Thank you to our EMJ military veterans

Today, EMJ honors U.S. military veterans across the nation. Thank you for your incredible service and sacrifice for our country.

We are especially proud of the 25 active and retired members of the military employed by the EMJ family of companies. Your service to our country exemplifies our EMJ values to be selfless,  trustworthy and gritty, and we are honored to have you on our team.

In recognition of Veterans Day,  we asked a few of our extraordinary veterans what their service taught them and how it applies to their work at EMJ.

 

Rashard Minnis served the Marine Corps as Infantry Unit Leader, Drill Instructor, and Small Craft Commander for 15 years prior to attending The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he is pursuing a second degree and serving EMJ as a co-op.

“The experience and values I learned while serving in the Marine Corps helped shape me and has a great impact on my daily work here at EMJ for several reasons: attention to detail, providing the best service you can to clients, knowing when and how to be a leader, and work ethic.”

 

Office Manager Kami Clark served the Air National Guard for six years prior to starting her career. It was during her service that Kami realized the power of grit and the ability to persevere through challenges.

“Outside of being a mother, to this day my proudest moment was the day I graduated from Basic Training. It was all about pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable of accomplishing. I realized then, and it applies everyday at EMJ, that with the right kind of guidance, I am capable of anything I put my mind to doing.”

 

Superintendent Tom Smachetti (left) and his best friend during their retirement ceremony.

Superintendent Thomas Smachetti is a retired Navy Platoon Commander and Senior Enlisted for Delta Company. He served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

Tom says that his service taught him to never give up because “you can get it done no matter what,” and to embrace differences in the best interest of a team.

“No matter who I work with I learn to work with them and set aside differences just as we did during the time of war. We have a job to do and finish it in a timely manner. The Seabees motto is ‘CAN DO: The difficult we do now, the impossible takes a little longer.’ I am reminded every day of that phrase, and it pushes me to get it done.”

 

Robert Mazza, Project Engineer, currently serves as a platoon leader of a horizontal construction platoon in the Tennessee Army National Guard.  A member of the EMJ team since 2016, Robert says his military service has taught him the value of teamwork and the key role it plays in the success of an organization.

“Something that the military has really reinforced in me is the concept of working together as a team to achieve a common goal, placing the success of the team above the wants of the individual.”

 

These are just a few stories of the outstanding servicemen and women who make EMJ great.

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

EMJ Veterans:

Ray Alamo
Joe Bethel
Ken Boyd
Kami Clark
Terry Dill
Bob Elliott
Chris Fisher
Gary Gibson
Joe Guerrero
Ryan Jarvis
Craig Jordan
Bill Manuel
Robert Mazza
Rashard Minnis
Greg Pawson
Ed Pontis
Evan Rector
Jeremy Richards
Robbin Russell
Karl Schadlich
Thomas Smachetti
Brian Tiehen
Matt Uebler
Mike Williams

 

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

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.

 

 

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

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

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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

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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 glassdoor.com 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

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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

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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

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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.