Brandon Jovel: Onward + Upward

insight

Brandon Jovel: Onward + Upward

Jan 13, 2021

The DAVIS logo was created with the onward + upward ethos in mind. It is both our legacy and our vision for the future. We interviewed 20 people in '20 to find out what onward + upward means to them (along with some other interesting details you might not pick up on at the jobsite). Keep up with this series to get more insight into the DAVIS team!

Meet Brandon Jovel, Project Coordinator in DAVIS' Healthcare sector.

Brandon helps us build the most innovative and essential healthcare projects in the DC area. He has also been spending a lot of time preparing to be a new father! Read on to learn more about Brandon.

LIFE AT DAVIS

So how long have you been working at DAVIS?
Going on 4 years now! I started off as a receptionist, actually, so I did that for 6 months. A Project Administrator opportunity eventually rose up, and I moved to that role.

You weren't exactly in construction at the beginning of your career, right?
(laughing) So, I originally went to school for biology, and I worked at the National Institutes of Health as a veterinarian, working with primates. I decided it wasn't for me, and heard from a good friend, Nathalie Tadesse, that DAVIS was a great company to work for. So, I got my foot in the door, and here I am.

What was it like adjusting from a different industry?
I had to learn how to read drawings and everything--the entire construction management process. Fortunately, I had an amazing team that was willing to help me. I knew my work ethic would push me through the process successfully, but it was not easy.

What's it like working in our Healthcare group?
It's so unique to be working within hospital buildings, with patients and everything around you at all times. There are so many intangibles you have to keep in mind, like regulations on contamination, radiation, and other guidelines. The Department of Health is there to ensure everything's going well, so there are a lot of eyes on us at all times. 

The first time I stepped into one of our projects, though, I knew I was part of something big. The impact of what we're doing is so rewarding. It sounds cheesy, but I'm grateful DAVIS gave me this opportunity, and it changed my life. Everybody from the bottom to the top is willing to lend a helping hand and get the work done.

There have been a lot of challenges throughout 2020. What has been the biggest impact for you over the last year?
Adjusting to how I interact with people throughout the process has been huge. I'm glad DAVIS has a great structure in place for teleworking and feeling safe at work, because I'm having my first child soon, and I certainly don't want to bring anything home.

LET'S GET PERSONAL

Your first child--that's incredible. Congratulations.
We just had a baby shower, so I've been busy putting together all sorts of things in preparation for her to be born. I really can't wait.

That must be a little nerve-racking, though, right?
I'm just making sure I'm there for my girlfriend, and we'll take it day by day. I come from a great family--my mom had me at 17, and she met my stepdad when I was 6, and they've been amazing. I have stepsiblings I grew up with, and my mom had two more kids after me, and we're a big, happy family. I wouldn't say I know exactly what to do as a father, but I'm super excited, and I can't wait to give my daughter a great life.

Do you have any other hobbies outside of work?
I've actually been into metallurgy for the last six years now. I've been learning how to forge knives and axes.

Wait, knives?
I'm huge into knives! I don't know what it is about them, but I'm obsessed. Something about how simple they are, and yet they're a tool you can use for so many things.

You own your own forge?
When I'm older, I'd love to have my own forge, but for now I have a friend who has one, and I just use his.
 

One last question – what does Onward + Upward mean to you?
At the end of the day, life is really short, and--not to get too existential--but as people, we're vessels of memories and experiences. I want to become the best version of myself, and I think DAVIS has given me the opportunity to do that. If everyone at DAVIS has that mindset, I don't think there's anything we can't achieve.