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.

Derek and Family in front of their house under construction
Derek and Family with their new house
Derek and Family on the site of their new house

Q&A with Derek

I was running the family ranch for about a decade when I decided I wanted to do something new. Construction was always in the back of my mind, and before I knew it, I had signed up for a Construction Management Certification at the University of Washington. I was searching high and low to get my foot in the door somewhere and was about to move back to Portland when I received a call back from O’Brien for an interview. I haven’t looked back since.

There’s nothing I enjoy more about my job than interfacing with clients and peers. Working collectively to problem solve and provide a product that you can see come to life before your eyes is what I live for. I work best with a little pressure on me as well, which doesn’t hurt.

When I started at O’Brien, Keeley told me I could take this career as far as I wanted. That became a reality when I was given the opportunity to move from Project Engineer to Project Manager in the middle of O’Brien’s largest project to date. It was the most challenging yet rewarding time in my life. It’s incredible to see what you can accomplish when the team around you believes in you and provides the support you need. That project finished 3 months early, under budget and ended up winning a DJC Best Project award as well as a Trimble Viewpoint Most Outstanding Project award. I was then invited to speak about the project at the 2022 Trimble conference in Las Vegas.

I work out of the Cannon Beach Office. I was born and raised 30 minutes north in Astoria. My wife and I love living at the Oregon Coast and raising our family here, so having the opportunity to work locally and build on the coast at a company like O’Brien is a dream come true.

We love the coffee shop below our office in Cannon Beach, Insomnia Coffee! You can also find us every Sunday at the Big O Saloon in Olney for taco Sunday and a cold beverage.

Everybody has a story and everybody has some value to add.

We broke ground and are self building our dream house on our 20 acre compound.

Come in with an open mind and don’t be afraid to be challenged. Incredible things happen when you work hard and challenge the status quo.

Derek and Family in front of their house under construction
Derek and Family with their new house
Derek and Family on the site of their new house

Q&A with Derek

I was running the family ranch for about a decade when I decided I wanted to do something new. Construction was always in the back of my mind, and before I knew it, I had signed up for a Construction Management Certification at the University of Washington. I was searching high and low to get my foot in the door somewhere and was about to move back to Portland when I received a call back from O’Brien for an interview. I haven’t looked back since.

There’s nothing I enjoy more about my job than interfacing with clients and peers. Working collectively to problem solve and provide a product that you can see come to life before your eyes is what I live for. I work best with a little pressure on me as well, which doesn’t hurt.

When I started at O’Brien, Keeley told me I could take this career as far as I wanted. That became a reality when I was given the opportunity to move from Project Engineer to Project Manager in the middle of O’Brien’s largest project to date. It was the most challenging yet rewarding time in my life. It’s incredible to see what you can accomplish when the team around you believes in you and provides the support you need. That project finished 3 months early, under budget and ended up winning a DJC Best Project award as well as a Trimble Viewpoint Most Outstanding Project award. I was then invited to speak about the project at the 2022 Trimble conference in Las Vegas.

I work out of the Cannon Beach Office. I was born and raised 30 minutes north in Astoria. My wife and I love living at the Oregon Coast and raising our family here, so having the opportunity to work locally and build on the coast at a company like O’Brien is a dream come true.

We love the coffee shop below our office in Cannon Beach, Insomnia Coffee! You can also find us every Sunday at the Big O Saloon in Olney for taco Sunday and a cold beverage.

Everybody has a story and everybody has some value to add.

We broke ground and are self building our dream house on our 20 acre compound.

Come in with an open mind and don’t be afraid to be challenged. Incredible things happen when you work hard and challenge the status quo.

A Stephanie Phillips baseball card which includes a photo and stats of some achievements in her 10 years at O'Brien.
The Unofficial Stephanie Phillips Baseball Card
*some stats not officially verified; estimates are very close ; -)
Stephanie on a bridge in front of a pond at the Portland Japanese Garden
The Incredible Stephanie Phillips
A group photo featuring Stephanie Phillips and a few team members from the Portland Office.
A group photo featuring Stephanie Phillips and a few team members from the Portland Office.

Q&A with Stephanie

I pursued higher education with the goal of becoming a teacher, attaining a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Initially hired by Keeley and his wife McKenzie as a nanny for their two children, my role gradually expanded within the company as the children matured. Transitioning from handling credit card receipts and running errands, I eventually assumed the position of Operations Coordinator, marking an unforeseen and transformative entry into this industry.

I cherish the diversity in my job, where one day I could be welcoming a new team member during onboarding, and the next day, I find myself in the field, spreading cheer among the crew. The unique aspect of my role in both human resources and marketing allows me the privilege of interacting with every member of the company.

It was my ten-year anniversary with the company. I love that I have been a part of the company since the beginning and have helped it transform into the company it is now.

I work at multiple offices, but my main office is the downtown Portland office. This is where I was born and raised. I love being close to family and to all of the fun events in Portland.

The springtime tulip festival in Woodburn is absolutely stunning, and during Christmas, the Oregon Zoo transforms into a magical spectacle with its captivating light decorations. The Portland Japanese Garden is a breathtaking experience in the fall, adorned with the most enchanting array of colors. Additionally, exploring the diverse and delicious restaurants around our office in NW Portland is always a culinary delight.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Ask for help from others that have more experience or knowledge in areas you aren’t strong in yet.

I absolutely love traveling—it’s my ultimate passion. Exploring new places and immersing myself in different cultures is what I live for. From a cross-country road trip and adventures in Las Vegas to the enchantment of Disneyland, my next destination is the Dominican Republic, just 8 days away.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Starting at a new company and getting the hang of their processes and technology can be tough and overwhelming. No question is too trivial. If you need assistance, just reach out.

A Stephanie Phillips baseball card which includes a photo and stats of some achievements in her 10 years at O'Brien.
The Unofficial Stephanie Phillips Baseball Card
*some stats not officially verified; estimates are very close ; -)
Stephanie on a bridge in front of a pond at the Portland Japanese Garden
The Incredible Stephanie Phillips
A group photo featuring Stephanie Phillips and a few team members from the Portland Office.
A group photo featuring Stephanie Phillips and a few team members from the Portland Office.

Q&A with Stephanie

I pursued higher education with the goal of becoming a teacher, attaining a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Initially hired by Keeley and his wife McKenzie as a nanny for their two children, my role gradually expanded within the company as the children matured. Transitioning from handling credit card receipts and running errands, I eventually assumed the position of Operations Coordinator, marking an unforeseen and transformative entry into this industry.

I cherish the diversity in my job, where one day I could be welcoming a new team member during onboarding, and the next day, I find myself in the field, spreading cheer among the crew. The unique aspect of my role in both human resources and marketing allows me the privilege of interacting with every member of the company.

It was my ten-year anniversary with the company. I love that I have been a part of the company since the beginning and have helped it transform into the company it is now.

I work at multiple offices, but my main office is the downtown Portland office. This is where I was born and raised. I love being close to family and to all of the fun events in Portland.

The springtime tulip festival in Woodburn is absolutely stunning, and during Christmas, the Oregon Zoo transforms into a magical spectacle with its captivating light decorations. The Portland Japanese Garden is a breathtaking experience in the fall, adorned with the most enchanting array of colors. Additionally, exploring the diverse and delicious restaurants around our office in NW Portland is always a culinary delight.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Ask for help from others that have more experience or knowledge in areas you aren’t strong in yet.

I absolutely love traveling—it’s my ultimate passion. Exploring new places and immersing myself in different cultures is what I live for. From a cross-country road trip and adventures in Las Vegas to the enchantment of Disneyland, my next destination is the Dominican Republic, just 8 days away.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Starting at a new company and getting the hang of their processes and technology can be tough and overwhelming. No question is too trivial. If you need assistance, just reach out.

First, Greg is the best superintendent I’ve had the opportunity to work with in my career this far.  Some supers can push a schedule but miss all the details, some pick up all the small things but can’t keep the project moving.  Few supers can effectively do both.  Greg is one of these few.  Second, he has successfully manned the helm of our largest project through the worst problems our industry has seen in recent years: Covid 19, massive manpower shortage, insane material price increases, and unpredictable supply chain issues.

Trust: O’Brien has trusted Greg to run our single largest project for the last 3 years.  Skyview is the 2nd iteration of a previous project and often feels like its own little island far away from the shores of Obrien.  Greg has maintained his trust that we are supporting and working with him even though our company’s resources are 7 hours away.  Collaboration: A project this large requires massive collaboration to be successful.  Greg has done a great job of collaborating with the owner, architect, engineers, Harper’s Ridge (first iteration), management company, city officials, fire dept, etc. to keep things moving successfully.  Innovation: Sometimes work demands so much of our lives that it seems there is no time or room to learn and grow.  Greg has pushed himself to utilize every tool we have available, while shouldering more responsibility with fewer resources than anyone else I have met in this company to date.

Greg has talked about moving on to project management and I believe this is a realistic possibility.  Regardless of his position in O’Brien, I see us being able to capitalize on his many years of construction experience to better ourselves, our teams, and our company.

— Dave Deardorff, Project Manager
Photo of Greg Perl
Greg Perl, Superintendent

Q&A with Greg

A mentor of mine who owned a construction company doing large multifamily subdivisions talked me into the industry. I was a ship loading superintendent supervising large longshore crews and multinational ship crews.  I grew up in a ship scrapping yard and that gave me a large landscape of different experiences in heavy industry. It seemed a good fit and my friend said “Son if you can handle longshoremen then you can handle the trades.” So, I switched . The added bonus was where ships run on a 24-hour day most of construction works an 8-to-12-hour day.

Figuring out solutions to problems either mechanical or humanistic. I love the circle of relationships we build in the industry.

There was a multifamily subdivision in West Linn Oregon that was going to litigation due to unkept promises by both the field personnel and the company. I was able to put it back on track as the superintendent. This was by repairing the relationship with the community owners and the city. We didn’t give the store away but met and negotiated promises and issues to the satisfaction of the owners. We diverted legal action.

Airway Heights in central Washington. Keely and Chris Mallet brought me on to do a multifamily project in Washington. They told me the weather was mild, it was a short job, all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

During good weather a public park in the center of town with a fountain. It is great place to read, lunch, watch and listen to children play. No matter how large the issues of the world parks are always their own time zone.

My other spot is a local grill I always drove by blowing it off thinking it was a grandma, grampa hokey deal. Being a downtown Portland food snob. I did that for a year until I went there with David Deardorff. Oh man was I wrong. It is fantastic. Best French toast this side of the Mississippi . That wasted year probably saved me ten pounds.

I have learned that I can be an open book . Be a team member without an ego and put my cards on the table, right or wrong. As Keeley has said, did we learn from this?

Getting enough buildings across the line for the owner of the Skyview project to relieve some his financial pressure. Hopefully reducing some stress on us.

Reach out to Carol. We have a resource now, so you don’t have to struggle figuring out information platform issues. That and each and every time take a picture of your receipts, so much easier.