Employee Spotlight and Introduction: Joe Durfee, Chief Operating Officer
Name: Joe Durfee
Title: Chief Operating Office
Success is not owned, it is rented – and that rent is due everyday. – Rory Vaden
The fun is in the memories. – Rupert Shaft
Describe what you do in a day:
My day-to-day activities will evolve as I become part of the team. Initially, I am looking forward to spending most of my time one-on-one time with folks on our jobsites and in the office to get to know each of them and have them get to know me.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
While winning work and successful completion of construction projects has always given me a sense of accomplishment, my proudest accomplishment is my family. I have a beautiful wife, Kristin, and two pretty cool (and crazy) kids, Jackson (5) & Emma (3) that bring me great joy every day.
After considerable time with Pat, Craig and the rest of the Leadership Team, I truly felt that the culture and values of the organization were in complete alignment with how I operate. Very early on in my career I learned that engagement of key team members, whether internal to the company or externally on a project, is critical to successful outcomes. I am very excited to be a part of the Triangle Family!
How has your career grown since starting in the industry?
Following graduation from the Construction Management program at Ferris I moved to Baltimore to work for Whiting-Turner. After a couple of years there and in North Carolina, I made my way back to Michigan to work for Granger Construction, primarily focused in the Healthcare and Higher Education market segments. After 13 years with Granger, I took a position with Bouma Corporation leading their national division which took me around the country. As those operations largely wound down due to the impacts of COVID, I have spent the last two years focused on self-perform operations in Grand Rapids.
Favorite project you’ve worked on?
While with Granger, I had the privilege of working on a very large series of projects at Sparrow Hospital in Lansin. These projects transformed the skyline and the quality of healthcare provided in my hometown which was very rewarding.
Another favorite project was East Campus Housing at Ferris which was the first LEED certified (Gold) project for my alma mater. This was a challenging project on a tight schedule and creative problem solving was necessary to achieve all the project goals. The entire project team, from the folks at Ferris to the trade partners involved, all pulled together for a very positive outcome.
What do you like to do in your free time?
We are a busy family, always on the move. Whether it be tee-ball, soccer, pool time, hiking, or traveling to visit our extended family in Wisconsin (yes, I married a Packers fan, no, I am not a Packers fan) there is rarely a dull moment. Personally, I enjoy fishing, hunting, golf, skiing and about any other outdoor activity there is.
How did you end up in construction?
When I was in High School, I took a drafting class that led me to the conclusion that I might want to be an Architect. I enjoyed the creative aspect of putting a design on paper from scratch, not having a clue about what it would take to actually make that design a reality. At the same time, I spent summers running a landscape crew of younger high school aged friends for a local farmer. This sparked a passion for hard work and the ability to see the result of that work when a job was done. My grandfather, a chemical engineer for MDOT, brought the Construction Management program at Ferris to my attention and after some research on the curriculum I thought it would combine those two passions. I applied and was accepted to the program, the rest is history!
What’s the last book you read?
Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
Meetings Suck: Turning One of the Most Loathed Elements of Business into one of the Most Valuable – Cameron Herold
*Full disclosure, I do not like to “read” books on topics such as these, however, I have found that audiobooks allow me the ability to consume this content and learn a great deal.
Killing Floor: A Jack Reacher Novel – Lee Child (I have read the entire Reacher series and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them)
What motivates you?
My family and the team. Everything I do each day is focused on supporting my family at home and team at work. Sometimes that means supporting someone through an issue or tough personal time. Sometimes that means holding someone accountable to a standard not being met.
I don’t really have a nickname but a lot of friends and colleagues call me Durf.
I really enjoy cooking and the relaxation it brings me. Not Master Chef level, but my wife and kids enjoy my creations.