Therrien Waddell

What is the biggest misconception about the industry?
Actually there are two. The first is that construction is not a "professional" career path and only a backup blue collar industry. The second is the idea that the best value contractor is one where you can buy construction services at the lowest price.

What is your biggest current challenge at work?

Being assertive with clients regarding our expectations for engagement and not being afraid of walking from work that does not fit our goals.

What keeps you up at night?
Fear that we have not fully exerted all efforts to go above and beyond to serve our clients, and whether our staff understands how important this is to avoid and protect the company from risk, and are conducting themselves accordingly.

What project is your company most proud of?
NIST Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility

How does your ABC membership help your company?
ABC is a great industry support organization for training, management and regulatory issues impacting our business. It brings together like minded individuals to share business practices and the opportunity to develop relationships toward becoming trusted partners in business or on projects.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A marine biologist

Tell us something no one in the industry knows about you.
I took graduate courses in art with the idea that I would become a biological illustrator while I learned the construction craft in the field. Success in the field and marriage propelled me toward my career in construction.

What do you look forward to each day?
One of the most rewarding aspects of this career is the ability to share ideas and be part of the strategy to improve construction and design outcomes with clients, architects, subcontractors, staff and peers.

What are you like to work for?
I don't like to micro-manage, but I do ask a lot of questions. When I immerse myself in an issue, I remember the details and don't understand why others have not been as inquisitive about their projects and therefore can't recall details. I expect others to be forthright and honest. I expect them to be organized and systematic. I trust that everyone has good intentions until they prove otherwise. I like to share how the company is doing and want everyone to share ownership for their success and that of the company. Everyone has a role and I try to ensure that this is understood. I am always open to ideas about how we can improve our organization. However, I do understand that the buck stops here.

What is your favorite metro Washington hangout/restaurant?
Season's 52; Waredaca Brewery; Black Ankle Vineyard.

Who would you trade places with for a day?

What business/career advice do you wish you had when you began?
Get involved and network early. Join associations and participate in groups. Don't always put your head down in your work and ignore the opportunities to meet people around you. They can help you develop your career faster and share solutions to issues you may be struggling with.

What book are you currently reading?
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

What was your first job?
High School - Grommet & Fastener Packing Shop
College - Machine operator in printing factory (1st)

TW started as the construction arm of a commercial development company and eventually separated as an independent general contracting and construction management firm. The focus has always been on collaboration with design and client teams. Projects in the Washington-Baltimore Metro areas include office retail, institutional, lab/science, healthcare and data center renovations and new construction.

In business since 1987

Jerry Therrien
Therrien Waddell, Inc.