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JC&A Blog | Catch Up With Andre Grant

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Andre Grant, Human Resources/Payroll Manager and Project Accountant, finds it incredible how much JC&A cares as much about the bottom-line in addition to giving back to the community. He finds that giving back is in the DNA of the company and he takes great pride in working for a company & leaders that cares about its social-contract and the role they play in their communities.

Andre started with JC&A nearly 8 years ago solely as a Project Accountant. He was encouraged to apply by his best friend, Tony Burke, but he was drawn to JC&A because of the opportunity to work for a company that supported his professional goals in the private sector, and his military commitments in the age of deployments, training missions and battle assemblies.

Now in a different role, Andre considers himself very fortunate to see The JC&A Way from a unique perspective. From his “Viewpoint” he believes The JC&A Way is the embodiment of the ideal “work family”. While he and his teammates might not always agree, at the end of the day every member is valued and respected for their unique talents while being empowered to become the best version of themselves both personally and professionally.

The JC&A Way is also reinforced through many traditions. For Andre, the tradition of “recognizing our business partners with our annual client party & our employees’ families with our annual Christmas/holiday party is tough to beat as each speaks volumes about our values as a company.”

When asked about his proudest moment at JC&A, Andre needed to think hard about his answer, but decided on honoring/recognizing JC&A’s 20th & 25th year anniversaries. Andre explained, “In my opinion, they serve as reminders that continued success is truly a team effort & that everyone that’s called JC&A home played an integral role and share in that achievement. Moreover, the current group is challenged to uphold that JC&A excellence for the generation coming up behind us.”

Andre has felt continually supported by JC&A and all those he works with. JC&A has become a family to him and will carry forth his sense of pride that JC&A brings him.

JC&A Blog | Catch Up with Sam Shedlock

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For me, the “JC&A Way” means community.  I think there’s something so special about finding your people, and I feel like I have found that here. We’re so lucky to have a team that genuinely works together, supports each other, and pushes one another to learn more, work harder, and achieve big things.  That’s a true community and trust me, it’s not easy to find!

Beyond these walls, the JC&A team consistently puts in the effort to make the bigger community that we live and build in an all-around better place for everyone.  I am so proud of how our team stepped up during and after the Pandemic. While so many other companies still struggle to get their employees back to work and deal with the new “quiet quitting” pandemic, JC&A is making an impact together in so many ways, like volunteering to clean and landscape a family shelter for Heading Home, donating truck loads of treats, toys and blankets to the Animal Rescue League and creating goodie bags for the children of our local Ronald McDonald House.  We have taken the plunge, literally, to support the Special Olympics, spent a day making holiday cards for Veterans residing in a nursing home, delivered Thanksgiving meals to women battling breast cancer, and raised money for Leukemia Lymphoma research.  All of this, while balancing our own personal challenges, home lives and JC&A’s busiest year on record.

Real estate / marketing is actually my second career, and I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do. I’ve learned that this is such a cool field, getting to create places where real people learn, heal, discover, and achieve, beam by beam. I think what makes us extra special is that we don’t stop once a project wraps. We stay invested in the community and the people it serves; I especially love when it comes full circle and we can collaborate with a client, like Cradles to Crayons, to do something powerful and leave our mark.

The culture at JC&A has opened so many doors for me, and I think for a lot of you on the team, by awarding us the means and opportunity to volunteer with charities that inspire or resonate with us. Any of you who know me well know that ‘NO’ is my least favorite word – I believe that there’s always a way to get to your goal. So thank you to everyone who has dedicated time and energy to any of JCAres initiatives this year and making our ideas and goals a reality.

 

 

JC&A Blog | Catch Up with Russ Hanson

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Project Manager Russell (Russ) Hanson values workplaces that place their most precious asset first: their employees. At JC&A, Russ has developed his sense of leadership on projects while trusting that his company has his back.

Having skilled employees like Russ is the foundation for ensuring that every environment is inspiring, motivating, and most of all safe.

The JC&A Way can be found in the spirit of each employee. For Russ, this means having a company that truly understands the needs of its employees and clients. It means having comprehensive safety training and policies to avoid tragic accidents. It means developing a cohesive sense of purpose and professionalism in each employee. But most of all, it is providing a space where employees feel welcomed and valued.

A part of the JC&A way is reinforced through its employee events. When asked about his favorite JC&A event, Russ touched on the camaraderie of the company. “It’s hard not to say the JC&A client holiday party, although Covid-19 has limited my experience with these to only the one of these,” he said. “I also really enjoy the company quarterly meetings, which are always at the best venues and we get to hang out with other JC&A people who are always fun to be around.”

Having been with JC&A for three years, Russ continues to show his talent as a Project Manager and employee at events and in the field. Russ has taken his skill set to new heights with JC&A working projects such as the Amazon Robotics Innovation Hub at 50 Otis St., a facility of over 350,000 square feet.

“My proudest moment at JC&A would have to be obtaining formal substantial completion at 50 Otis on schedule, given the magnitude of hurdles that were put in our way,” he said, “This took an amazing team effort all around, and I couldn’t have been any prouder of the team’s effort.”

This resilient spirit has been the guiding light for Russ throughout his time at JC&A. He envisions a bright future for his team and will continue to be an advocate for safety in the workplace.

JC&A Blog | Catch Up with Chelsie Gilbert

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For Project Manager Chelsie Gilbert, empowerment is rooted in her role as a young woman in the construction industry. JC&A has provided her the opportunity to further her training and tangible experience while creating the culture necessary to have powerful women at the table. Chelsie credits company leaders with inspiring her each and every day to put her best foot forward.

Beyond this representation, Chelsie is also empowered through the streamlined channels of communication at JC&A. She emphasizes how voicing her career goals has led her to projects that she never thought possible. Her willingness to speak up has led her to join the Life Sciences division and subsequently, their lab projects.

“Knowing that they trust me to work with such informed/important clients shows that they trust me to meet any and all expectations,” she said, “Lastly, the constant feedback from my Superiors and open communication is what has helped me grow.”

The JC&A Way has many meanings depending on who you ask but for Chelsie, it aligns with collaboration and the support system she is surrounded by. She has been deeply impacted firsthand by the gestures and workplace attitudes of those around her. This has been something that has allowed her to grow as a Project Manager and feel confident in her role.

“The JC&A Way means “teamwork” to me. I find everyone is so willing to help one another out at JC&A and it makes work more enjoyable when your coworkers are supportive. I also enjoy helping others learn and teaching people to use their resources,” she said, “So many coworkers have taken time out of their days to help train me or teach me something I didn’t fully understand. Knowing I can always reach out to my coworkers and mentors for guidance helps build my confidence each day at JC&A.”

JC&A Blog | Meet Ted Presume

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For Ted Presume, one of JC&A’s Assistant Project Managers, our industry is just as much about building communities as it is working on the projects themselves. This is a personal passion for Ted, who moved from Haiti to the United States after witnessing the devastation of the 2010 earthquake. Rather than putting the event behind him, Ted chose to learn more about how communities can rebuild themselves after these circumstances and how he could play a part in that process.

“One of the factors that drew me most to JC&A is the firm’s reputation,” he explained. “After reading about the amazing work this company performs in cities throughout the Northeast, I immediately felt as though JC&A’s values of giving back to the community were perfectly aligned with my own journey. I’ve only been part of the company for less than a year, but I already feel as though I’ve helped to make a difference in the communities that need it most.”

Ted’s journey is an inspirational one, immigrating here in 2011 at age 19 and not speaking much English. Through his unparalleled tenacity and drive, he became well-versed in the language and began taking courses in the maths and sciences–yet another area in which JC&A reflects his own personal interests. Ted has also taken a particular interest in the STEM field, as he continued searching for answers regarding why so many structures collapsed during the 2010 earthquake and how infrastructure could have been improved upon. This search for answers is another contributing factor to his interest in JC&A’s work.

“I came to JC&A to learn more about the world around me, and I’m happy to say that that learning process is still continuing every day. My story is rooted in the desire to help others, and the entire JC&A team has always been willing and able to help me appreciate the importance of construction firms and the role they play in building strong infrastructures and communities. Our work is incredibly important when it comes to building and rebuilding lives and whole communities, and JC&A allows me to take that passion and apply it in new and productive ways. I’m grateful for the countless opportunities to continue learning and growing as a person.”

As an Assistant Project Manager with his own goals and aspirations, “The JC&A Way” has taken on a unique meaning for Ted as it has for all of our team members at JC&A. For Ted, however, “The JC&A Way” is not made up of one moment or activity, but rather more of an experiential term that he believes applies to his daily life both in and out of the office.

“The JC&A Way is more of a sensation for me,” he explained. “I first came to this country knowing little English and learning what I could along the way as quickly as possible. Because of this, I’m incredibly proud of how far I’ve come, and working at JC&A empowers me to continue feeling that pride every day. I’m proud to stand alongside some of the most hardworking, educated and resourceful coworkers and friends I have ever had, and that is something that I’d only wished was possible back in 2011. I continue to be excited to see what the future holds.”

JC&A Blog | Meet Jon Meier

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For Senior Project Manager Jonathan Meier, the JC&A Way means doing whatever it takes to get the job done. This is a mantra that Jon has held even prior to his employment with JC&A and continues to exemplify through both his work and his personal pursuits.

“The JC&A Way means that it’s crunch time,” he said. “It means having your hair on fire, and it can be as simple as calling that subcontractor you’re working with, having them know your company and understand that as a team you are going to do whatever you can to ensure the job is a success.”

This commitment to his craft was on display prior to his 17-year tenure at JC&A. Before joining our team, Jon had taken a year off from construction management to finish building his own house, utilizing trade expertise and knowledge he had gained as a Field Engineer, Assistant Superintendent and Assistant Project Manager. All but the countertops remained before Jon accepted a Project Manager position at JC&A.

“On day 1, I ran straight into Rick Borden, and it’s kind of funny that Rick and I still sit about six feet away from each other to this day,” Jon laughed. “I also remember that on my first day, the truck hauling the granite for my countertops arrived unannounced.  Not only did I feel like I made the right move for my career and family, but my family handled the install, and I came home to a completed house.”

Jon’s time at JC&A has been spent working on a variety of projects for clients like Ocean Spray, SunLife and the Skating Club of Boston.  Now a Senior Project Manager, he cites his proudest moments as those when a client has called back for help working on their next project.

“Experiencing a client wanting to work on a subsequent project with you is extremely rewarding,” he said. “It’s a testament to having worked hard and given them a reason to ask for our help on their next endeavor.”

In terms of his family life, Jon’s family has also been positively impacted by JC&A. Two of his three children and three step children , Jacqueline and Michelle, have both received the JC&A Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship established to honor the lives of JC&A Superintendents Stephen Terrenzi, Jim Gunning and George Smith. The JC&A Memorial Scholarship is funded through various JC&A events, donations and Partners, and focuses on rewarding children and/or dependents of JC&A employees for their commitment to academic achievement and consistent civic and community involvement.

 

JC&A Blog | Meet Christie Muilenburg

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The decision to join JC&A comes about differently for each one of our team members. While some may spend months or even years deciding whether they are ready to take the next step in their careers, others are drawn to our family immediately. The latter was the case with Christie Muilenburg, a Project Manager at JC&A who felt an immediate connection to the JC&A family and knew right away that she had found her new home.

“JC&A was actually a last-minute recommendation to me by a local recruiter after I had already decided on another company in Boston,” Christie says. “I knew immediately after meeting with Jimmy, Chet and Dave that JC&A is where I needed to be.”

Christie, who joined JC&A one year ago as an Assistant Project Manager and was recently promoted to Project Manager, made the brave decision to move to Boston without knowing anyone in the area.  As such, she was able to find a particularly special kinship with her JC&A coworkers–many of whom have now become her first friends and family away from home. As a result, Christie’s team members are particularly important to her and a consistent reminder of why she continues to put her best foot forward every day.

“That’s essentially what “The JC&A Way” means to me–working hard for my team because they’re doing the same for me,” she explained. “It means providing the best experience possible for clients, coworkers and acquaintances, because I know firsthand that the relationships you make truly matter. It means going to work Monday-Friday knowing that I have the tools and support to be successful in this career.”

In addition to the close relationship Christie enjoys with her colleagues, her JC&A career has also consisted of other special moments. One example is her participation in the client interview for 880 Winter Street during her time as an Assistant Property Manager:

“It’s not often that an APM gets the opportunity to prepare for and partake in project interviews–especially for projects as large and complex as 880 Winter Street,” she said. “I would say it’s the proudest moment of my JC&A career so far, and I’m immensely grateful to the entire team for the effort and dedication they have for this project.”

For this reason, it comes as no surprise that Christie counts 880 Winter Street as among her favorite projects. Others include Enbridge and Acceleron, during which projects she worked with teams including Garrett Zetocha, Chet Braun, Steve Copeland, Chelsie Gilbert, Molly Gates, Ryan McDonald and Steve Gavin.

In addition to the outstanding work that Christie and her coworkers do, Christie is also particularly proud of JC&A’s philanthropic efforts.

“Our team puts a tremendous amount of thought and effort into the charities and events that JC&A continues to participate in,” she said. “JC&A encourages employees to contribute on a higher level than just donating money, and involvement comes from every level of the company. This makes a real difference in creating a work environment based on kindness and compassion.”

JC&A Blog | Meet Kensley Beaucejour

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Kensley Beaucejour joined J. Calnan & Associates’ team as an Assistant Project Manager in February of 2020–a particularly volatile time for many industries. However, after over a year of career and personal growth, Kensley has no regrets.

“Honestly, when COVID-19 hit while I was still a newbie, I certainly didn’t think that I’d be getting this far,” he says. “I clearly thought wrong. It warms my heart every day knowing that despite all of the craziness currently happening in the world, I get to be part of such a great family.”

The JC&A family, however, is not what initially drew Kensley to our firm. Nor was it our annual Christmas Party, which he now lists as his favorite JC&A tradition. Following his prior work as an Assistant Project Manager and Construction Manager at Manganaro North America, Kensley found himself particularly intrigued by the wide variety of projects JC&A takes on. Over the past 25 years, our firm has built itself up to be one of the best construction management firms in the Northeast, tackling a wide variety of projects that have helped shape cities and communities throughout. So far, Kensley has had the opportunity to work on some of these projects himself, citing Berkshire Grey and Moody’s Investments as among his favorites.

Where Kensley’s passion truly lies, however, is in improving the lives of those around him–and learning how to better himself along the way. This is reflected in his own interpretation of “The JC&A Way:”

“To me, The JC&A Way is an informative mindset and environment that’s markedly unique and different from anything else I’ve experienced,” he says. “Being a part of the JC&A family and growing from within that family has allowed me to improve my character and how I see things in a way that expands far beyond the workplace.”

His commitment to helping others is far from just talk; Kensley also helped found and serves as Co-CEO of the KOLS Foundation, a group dedicated to aiding in the development of children around the world, most recently in Haiti and Guinea. After moving to the United States following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Kensley’s focus on assisting those other than himself has become a significant part of every aspect of his life.

“I would say I’m ultimately most passionate about helping the less fortunate,” he says. “I’d like to achieve my fullest potential, and for me that means bringing people together to build homes/communities and participating and contributing to all aspects of life.”

Today, that dedication to building communities has led Kensley to JC&A, where he complements his work at KOLS by working to build homes, communities, and shelters throughout the country. With his expertise, determination and passion for his work, Kensley is and always will be a cherished addition the JC&A family, and we’re proud to work alongside him as he continues his personal mission of being a force for good.

JC&A Blog | Meet Megan Kukal Sabourin

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Megan Kukal Sabourin’s continuing JC&A career is as much a story about family as it is about the projects she has worked on and managed. Since joining the firm 15 years ago, Megan has grown alongside our team in a way that extends far beyond professional relationships, making JC&A an extension of her own family in many ways.

One of my favorite traditions at JC&A has to be the day before Thanksgiving. I think back fondly to my son meeting Santa and having him join me for a day at work. “Receiving and making my first Bongi turkey was also a moment that I still hold dear to this day,” she reminisced.  Traditions like these make the JC&A team much more than a group of colleagues; they’ve become part of my family.”

While Megan originally came to JC&A with experience working at larger and start-up firms, she knew that she was still trying to find the “sweet spot.” What began as a Fall co-op position where she’d hoped to gain more experience soon evolved into where she is today – a highly respected  Senior Project Manager with 15 years of extensive and varied experience.

“When I came to JC&A, I was still trying to figure out what sized company I would enjoy working for after graduation,” she explained. “I quickly came to realize that JC&A is where I wanted to end up, and nearly 15 years later the JC&A family has grown substantially, and I still know that it was the right move.”

The road to Megan stepping into the Senior Project Manager role is one that she takes great pride in. In fact, she describes the project during which she was promoted to Project Manager–the completion of 200 Forest Street–as one of the proudest moments of her JC&A career. She places it alongside other pivotal moments such as her ten-year anniversary and her work on Bioverativ, a 100,000 square foot fit-out where the firm converted a chemistry lab into one which focused primarily on biology.

“Those projects were rewarding, but one of the most rewarding parts of being at JC&A is seeing so many PCs and APMs I’ve worked with grow in their careers,” Megan said. “It makes me so proud to witness them evolve to become more confident, capable, and responsible for managing the amazing projects that we undertake. It reminds me of my own days starting out  here and the ways in which the team has helped me grow professionally  and personally.”

That pride is something that Megan brings with her everywhere she goes. She describes pride as the true meaning behind “The JC&A Way,” saying that, to her, it refers to approaching each project and client in a way that demonstrates deep respect and care. Doing so helps build mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationships with clients and leads to sustainable, efficient construction practices.

“Pride and respect are important in letting clients know that you’re here for them,” Megan explained. “Not only does this make the construction process as painless as possible, but it also eases clients’ transitions into their new space.”

Each member of the JC&A family has a different story to tell and a unique perspective on what the firm means to them. For Megan, JC&A is as much a construction management firm as it is an organization that has helped her grow her own family and create precious memories. The pride and care she brings to her work truly exemplify the JC&A way.

JC&A Blog | Meet Luke Griffin

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Luke Griffin’s story of joining JC&A embodies the firm’s familial approach to team-building and emphasis on professional development. Griffin has been with JC&A for more than five years, not counting the two years he spent as an intern (which Jim Cahill is quick to point out).

Griffin started working as an intern while still attending Tufts University and has worked his way up to project manager. During his first year as an intern, he was mentored by Mike Wilson and took in everything he could about the industry from him, including the importance of building relationships.

As a project manager, Griffin says that he continued to be mentored by and learn from his colleagues, including the best superintendents and project executives in the business.

“I gained all of my construction knowledge by sitting in the room with my teammates and learning why they do the things they do and how they do them,” he said.

These countless hours spent walking the jobsite with superintendents provided invaluable learning opportunities. He is grateful that his mentors chose to spend time teaching him when they could have been heading home following a long day at work.

Looking back, Griffin credits his decision to join JC&A to Jay Calnan and Jim Cahill. He grew up playing hockey with Calnan’s son Chris and knew nothing about JC&A. “All I knew about Jay was that his son was one of my best friends and that he has an incredible ability to talk to anyone and truly care about what they are saying,” said Griffin.  “He told me to reach out if I was ever interested in getting into the business.”

It was while interviewing with Cahill for his internship that Griffin realized he wanted to work at JC&A.

“When I met with him in the office for my interview, he immediately cracked a joke and told me to call him Jimmy. At that moment and through the rest of the interview, it was like I was talking to a friend I had known for years. That is the type of guy he is. He will always make everyone around him feel comfortable and be themselves. After my meeting with Jimmy, I knew this was the place I wanted to work.”

Luke’s proudest moment at JC&A was completing the Kronos headquarters project in Lowell, Massachusetts. Though there were many moving parts and multiple teams, the project proceeded smoothly, a testament to the JC&A Way, which Griffin likens to “hard work and dedication.” For this major project, he worked alongside an expert JC&A team led by Jeff Cameron, Mike Keaney, Larry Thibodeau and David Perry, as well as the external design team, led by Perkins Eastman and WB Engineers, and the Kronos internal team.