Last week, UJAMAA Construction held its 2022 Annual Meeting at Lacuna Lofts. Our annual meeting is a chance for the team to come together #theujamaaway and celebrate the achievements, milestones, and new faces of the year. It is also a chance to fellowship with members of the team that don’t get to see each other as often. We streamed in our Southeast team so they could be part of the festivities, and a few team members made their way to Chicago. This year was especially crucial as we celebrate 20 years of rebuilding the community one block at a time.
The evening was MC’d by Allyssa Wilson, Jessica Archibald, and Justin Dwaun Redding. Presentations started with employee recognitions from Danielle Bishop, our Human Resources Coordinator. These included work anniversaries, promotions, new hires, and new bundles of joy. HR updates were followed by DEI and Marketing updates by Director of Diversity & Community Engagement Marcus Evans and Marketing Manager Justin Dwaun Redding including our recent brand pivot, the volunteering the team has been doing in the community, and our volunteer time off policy. After DEI and Marketing shared the stage for a few, Vice President Ron Lewis gave us updates on Safety and Risk Management including taking safety personally so you can make it home and our new EMR rating of .85.
Operation updates were presented by the team of Vice President Les Bates, Senior Project Manager Tom Lilja and Assistant Project Manager Allyssa Wilson. These updates started with the pulse of UJAMAA’s middle market project portfolio and a few upcoming projects is that department. This was followed by a few projects breaking ground soon like Park Station Lofts and PCC Wellness Center, the projects we currently have in preconstruction like Northwestern Bronzeville, and updates on our Project Engineers. Next up to bat was Director of Accounting Marcia Dawson and updates from our accounting and back of house team. They are the backbone of the company that people rarely get to see. A few members of our Southeast team flew in for the festivities including Executive Vice President Todd Pressley, Assistant Project Manager Monique Strong and Office Manager Tamberly Wynn. Todd addressed the crowd about updates in the Southeast, current projects, and the overall outlook in the region.
Following Todd’s presentation, Allyssa introduced the next part of the meeting, our UJAMAA Project Champions presentations. UJAMAA Project Champions are more junior members of the project teams on some of our larger projects. These presentations included Monique Strong representing “The View 442” in Atlanta, a project converting a residence in a restaurant with one of the most beautiful rooftops in Atlanta, as well as Project Engineer Glen Knowles with updates on the “BUILD” project on the West Side of Chicago, the renovation of a 10,000 Sq Ft building and new construction of a 40,000 Sq Ft building that will serve a headquarters for BUILD Inc and a community center for the Austin neighborhood. Project Champion Project Engineer Tumwitikege Mwakalinga presented “Art In Motion,” a project consisting of the renovation and expansion of an existing warehouse into a 75,000 Sq Ft performing art high school. Tumwitikege was followed by Project Engineer Francisco Del Rio as he spoke about “The Joan & Paul Rubschlager Building,” a 10 story 487,000 Sq Ft new ambulatory building and 6 story 356,000 Sq Ft parking garage, and Project Engineer Ryan Lanham who presented the “O’Hare Terminal 5 Expansion,” a 350,000 Sq Ft expansion that includes 15 new boarding bridges. Project Champion presentation were wrapped up by Project Engineer Haley Sandman and her presentation of the progress of “The Obama Presidential Center,” the importance of the Lakeside Alliance joint venture, and projects with intention.
Founder and CEO Jimmy Akintonde was the closer for the meeting portion of the evening. He spoke about the amazing history that has been paved so far at UJAMAA and introduced new UJAMAA senior staff members Project Executives Peter Tiwana and Brian Gundlach. Jimmy also honored many of the team members that helped make the last 20 years possible. Jimmy closed things out by highlighting what the future holds and how the next 20 years will be better than the last. The rest of the evening consisted of kicking back and having a good time. The team enjoyed drinks and good music with views of the majestic Chicago skyline, reminiscent of the limitless future ahead.
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