quality Manager, who served as an Airborne Combat Medic for almost 9 years. He became interested in construction through his mentorship under his uncle, who owned a hospitality and commercial plumbing company, which led him to his current role.

“When traveling with the military, you miss home, but you feel like you’re surrounded by family. I wasn’t getting that feeling with my previous jobs,” Brian says. “At EMJ, I feel like I can really dig in and be part of something here, and I look forward to this road I’m on.”

Shawn McDonald- Ranger, U.S. Army

Shawn McDonald, Lead Superintendent, agrees. After serving in the 82nd Airborne Division and as a Ranger for the U.S. Army for 4 years, Shawn began working construction while attending college.

The training he received in the Army created the mindset that he “could go over a brick wall, under it or through it.” Shawn says the Army gave him “hard work, self-motivation, discipline and team work that he applies daily to his career at EMJ.”

These are just a few stories of the outstanding servicemen and women who make EMJ great. There are more than 40 veterans within our family of companies, and their positive characteristics immediately stand out during the interview process and continue to shine year after year.

“Nothing gets these guys off-track,” President and CEO Burt Odom says of our veterans. “Not only do they promote teamwork and collaboration within their teams, they practice servant leadership and display the positive culture that EMJ is constantly trying to achieve. Our company is lucky to have them.”

With tried-and-true traditions, each United States military organization has values that can guide companies to higher standards of excellence and servant leadership. Our veterans are the influencers of these values through their leadership and attitudes daily.

On behalf of each and every employee within the family of companies, we thank every veteran who has served our nation, and EMJ hopes you will join us in celebrating their service.

EMJ Veterans:

Ray Alamo
Joe Bethel
Ken Boyd
Jerry Campbell
Chris Fisher
Gary Gibson
Craig Jordan
Robert Mazza
Shawn McDonald
Thomas Smachetti
Andres Soriano
Richard Stone
Brian Tiehen
Matt Uebler
Mike Williams
Chuck Wilson
Charles Woodward

Are you an EMJ veteran and want to share your story? Let us know on Facebook, or email us at news@emjcorp.com.

EMJ Ranked #47 in BD+C’s 2016 Giants Report

Building Design + Construction (BD+C) recently released its 2016 Giants 300 Report, an annual ranking of the nation’s largest construction firms, and EMJ is ranked #47 nationally.

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


With nearly 50 years of history in retail, it’s no surprise that EMJ ranks #5 in the country in this sector. Large projects including Lee Vista Promenade, North Hills Crossing and Waterside pushed our family of companies’ retail revenue to more than $287 million last year. 2017’s rankings appear bright for this sector as well, as our team is currently constructing several large retail developments including The Outlet Shoppes at Laredo, the redevelopment of Meadow Glen Mall and La Villita. See the full list of retail construction firms here.



EMJ ranks #18 among the nation’s top hotel construction firms. With a myriad of projects for national hotel brands such as Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and Holiday InnEMJ Hospitality continues to represent the family of companies with top-notch work in the hotel sector. We are proud of the team for this achievement. See the full list of hotel construction firms here.

Holiday Inn, Chattanooga, TN_FEAT



Our team ranks #46 in industrial construction. With distribution centers for FedEx Ground, Farmer Brothers Co. and At Home currently under construction, our team looks forward to growth and expansion in this sector in the next year and beyond. See the full list of industrial construction firms here.



EMJ ranks #57 in the K-12 school construction firms. Recent projects include Faith Christian School’s stadium and the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. See the full list of K-12 school construction firms here.



EMJ also ranks #74 among the nation’s top BIM, or Building Information Modeling, construction firms. BIM uses visual technology to help teams plan and design their construction projects more efficiently. With a recently-expanded construction technology team, EMJ expects to continue growth in this realm with our expansive list of technological construction options to better serve clients. See the full list of BIM construction firms here.



Office, Healthcare, Multifamily

EMJ is also ranked #84 in construction of office buildings, #85 in the healthcare sector, and #87 in the multifamily construction firms list.


Congratulations to all members of the family of companies for these remarkable achievements. To learn more about our scope of work, visit the Projects page.

Working at EMJ: Beyond just reading blueprints

intern Stacy Reppond

By Stacy Reppond


When I walked out of the University of Louisiana at Monroe coliseum with my undergraduate degrees in hand, I didn’t know what to expect for the future (much less the summer). I moved to Fort Worth in June before my first semester at Texas Christian University as a graduate student in Strategic Communications. I hoped for, but didn’t expect, a summer job that actually pertained to those degrees. What I ended up with was so much more.

I’d heard about EMJ from my brother Scott (an EMJ Estimator), so I applied for a summer internship in the Dallas office’s marketing department. When EMJ offered me this opportunity, I expected to grow as a professional in a corporate setting. Because of the EMJ culture, it exceeded my expectations.

I’ll admit—I didn’t know much about construction going in. (What does “augercast” even mean?) I also didn’t know EMJ would “build me” into a more professional and confident person than when I started.

EMJ entrusted me with meaningful and challenging tasks. I helped with the launch of EMJ’s new website, drafted press releases, blogs, social media posts, internal announcements and other pieces. I collaborated and created, and I did so in an industry that was new to me.

I was encouraged to interact with EMJ employees in the field—I interviewed superintendents, project managers and other vital team members for project case studies. I learned what our people actually do in the field to generate value for clients. They’re dedicated to using C2C with EMJ’s vision of changing the industry by changing the overall client experience.

I discovered my passion for the field and for writing. I gained confidence and absorbed all of the feedback I could, and the internship served its real purpose—solidifying my plans for the future.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t read blueprints and had to learn what “augercast” means. EMJ molds professionals in many different areas: administrative, sales, marketing, operations, estimating, construction and more. The Dallas office family welcomed me with open arms, helped me adjust after a life-changing move and caused me to wish that summer didn’t end so soon.

Stacy Reppond is a graduate student at Texas Christian University studying journalism and mass communications.


Andrew Lackey

Andrew Lackey interned with EMJ Construction during the Summer of 2016 and will join the EMJ team in Dallas as a full-time Project Engineer in December of 2016.


Want to work at EMJ?

We hire interns and Co-Ops throughout the year at EMJ and our family of companies. Summer and Fall Co-Ops and interns are typically selected February through March, and Spring Co-Ops and interns are selected September through October. And, of course, we’re always hiring for other positions. If you are interested in joining the the EMJ family, check out EMJ’s open positions.

If you are currently in college, here is a list of Career Fairs we will be attending this Fall. Our recruiters would love to meet you!

Texas A&M

College Station, TX
Construction Science Career Fair – Sept. 15-16

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Knoxville, TN
Engineering Expo – Sept. 15-16

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Boston, MA
Fall Career Fair – Sept. 20

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN
Fall Career Day – Sept. 28

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Knoxville, TN
Construction Science Fair – Sept. 29

Auburn University

Auburn, AL
Building Science Career Fair – Oct. 5-6

Texas A&M Commerce

Commerce, TX
Fall Career Day – Oct. 12

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN
UTC Engineering and Computer Science Career Day – Nov. 2

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS
Career Information Session – Nov. 9-10


Nate Shorman

Nate Shorman interned in the Dallas office of EMJ Corporation during the Summer of 2016.