Q: What is your job title at RAWSO, and what are your main responsibilities?
A: I’m a vice president, and my role is basically that of a lead estimator. When I came to RAWSO in 2015, I was the first office employee. I mainly operate on the pre-construction side. I work with our project managers and fill in any gaps I see in our outgoing projects.
Q: What challenges do you encounter on a regular basis in your role?
A: One of the biggest challenges is navigating the unknowns, and tackling things we may not yet have a set process for. For example, I integrated a new accounting system and analyzed how our estimates will tie back into that. I would say that the main challenge I face is bridging those gaps and connecting our departments to help everyone see the big picture.
Q: What were you up to in your career before you joined up with RAWSO?
A: After college, I went to work at a restoration company. We had about seven people when I started, but we quickly grew to just shy of 100 people. We did residential roofing and restoration, but we quickly switched gears into commercial work, and we also set up a metal shop.
It didn’t take long for me to become the main estimator — actually, I was doing estimates before I had even worked there for 40 days. The people who trained me left middle Tennessee to start a division in Knoxville, so they just handed me a team and I basically started running the show.
I don’t need too much structure to succeed in my work, so I would figure out new systems and try to establish standard operating procedures, then assign those procedures to our teams. I operated in that role for about five years, and then I ended up being a construction manager for my last couple of years there.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job today? What makes you excited to come to work?
A: I enjoy working with the guys. I know a lot of people say things like this, but I genuinely mean it when I say that I work for my guys instead of the other way around. I also love being the glue that holds different teams together, and filling in those gaps between our existing processes and new methods.
Q: What do you think sets RAWSO apart from the competition?
A: The reason I came to RAWSO in the first place was that I saw that my vision for how employees should be treated aligned with Dylan’s vision. The family atmosphere we have here is kind of rare, especially in this industry.
For our customers, I think our big advantage is that we’re not afraid to think outside the box. Our clients know that we’re going to come through with quality work, and we’re going to work through any issues on the front end. They also know that we approach every project critically and analytically, which not everyone does.
Q: How do you think the construction industry could do a better job of attracting young talent?
A: I think we should get involved in the high schools and show them the options they have in construction. Social media also helps us change their perspective a bit, just because we’re sharing our stories as much as possible. That will help us be seen as a “cool” industry again.
I also think we need to stop pushing college down people’s throats. I’m actually a first-generation college graduate, and even I would say that I could’ve learned everything I learned in four years of college in a few months on a job site.
Q: Is there anyone that you look up to in your life, or anyone that you look to for guidance?
A: In all honesty, I would say my wife. I met her in my junior year of high school, and my plan at the time was to go into the Army. I knew I wanted to go to college eventually, but I had a lot of doubt about my plans in general. She made me want to do something with my life. She pushed me to get my grades up, and I was able to get into college. She’s been such a good sport.
Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
A: I’m married, and I have a daughter and a son. Before we had kids, we bought a house and remodeled a lot of it. Now, I don’t want to touch a tool when I’m at home! I also used to go kayaking a lot, but these days I really just enjoy doing things with my kids. I cherish the moments we share together, and I look forward to being able to travel a little bit with them when they’re older.