In construction, meeting a milestone is a moment of celebration. A groundbreaking, a topping out, a grand opening – they are illustrations of success and an opportunity to reflect on our future. JE Dunn Construction’s Houston office is meeting two milestones in 2022. One is that we are celebrating 25 years being in Houston. The second is that I have the honor to join the Houston team as their office leader.
This new role is a humbling yet exciting moment for me because I love a challenge. It’s actually my third run in Houston. When I joined JE Dunn in 2021, I spent the first year in a regional client solutions role. That allowed me to become familiar with our Texas and Oklahoma offices and to re-establish relationships in Houston – a city incredibly dear to me and where I spent nearly 15 years of my career, but even more importantly where my children and grandchildren reside. Now I have the great responsibility to serve this local team, which has such a passion in their work and to evolve JE Dunn’s business strategy.
My strategic vision and business plan will bring together the talent and skills of this team. I look to Patrick Dennis, a nine-year JE Dunn veteran and now the VP, Sr. Director for Client Solutions to guide our strategy and intelligence of the evolving Houston market. Patrick has a pulse on the direction of Houston combined with the history of where JE Dunn has been. He’ll be focused on building and strengthening our partnerships with existing clients, architects and engineers and expanding our reach to better serve in the areas of commercial work, private development, and targeted co-investment opportunities for JE Dunn Capital Partners. The growth of our client solutions group includes Conrad Hammond who will now lead as Senior Client Solutions Manager, focusing on industrial, higher education, aviation, and oil and gas markets.
Houston is globally recognized for its economic strength and population growth. This city is ranked as a top corporate destination, affordable city, and best place for young professionals. It’s ranked No. 2 as a fastest growing tech hub during the pandemic (InnovationMap 2021) and best city for construction workers (Houston Business Journal 2021). And I’m sure it won’t disappoint as I find challenging mountain bike rides to compete with the Hill Country of West Austin.
We know we are building in a competitive market full of economic opportunities and it is JE Dunn’s intention to meet Houston’s needs. We are re-committing ourselves to the areas of healthcare, life sciences, commercial/multi-family, educational, and industrial construction. JE Dunn has been building in these markets for decades and brings national resources and subject matter expertise along with local relationships and project execution capabilities.
We believe that a key differentiator for JE Dunn will be the combination of the local market knowledge and expertise complimented by the “national perspective” in these markets, specifically:
· A veteran team
o Kevin Brettmann, a 17-year JE Dunn veteran, has relocated to Houston to lead our market engagement activities in the Science and Technology sector.
o Houston veterans such as Lynn Terry, Project Director, and Aaron Klein, General Superintendent, have been leading complex, multi-phased campus projects throughout Texas and are bringing that highly valuable experience back to Houston.
· Navigating uncertainty
o Our preconstruction and virtual design and construction (VDC) teams are stepping up to help our clients successfully navigate cost and material procurement issues during a time when volatility and uncertainty have become the norm.
· Ability to build large, complex projects
o Crimson Gables multifamily residences, Houston Airport System (HAS) Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Harris County Emergency Services District Fire Stations, and recent healthcare work are examples of the relevant and successful work we are leading in Houston.
Along with this, we are still extremely focused on building capacity with local, diverse businesses, fostering our strong trade partner relationships, and looking at how we can better support and bridge the issues of workforce development and recruitment. Community involvement is also near to our hearts and a pillar of who we are as a company. We’ll stay involved and increase our community engagement commitment by giving our time and talent along with financial contributions, such as the annual United Way Golf Tournament that raised more than $30,000 in 2021.
In just a couple of years JE Dunn will celebrate our 100-year anniversary – a century of service in the construction industry. In 2022 we get to celebrate a milestone of 25 years in Houston and Texas. One thing we do extremely well at JE Dunn is to look up to see if the path before us is still the right one to follow, assess who we are today versus yesterday, and align our vision with the mission and business goals of our clients.
Our best years are ahead of us and I’m excited to lead the way.