What’s your professional background?
After graduating from MU with a dual major in finance and real estate, I went to work for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. At Anheuser-Busch, I worked for the special event team and traveled across the country promoting their products at major events. In 2006, I decided that it was time to come back home to Columbia and started working for Jay Burchfield at Wilgate Development, where I focused on projects across the state and was exposed to all aspects of the business, from real estate development to property management. After my dad was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in late 2007, I started working for Little Dixie Construction.
Tell us about your job:
I get to work with everyone in the construction field and make sure they have the man power and the tools to get and do what they need in order to complete their job in the most efficient way possible. We have a project management meeting one morning every week to go over all current projects and upcoming projects so that we can plan accordingly.
What does a typical day look like?
I love my job because there is not a typical day. I can help wherever help is needed the most that given day. I get to be on a new job site every week and work with all of our employees and subcontractors. I still have days where I need to be in the office, but most of my days are spent in the field.
What drew you to your position?
I started working for Little Dixie as a project manager and was running jobs from the office, but I found it very hard to leave the job site after a progress meeting! I really enjoyed being on the job site and putting in the work in the field, so I started spending more and more time out of the office.
What projects is Little Dixie working on in 2019?
Multiple projects for Veteran’s United, Taco Bell, a new MFA Oil Break Time gas station, and a River Regions Credit Union. There are also projects for Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Kappa Psi, City of Columbia Fire Station No. 6, wealth management offices, and the Country Club of Missouri kitchen and pool kitchen remodels. We are also building a new corporate office building for Cameron Dunafon, of DVERSE Holdings, and ourselves, Little Dixie Construction.
What would people be surprised to know about your job?
I think it would be surprising to know how much technology is involved with job sites. We now have trackers on every piece of construction equipment and can customize reports on utilization, maintenance, and really anything you could want to see.
Did you start your career in the construction industry?
Yes, my first job was working in Mid-City Lumber’s door shop and building pre-hung doors. After that, I worked out of Laborers Local 955, a training center, during the summers through college.
What are some challenges you face in your job?
With the rising costs of material and labor, it’s getting harder and harder to make a project make sense economically. Whether we’re working on numbers for a project for ourselves or for our customers, it’s becoming a challenge to justify new construction with current market rents.
Describe a success you’re most proud of:
I would say the biggest success was getting through the Great Recession of 2008. Little Dixie Construction is very proud to say that we were able to keep all of our employees working through that period.
What inspires you to get up each day and make a difference?
My dad inspires me every day. I made a promise to him that we would take care of Little Dixie Construction and his employees, and that makes it easy for us all to continue in the way that would make him proud.
Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume:
I love the outdoors, exploring new places, and doing activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, rafting, boating, camping, scuba diving, etc.