It’s part of the Live Oak Contracting mission to work honestly in all aspects of our business. Our new blog series, “Inside Live Oak,” gives you an insight into the Live Oak Team, their background, experience and more. This month, we sat down with Jim Cox, Senior Project Manager to learn about him and his point-of-view on the culture at Live Oak.
Q. Jim, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’m originally from Texas. I went to a small Texas college where I met my wife; we’ve been married for nearly 40 years. I’ve been in the construction/development business for 35 years after spending 5 years as a subcontractor after college. Outside of Live Oak, I enjoy photography, fitness and watching the Jaguars. My children were my hobby, but they’ve both graduated from FSU and grown up, so now my wife and I are enjoying empty-nesting.
Q. Where does your passion for construction and development come from?
I’ve always been a builder. I’ve done several projects where I really felt the satisfaction of seeing people occupy the building. This is especially true in senior or student housing. The day I get to see those adults and kids move in, it’s very rewarding. The parents crying not wanting to leave their children. I always think about building quality living for the young and older communities, for two different reasons.
Q. What was the biggest setback you’ve had to date, and how did you overcome that challenge?
That would have to be starting a general contracting company right in the middle of 2007. It’s not an uncommon story from those days. The company didn’t make it and that was definitely a personal and financial setback. But, I was able to get back into the trenches and work. I had to take a step back from management and go back to project management. Now, with 6-8 years of work left, I’m enjoying it.
Q. Is there any piece of advice you’ve learned in the industry or a theme that has helped you along the way?
Honesty. You’ve got to be honest with people and you’ve got to be honest with the numbers. You can’t play games. As tough as a business as it is, honesty and integrity have to be embedded in the workplace. That’s what makes Live Oak a great place to work. We’re most interested in getting it out the door right, rather than who is right. We’re a team and egos are checked at the door.
Q. What aspect of the industry do you see changing in the future?
In 40 years, you see a lot of changes. I’d have to say communication abilities – how technology is getting into the construction field. There’s iPads on the site. We’ve got a program that can call up a set of plans as a PDF and you can mark the edges and take off lumbers, windows and doors. It’s great for multitasking, too. But with all the new technology, you still have to be able to talk to people. You have to be able to understand their issues and problems and try to get them to understand yours to hopefully come to a resolution.
Q. What’s the most difficult part of your job?
I never dwell on that. It’s definitely not people related. There’s always budget pressure. You have to be conscious of owners and developers and getting to a number that works. We’ve never heard, “You’re way under our budget.” You think you’ve done a great job and present and you hear it’s a million dollars over. That’s probably the toughest thing. But then there’s the best part of my job: the satisfaction of a complete project and seeing people move in. That’s the real happy day. When we collect all our money, paid all the subcontractors – it’s great to see your product being used.
If you’d like to learn more about the Live Oak team and what we could do for you, contact us today.