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A Tribute to James Dillard from a Grateful Heart

It is with a heavy heart some of us old timers bid a final goodbye to a friend and colleague James Dillard. He was with us from the very beginning, and crucial to our coming out of our infancy safely and helped us on our path to healthy growth and longevity.

I got to know James in the early to mid-90’s at when I hired him at a previous company as an engineering technician. James was a quintessential old school company man. He always did more than was asked of him, it didn’t take long to realize that he knew a lot more about testing, inspections, construction and project management than was required of his current assignment. He knew what needed to be done on a project and simply just did it without being asked or told to do it. When we started Building & Earth, James was one of the first to come work with us, Robert, Jeff, and I were very happy and relieved to have him here on the team. He worked here from June 1999 until he retired due to poor health in March of 2012.

There were so many things that we are grateful to him for as the company grew, such as getting certified to do roof inspections, passing the CWI exam to provide structural steel inspections, project management and the most important task – finding and hiring technicians to staff projects. As I come from a mindset of “if we are not picking up work everyday, we are going to starve.” He realized quickly someone had to cover the projects, and on his own, started making calls, placing ads, interviewing and hiring people. Whenever we had something new and different come our way, somehow James would be one to take it on. If it stood still for 30 seconds, he could find an ASTM, AWS or an appropriate standard to test and inspect it by.

Once due to extenuating circumstances I asked him to go from Birmingham, AL to Wichita Falls, TX. He left within 24 hours and stayed there for months until the project was completed. I could always count on James, nothing fazed him, and I don’t think I ever saw him get overwhelmed. He was also pretty good about telling me what to do when he felt I needed to be told, and I actually listened to him.

James was very funny, could and would talk (loudly) nonstop – it was known that he would follow you to the porta-potty, and stand outside of it, and keep talking without a break. I did not mind listing to him, because it was usually funny, interesting or he was saying something worth listening to. He even had a compelling story about a mishap with an ex-Governors dog, but it’s probably best to let that “sleeping” dog lay. He built and maintained many meaningful relationships in the field and the office. He was very sharp, intelligent and well-read. He was a loyal husband an amazing father and grandfather.

Without a doubt Building & Earth greatly benefited from his service and leadership. I have the utmost respect for the man he was and the life he lived.
Thank you and R.I.P. my friend, you will always live in our heart.

– Deepa Bhate, CEO – Founder

James Dillard

Get to Know the Team: Nathan Anderson

Want to know what a career looks like at Building & Earth? It’s important to us that we place a focus on empowering the members of our team through technology and knowledge. Our leadership team encourages continued education and professional development, because we are nothing without the knowledge and expertise of our team members.

It’s the people who are hard at work in the office, on the jobsite, and connecting with our clients every day who make our company culture great. Over the next few months, we’ll be catching up with several of our employees at some of our 16 locations across the South and Midwest.

Here, learn what daily life looks like for Nathan Anderson, who works out of our Louisville location. Read on to learn more about Nathan, what he does, and why he loves being a part of the Building & Earth team.

Why do you love what you currently do?

One thing that made me apply for my current position at Building & Earth was the knowledge that a good portion of my work would be conducted outside. I’m a small-town guy with a love for the outdoors. Sitting in an office 100% of the time didn’t appeal to me, and this position has given me the opportunity to work hands-on in the field over much of my time here.

What does your day look like at Building & Earth?

An aspect that I enjoy about my position at Building & Earth is that there is never a dull moment in my workday—every day brings new challenges and engineering problems to solve. Some days, you’ll find me with a drill crew, recording and sampling soil borings. Other days, I’m observing earthworks operations on a construction site or in the office drafting geotechnical reports and appendices.

What makes an optimal working environment, and how does Building & Earth help facilitate that?

To me, an optimal working environment is different for everyone. It should be an environment that employees feel comfortable in and feel that they can perform their daily tasks at the most efficient level. Our branch manager and office manager in the Louisville, Kentucky, branch both do a great job of making sure employees are content with their working environment.

Things aren’t always easy—sometimes we may have long weeks and difficult jobs—but Building & Earth employees are respected and acknowledged for their contributions to the company.

What has been one of the biggest achievements—or wins—you or your team has had in your time at Building & Earth?

I would say the biggest achievement in my time at Building & Earth is the growth we’ve seen in our local client base. Through business development measures, efficient field work and lab work performance, lots of effort in our geotechnical work, and a lot of long hours, our branch has begun to gain the attention of more and more local clients. We’ve started many new projects involving power plants, military bases, apartment complexes and even railroads.

What makes you proud to work at Building & Earth?

I take pride in the quality of work we perform here. I’m proud of the effort that our employees are willing to put forth to get the job done on a daily basis. And when errors are made—because every company makes them sooner or later—we own up to them and do our
best to find a solution. Honesty is an important part of our company’s mission.

 

We would love to talk to you about how you may be a great fit for our team! Visit our Careers page to check out our current openings. Click here to learn more about what we do and why we do it.

Want to know more? Check out what Joe McFalls, from our Raleigh-Durham location, had to say about working with Building & Earth.

Get to Know the Team: Joe McFalls

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work at Building & Earth? It’s important to us that we place a focus on empowering the members of our team through technology and knowledge. Our leadership team encourages continued education and professional development, because we are nothing without the knowledge and expertise of our team members.

We foster an open-door policy at every level, and we make it our goal to continue to be a diverse and inclusive workforce. We would love to talk to you about how you may be a great fit for our team! Visit our Careers page to check out our current openings.

It’s truly the people who are hard at work in the office, on the jobsite, and connecting with our clients every day who make our company culture great. That’s why, over the next few months, we will be catching up with several of our employees at some of our 16 locations across the South and Midwest. First up, learn what daily work life looks like for Joe McFalls, who works out of our Raleigh-Durham location.

Joe has been a part of the Building & Earth team for 7 years. He is currently the CMT Department Manager for the company’s Raleigh-Durham branch in North Carolina. This role includes working in and managing satellite offices in Jacksonville, North Carolina; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and NS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“My goal is to provide our clients with professional and valuable service,” McFalls said. “The path to this is quite simply having well-trained individuals providing industry-leading service to our clients.”

Joe has been married for 22 years to his wife, Michele. They have three boys—a freshman in college, a senior in high school, and a freshman in high school. He previously served in the United States Navy Submarine force.

Learn more about Joe, his role at Building & Earth, and why he loves going to work every day below.

Why do you love what you currently do?

I love my current position because it affords me the opportunity to be involved in the professional growth of the great group I work with every day. It is very satisfying to see our team provide top-level testing and inspections to our clients.

What does your day look like at Building & Earth?

My day typically starts with a list of priority items to accomplish. Inevitably, though, the phone starts ringing, and I go into multitask mode, making every effort to resolve emergent issues in addition to completing my scheduled tasks. I love the fast-paced work environment and ever-changing landscape.

What makes an optimal working environment? How does Building & Earth help facilitate that?

I believe that a work environment that fosters continued growth and a genuine care for one another is what most individuals desire from their work. Building & Earth strives to meet the need for growth through training and certification opportunities, as well as providing professional development tools to aid leaders to this end. I genuinely feel that Building & Earth cares for each individual that works with it. I consider the team I work with to be my family, and I want to see each and every person in my work family succeed in his/her career and life.

What has been one of the biggest achievements—or wins—you or your team has had in your time at Building & Earth?

The team’s biggest win is the fact that we continually work to grow our bonds with one another. This creates a team environment, where no one is left to do it alone. That is the military in me—never watch your teammate (family) struggle.

What makes you proud to work at Building & Earth?

I am very proud of our commitment to be the best in our industry and continuing to explore new market sectors. Building & Earth does not just make empty statements; they back it up with support and training.

 

Click here to watch a short video and learn more about what we do and why we do it.