Portrait photo of O'Brien team member Alex Noble

Alex Mallett family

Q&A with Alex

I grew up around construction, my dad has been in the industry my whole life and so it was something that I was familiar with. When I got out of the Marine Corps in 2007, the skill set that I had gained didn’t translate to civilian work very easily as Artillery is not commonplace outside of the military. I had an opportunity to get involved in architectural sheet metal and the three-dimensional aspect of it really captured me. October 28, 2009, I was working as a superintendent on a jobsite and ended up losing my right eye. Over the course of the next year or so I was really struggling with what I wanted to do. I had a great friend who was a detailer for a large sheet metal company who started showing me how to use cad, do take-offs and really break the blueprints down. That led to an opportunity with a small company who gave me a shot as a project engineer. I was pulled into a couple of hard-bid projects and found that I had an affinity for estimating. I grabbed that opportunity with both hands and spent the next 7 years absorbing everything I could and learning from anyone who gave me a chance. That naturally led to a shot at becoming a preconstruction manager, a position that I kind of understood but not really. Over the course of the last year, I have found that Preconstruction Management is what I never knew I always wanted to do.

I live in Terrebonne, OR. If you look out my front door you get to see Sisters and other mountains, if you look out my back door, you get to see the beauty of Smith Rock. My main office is in our Bend location. I am a bit lucky though because in my position I am frequently traveling to all our other locations and involved company wide in projects. That may be one of my favorite things about my role in O’Brien. My family relocated to Terrebonne because we love the community. About 12 years ago we went to a wedding at Smith Rock and that sparked a discussion with my wife about where we wanted to end up. It took about 10 years to make happen, but we found our home.

I think the most important lesson to date has been not dwelling on the past, focusing on our identity and who we want to be and making it happen. To learn from the past and not lean on it as my mentor says. As a very optimistic yet competitive person I tend to take it hard when I get bad news. By slowing things down, and taking a moment to Stop, Understand, Plan, and then Act, I have found more success. The last part of that is learning to be the calming presence in the room, the voice of reason moving forward.

A couple of relationships that I have been focusing over the last year on have opened the door to multiple opportunities. I have been able to see the results of the efforts come to fruition in real time. I really enjoy the client development aspect to my job and to see opportunities come through the door has been great!

The first thing I think that new employees should take advantage of is the support system that O’Brien has in place. Help is only a call away, and I cannot think of one person who will push you off. Over the 5 offices that O’Brien has, we have lifetimes worth of knowledge to be shared, use the resources. Secondly, take time to realize and embrace our core values. They aren’t just for show. As a new employee if you take the time to really understand the core values, it will help you to be able to articulate who, why and what we are and want to be. Lastly, take advantage of educational opportunities and the technology available. O’Brien has so many tools that assist in our success, but they require effort and investment by the individual. Embrace it.

Kris Dennis and his wife
Kris Dennis and his family

Q&A with Kris

I’m in this industry because I found it allowed me to grow my knowledge in different aspects of home improvement, time management and professionalism. It’s not just about the industry you pick it’s about what it can teach you and the skills you can acquire.

I work in the Equipment Division office located in Seaside. I moved down here 10 years ago when I met my wife, and 5 years after that I found a job here at O’Brien.

I’ve learned that everyone communicates differently and that we all need to be on the same page.

The best thing that happened to me this year was being able to take the time to spend with my family at Disneyland.

The biggest tip I have is communication is the key with anyone in the company and to keep a positive attitude.

OBrien equipment truck

Q&A with Jeff

I grew up in this industry. I started out when I was pretty young. My dad was a concrete finisher when I was a kid, before I was born. When I got to be around 10, 11, 12 years old he would take me to work with him sometimes. If it was on the weekend he would take me, and I’d help him. I mean, my dad is my hero. So, you know, being around my dad and doing the same thing my dad does, that was always good. Still enjoy being around him.

I’m in the Valley at our Dundee location. Chris Mallett brought me on my last year at Allegis. I was doing the Mox Boarding House in Portland. On his first visit he asked me if I was interested in leaving and working for O’Brien, and I said I didn’t have any reason to. When I was finishing the project, it turned out they were considering closing the Portland Division. The main office is in Seattle, and I have no desire to live in Seattle. So, I interviewed with Keeley and Hank and Chris Mallet, they made me an offer, and I accepted. The Valley is what I interviewed for, coming out to wine country to do wineries, and tasting rooms and stuff like that. And here I am, going on 4 years now.

Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t assume because your title is superintendent, that you are only going to do Superintendent duties. Don’t assume because your title is project manager that you’re only going to do project management duties. There’s something this company has taught me: blur the line. I’ve probably learned more in four years with this company than I have in the last dozen easily.

So far this year I’m making a little more progress on a project, so that’s good in terms of stress relief. My better half got a promotion at work, so she’s making a little more money, so that’s good.

Keep an open mind. Appreciate the opportunity to be here. Regardless of all the headaches and the growing pains, I appreciate what I’ve learned since I’ve been here. There are some relationships that have developed here that I’m very grateful for. There are some good people in this company that really make a difference.