In 1996, when Jessica Meyers entered the construction industry, “it was a rarity to see a woman sitting around the table at pre-bid,” she recalls.
Today, architecture, engineering and construction are still male-dominated industries, but less so. And Meyers is part of that change — she is the founder and president of JEM Group, a fast-growing construction firm in Harrisburg.
She established the firm in 2003 after, in her words, “recognizing the need in the Central PA market for qualified diverse construction firms.” Women comprise one-quarter of her workforce of 21. The Small Business Administration recently named JEM Eastern Pennsylvania’s Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.
The firm offers design/build, general construction and construction management services to the corporate office, healthcare, higher education, retail, government and light industrial markets.
Recent projects include the renovation of the world headquarters for Harsco Corporation in Camp Hill, completed in March. The $2.5 million project included the renovation of 60,000 square feet of class A office space, completed in 16 weeks. A second phase is currently in the planning phase.
In January 2015, JEM completed the construction of the Susquehanna Art Museum, an adaptive reuse of a historic bank building in Harrisburg. The $6 million project included renovation of the historic bank structure and the construction of a 15,000-square-foot, two-story addition.
Last year JEM had 40 percent growth in revenue, driven primary by larger projects.
“Over the past three years, we’ve focused on hiring individuals that have expertise in our key markets and that fit the JEM culture,” says Meyers. “That has resulted in winning more work, satisfied customers and growth across all markets. We are one-and-a-half years into a three-year strategic plan and a major part of this plan is smart growth. We are currently considering acquisition, joint venture opportunities and expanding our geographical reach [currently within a two-hour radius of Harrisburg] to fuel that growth plan.”
The firm has an interesting mix of projects on the horizon including two office/laboratory projects, a new restaurant and an urban adaptive reuse space in midtown Harrisburg.
Source: Jessica Meyers, JEM Group
Writer: Elise Vider