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Gray: The Progress of our People

Progress and growth have always been the mark of a good company. Any time a business is stagnant, and certainly any time a business is moving backward, it’s not a good sign. But, the real question is how progress actually defined?

At Gray, we connect progress with our team members. Going back to the early days of the business, it was understood that the company would only go as far as our people would take it. Past Gray leaders, Howard and Jim Gray were drawn to the phrase coined originally by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, “When you’re green, you grow. When you’re ripe, you rot.”


When our people are successful, Gray is successful. Across the company, you can find countless stories of team members who grew in their respective roles and helped pushed the business forward in the process.


Recently, Emily Mathis, senior manager of Pre-Construction Services at Gray’s Southeast Office, was named to the Engineering News-Record’s (ENR) Southeast 2021 Class of Top Young Professionals. This annual contest recognizes up-and-coming regional construction industry professionals who exhibit notable achievements in terms of career and industry leadership, community service, and creating landmark projects.


Emily’s story is one of many posterchild stories of success at Gray. Before arriving at Gray, Emily earned a mechanical engineering degree from Georgia Tech University. As part of the 10% female population in any given mechanical engineering class, she gained the confidence needed to navigate her everyday professional environment in the male-dominant construction industry. This degree and education are vital in giving Emily the ability to critically think through the complex needs of high-profile projects with difficult design concepts. Thanks to her background, Emily is able to foresee potential needs and issues and address them with customers on the frontend of projects to avoid costly and untimely hiccups later in the process.


While at Georgia Tech, Emily spent time as an intern with RaceTrac where she learned the importance of prioritizing the company’s culture over her individual role within an organization. After graduation, Emily interned with Georgia Tech campus ministry, which taught her the skills of selflessness, teamwork, and how to fight for the people in which you believe. These life experiences have helped shape Emily into the person she is.


Once arriving at Gray, Emily rose through numerous positions including: project engineer, assistant manager of pre-construction services, and manager of pre-construction services before landing in her current role.


“It’s the people here that really motivate me to really do my job right and to do it better,” says Emily. “If I do my job right we have work, we win work. That motivates me to do the best that I can because it is impacting so many people.”

"It’s the people here that really motivate me to really do my job right and to do it better. If I do my job right we have work, we win work. That motivates me to do the best that I can because it is impacting so many people."
Emily Mathis, Senior Manager of Pre-Construction Services


People really are at the heart of everything Emily does, both in and out of the office. When she’s not at work, Emily is dedicating her time, effort, and energy to outside community organizations to help other people. She volunteers her time with Georgia Tech’s Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF), Board of Directors, The Service League, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Young Advisory Board.


Emily participating in the golf portion of the 2019 Chick-fil-A Birmingham Corporate Challenge. This event promotes friendly competition to support charity partners.


Inside the office, Emily leads large, complex teams, spearheading proposal efforts for potential customers and facilities that average nearly $1 billion in opportunities annually. Her comprehensive understanding of Gray, attention to detail, and constant customer-centric approach has made her an invaluable member of the team.


“Emily’s creativity, dedication, and hard work are a huge part of why we have been so successful in recent years in this region. I could not be prouder of the long hours she has put in and incredible projects she has helped produce. This is an honor well deserved,” says Drew Romans, regional manager of Gray’s Southeast Office.


“It’s been an honor to see Emily grow within Gray,” adds Brian Jones, president and CEO of Gray Construction. “She has grown and developed others as she has advanced herself, which speaks to her strong leadership qualities.”


Emily has been privileged to both lead and collaborate on several major projects like YKTA’s new automotive manufacturing facility, Q CELLS’ first U.S. solar module manufacturing project, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc.’s automotive assembly addition, and many others.


These projects are just a small sample of the work the Southeast office executes and serve as a testament to the determination and effort given by Emily and many others. It is because of their individual efforts that Gray was able to win these jobs and successfully complete them. And, it will continue to be the individual efforts of our team members that pushes Gray from where it is today into the future. As Gray president and CEO Stephen Gray often says, “Personal growth precedes Gray’s growth.”

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