Honoring thirty years of appreciation.
I was fortunate to meet Jessica several years ago through a Women’s Networking organization. She was introduced to me as a potential general contractor to partner with on future projects. To connect with a female general contractor interested me, but Jessica’s background in architecture studies strengthened my resolve to partner with her when opportunity allowed.
Not only is she licensed as a residential and commercial contractor; Jessica has great vision for seeing projects finished. She guides clients smoothly through the construction process for a beautiful end product. She enjoys the vendor relationships, making finish product recommendations and is wonderful to work with.
Jessica, after studying architecture, when did you realize being a general contractor was your true inspiration?
I studied Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. None of the traditional engineering degrees resonated with me, but the subject matter of Architectural engineering piqued my interest. Its primary focus was on the engineering and construction of commercial buildings. The curriculum included the structural and mechanical design of a building as well as lighting design and project management. I loved it.
Soon after graduating in 2003, I interviewed at large commercial construction firms. No one was offering an entry-level position; everyone wanted experience. At the suggestion of my mother, I submitted my resume for a second time to a smaller commercial construction company that was building a local high school. Unbeknownst to me they had a newly formed industrial division and hired me! This began my 13 year career in industrial construction.
I discovered that I loved problem solving…most of the time. I loved orchestrating lots of different parts and pieces coming at me from different directions. I loved getting out in the field to figure out solutions with the guys doing the work.
I spent most of my career “on the road” moving from one project to another every 12 to 18 months. When I was finally stationed at our corporate office in Tucker, I found time to flip a house. In that experience I discovered that I love the softer side of residential construction. In residential construction I found both structure and finishes.
You have had several projects published in the Atlanta Journal, does one in particular stand out?
I would say one of the most exciting and rewarding projects would be a project you and I did together in Avondale Estates. Adam & Ben’s Second Story Addition
It was rewarding because it really did improve the quality of life for Ben in particular who is 6 ft-plus in height. Their second level was an attic turned conditioned space with no change to the roof line and consequently no change to ceiling heights.
Ben was constantly bumping his head as he moved around the bed and bathroom. We added huge dormers to eliminate the angles and valleys of the gables that intruded into the space. We unlocked the full potential of usable square footage on the second level. That was fun!
Do you have any advice for young women pursuing a future in construction?
Don’t give up on your dreams! Pretty quickly into my industrial construction career, I began dreaming of owning my own construction company one day. I had no idea how it would happen. I didn’t even have a clear picture of what it would be. I just knew that I wanted my own company.
For 13 years I dreamed of it and sometimes became discouraged and angry that I had these dreams but didn’t see a path to make my dreams materialize into reality. I realize now that I wasn’t ready back then. I didn’t have the experience, the network of subs, vendors and suppliers, the business acumen. I realize now that every new opportunity is presented to me in perfect timing with the development of my abilities.
So work hard! Develop relationships. Make the most of small opportunities and larger opportunities will follow.
Thank you Jessica for your time today. I look forward to continuing our work together in the future!