November 23, 2015
When Johnson & Jennings was approached about building the Interfaith Veteran and Family Resource Center it quickly became apparent the facility in Escondido, focused on providing recuperative care to homeless veterans, would be a meaningful project for the company. However, owners Donna Vargo and Naomi Lohnes, say in the beginning of the process they had no idea how positively impactful it would be.
Right off the bat the chance to work with Interfaith and Home Aid instilled excitement and enthusiasm in Johnson & Jennings’ Senior Project Manager, Dan Dreesen. “When I first looked at Interfaith’s website and reviewed the plans for the building and what they were trying to achieve in the community, I knew J&J had to be involved.” Dreesen says what appealed to him was being able to help our veterans in such a tangible and meaningfully way. As a longtime volunteer in his church and 30 year leader of a local troop for the Boy Scouts of America, Dreesen was also thrilled about the opportunity to use his everyday professional skills to help people in need.
Company owners, Donna Vargo and Naomi Lohnes, felt that the Interfaith Veteran and Family Resource Center brought together Johnson & Jennings’ mission to build quality environments and the desire to make an impact on San Diego communities in a meaningful way. Vargo and Lohnes decided to donate all of our preconstruction services and managed the project at cost to help the center achieve its construction goals within the limited budget. Shortly after, Interfaith announced the center in Escondido would be the first facility in the United States open to female veterans and their families. As a women owned company, this extra component seemed serendipitous.
Dreesen, with his team Robert Carter, Mike Stout and Jennifer West worked with Alexis Parker of Home Aid to solicit donations from the subcontractor community for the 10,000 sf, $2.5 million two story building renovation.
“This was yet another amazing aspect of this project, you wouldn’t believe the generosity of the subcontractor community,” says Dreesen. The subcontractor community donated over $175,500 in labor, material and other services. The construction team agreed the project was both one of the most technically challenging projects as well as one of the most personally rewarding projects they have worked on.
Vargo says “Participating on this project, instilled a great sense purpose and creativity in our team. Exceeding the client’s expectations and delivering the facility became their mission. With limited resources and funds, the construction team worked with donated materials and labor to an amazing outcome. The result is a top of the line facility for Interfaith and those they serve and a great learning experience for the J&J team.”
In addition, Lohnes said there were other benefits to the company as well. “There is no doubt in my mind this is one of the best projects Johnson & Jennings has completed in its 33 year history. Everyone at Johnson & Jennings is so proud of contributing to the Interfaith Veteran and Family Resource Center, which advances the lives of 32 individual’s every day. That pride translates to increased company motivation and loyalty and in turn improves our bottom line of service.”
President and CEO, Johnson & Jennings General Contracting
Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, Johnson & Jennings General Contracting