Jessica Yarbrough is a preconstruction manager who has a background in both field leadership and project management. Get to know more about her in just 10 questions.
1. What’s your day-to-day look like?
I hate to use this answer, but it is just so fitting: It depends! I’m generally working on a budget or a bid, so doing takeoffs and writing scopes. But every day is different in this industry, which is what makes it so appealing.
2. What’s the one lesson you’ve learned in this industry that’s stuck with you?
It’s all about the details. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also educate yourself on the subject matter. We rely heavily on our trade partners to be the expert in their given field, but it is important to also educate ourselves on details, scheduling, installation methods, etc. so we can have meaningful and productive conversations about getting a project built.
3. How did you get started in the industry/get started on your career path?
I lost a bet. No, I’m kidding. I was actually pre-med when I started college, but I transferred schools after my first year and decided to explore some other options. I was signing up for my sophomore classes and had biology and calculus 3. The lady doing registration asked why I was taking a higher math class along with biology classes. I told her I loved math and wanted to have a contingency plan if the medical career path didn’t pan out. She said, ‘You need to be an engineer not a doctor. I’m signing you up for my physics class instead of biology.’ She turned out to be one of my most favorite professors and put me on a path to engineering. That led me to transfer to Auburn where I met some people in building science. The career opportunities and class curriculum really appealed to me, so I switched majors to Building Science. I never looked back.
4. What’s your most memorable project/career highlight?
This will not resonate with most, but a highlight for me was that I spent the first 6 years of my career with this company working alongside my husband (Senior Superintendent Justin Yarbrough.) Through the years, people always had the same response when we told them we worked together “Oh I could never do that. My spouse and I would kill each other.” He has been my toughest critic and my biggest fan. He has pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone on more than one occasion and I grew so much as a result of his support and encouragement. This is a very tough industry, and it is so important to have someone in your corner.
5. What’s the best part of your job?
The people and the relationships.
6. What’s your favorite band or song?
Dave Matthews Band
7. What’s your hidden talent?
I play the piano. I took lessons for 12 years. I’m also a pretty solid bowler.
8. What’s your favorite movie?
The Big Lebowski
9. What’s your best/funniest/fondest memory from your time with Hoar Construction?
After being here nearly 12 years, it’s hard to pick just one. One that stands out was when Justin and I were working on a project in Kentucky. We were living out of our camper at the time and we had a few other folks on our team at the same campground. At least once a week we were hosting everyone at our little “yard” and cooking out for everyone. The comradery of having everyone together to kick back and unwind after a hard day was really a fun time.
10. What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Proudest work accomplishment has been the grand openings of projects I’ve helped to build. Watching a community celebrate and enjoy the work we put in place is an incredible feeling. Proudest life accomplishment would be my son, Trotter. It is such a joy to watch him grow and learn.