“What’s it like being the boss?” Joshua Reeves asks this one question to his mentors before taking on the role of Director of Operations at GBA Builders. In the interview below, Joshua opens up about his start in general contracting and what has led to his overall success. As Director of Operations for GBA Builders, Joshua is responsible for the overall management and project execution. He is passionate about creating the very best result for clients and building long-term relationships.
Q: How did you get your start in general contracting?
A: It didn’t come over night, my calling took several years.
After graduating high school, I took classes in architectural studies at the University of Kansas. Unfortunately, I was not happy with that choice so I spent three years pursuing an interest in the medical field. While the medical field was interesting to me, I did not have the experience or references needed to continue down the path. I took several career assessments in hopes of finding the right path. Two choices that kept surfacing were, Police Detective and General Contractor. In the end, I chose to pursue general contracting which led me to where I am today and this great opportunity with GBA Builders.
Finding my niche, I graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Construction Science and Management. After graduating with my undergraduate degree I began pursuing a Masters in Architectural Engineering. At the same time, I started working as a project manager for a steel company that sent me overseas to work in countries like Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Australia, and Puerto Rico. I loved traveling and seeing the world, but it made life at home difficult. I stayed with the company for about four years before moving to a larger, general contracting firm.
Over the next 14 years, I was given opportunities to lead large teams and manage multi-million dollar projects. Throughout my tenure I worked on many, one-of-a-kind, nationally-recognized buildings including some of my favorite projects – the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall and the Johnson County Community College, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Through a friend of a friend, I heard about an opportunity with GBA Builders. After several conversations with Dan Abitz (over a four to five month period), I joined GBA Builders in July of 2014 to help grow the firm’s operations.
Q: What makes you a good leader?
A: Leadership is like parenting. Everyone needs different coaching and mentoring to help them succeed. I’m flexible with my leadership style.
Q: Tell me about your “ah ha” moment?
A: In 2013, I missed a family vacation to the Ozarks because I knew if I wasn’t pushing a project to completion it wouldn’t get finished on time. With the help of my teammates, and working seven days a week, we were able to complete the project 11 hours before doors opened for the first day of classes. I knew then, that I had the will to do whatever needed to be done.
Q: What are traits to being successful in business?
A: To be flexible and adaptable with both people and situations. This business has workloads like the ocean so when the tide rolls in you have to get to work. When it rolls out you can step back and take a breath. My motto is to work hard, play hard.
Q: What qualities do you value in others?
A: Humble, honest and loyal.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves?
A: For business: Water is the enemy. I really hate dealing with water damage in buildings.
For employee relations: Chronic negative people who complain or are frustrated and don’t take action.
Q: How do you feel the direction of Builders is going?
A: I’m really excited about the future of Builders. I’ve hired good people with the right skill sets. I can’t wait to grow the company and utilize each one of our employees’ talents. Everyone thinks differently, which in turn offers new perspectives and provides all sorts of feedback.
Q: What do you most like about your job? Least like?
A: Most like working with people, the human interaction, and being around different thinkers/skill sets. I least like the market uncertainty and the unknown market/economic conditions.
Q: What are some of your interests outside of work?
A: I enjoy being by the pool, hanging out with family and friends, traveling to new places, nutrition and exercise. I also have a pug dog named Tubbs, who is 15 years old (105 in dog years) and still makes me laugh.