Q&A With Project Superintendent Joel Kelley III

Monday February 21, 2022

Hensel Phelps Q&A with Joel Kelley III:

Name: Joel Kelley III
Title: Project Superintendent
District: Southwest
Years with Hensel Phelps: 21 years
Project: Pantex High Explosive Science & Engineering (HESE) Facility
Fun/Random Fact: I attended The University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) before transferring to the University of Houston. While I was a student at UNL I lived in the Schramm Hall Dormitory and next door to a future coworker from Hensel Phelps. It was an unbelievable, yet amusing conversation in 2005 when we realized how we knew one another.

Why do you love construction?
Construction is not a monotonous career. It is a career which provides challenges daily, a true sense of accomplishment and an assortment of variety. The variety comes in the people we work with and the projects we work on. There is nothing stagnant or boring about what we do every day. I need my days to be diverse and engaging or I will get bored. There are some days I could use a little less excitement, but I could not imagine myself in another career

What was it about Hensel Phelps that made you want to work here?
There were many reasons to select Hensel Phelps from the list of potential employers, but the number one reason was how well I related with the Hensel Phelps employees I met during the recruitment process. We talked, laughed and hung out together as if we had known one another for years, despite the fact it was only a few days. That level of camaraderie is hard to come by, and I knew I could make a career with a group I enjoyed being around.

What was the best advice you’ve received throughout your career?
“God hates a coward but despises a Fool.” The response I received as an Area Superintendent from my Project Superintendent when seeking advice on whether to place a concrete deck the following morning with a fairly high percentage chance of rain. We are often confronted with a desire to move forward and difficult decisions must be made. Gather as much information as you can and make educated decisions. Just so you know…we poured it and it was fine.

What does “Delivering EXCELLENCE in all we do.” mean to you?
Delivering EXCELLENCE is about confronting the roadblocks presented to you and utilizing all of your resources to transcend them. Leaning on your moral character, experience and intellect to determine what is right for the moment, the team and the project. This mantra builds upon the fortitude and integrity of our employees, and is demonstrated at all levels of the project. Additionally, delivering EXCELLENCE is about being proactive and staying ahead of foreseeable issues.

What’s your favorite thing about working for Hensel Phelps?
Hensel Phelps employees have always operated as a team whether it is on an individual project, as a district or as a company. I was an Office Engineer on a project in Austin, Texas in 2006 when we were having difficulty getting accurate fabrication and delivery information from a Louver manufacturer out of Florida. My Project Manager gave me the name of a Project Manager in Orlando, Florida and he personally visited the plant, took pictures of the fabrication progress, and reported back to me on the status of our order. Throughout my career I have witnessed multiple stories just like this one. The intrinsic sense of shared values and support are the defining aspects of a good team. The Core Values of Hensel Phelps were in place long before they were written and this dedication to the “team” has always been present.

Of the 5 Hensel Phelps Core Values (Ownership, Integrity, Builder, Diversity and Community) – which means the most to you?
All of the core values are important and help to define Hensel Phelps within our industry and across the country, but integrity is the value which means the most to me. Integrity is a characteristic which has allowed our organization to remain successful for 85 years. To me, integrity is the core value which allows the other core values to succeed and the reason we have implemented the other pillars of success. It has been a pleasure throughout my career to hear compliments from owners, designers and contractors regarding the character and integrity of the people within our organization.

To learn more about Hensel Phelps’ commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, visit https://www.henselphelps.com/employee-diversity/