2019 GRIT Award: Meet John

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John was selected as the third place winner for the 2019 GRIT Award. John’s journey from a technician to Assistant Staff Project Manager exemplifies his Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity.


How did you come to ECS?

I had just graduated from college and took a 14-hour bus trip from North Carolina to visit my girlfriend (currently engaged) for the holidays in Maryland. I got a call for an interview while I was visiting and ultimately was offered a position as a technician. I accepted the job and immediately called my parents and told them I was moving to Maryland to start my new job in two weeks.


What motivates you to work hard?

I would say a combination of two things: My competitive nature and not wanting to let people down. I want to be the best consultant I can be and hopefully be a respected mentor and expert like many others at ECS. My office is like my second family. Many people in my office have mentored me and have helped me grow as a consultant and individual. Not working hard would be letting them down, as well as anyone who gave me an opportunity or helped me along the way.


What was your first job?

My first job was an interesting one: I worked for a guy who owned several manufacturing plants and a junk yard. I did everything from lawn care, stripping boats for parts, repairing forklifts and dismantling conveyor belts. I’m pretty sure the guy didn’t even know my real name; he called me “lightening.”


What advice would you give someone just coming into the industry?

It’s okay to screw up. Everyone does it. The only reason I know anything is because I had the opportunity to screw up and learn from it. Just make sure you don’t make the same screw up twice.

What does winning the GRIT Award mean to you?

The GRIT Award means a lot to me because I was nominated by my supervisor. It was an honor to know that someone as well respected as him knew my story and chose to nominate me. It also means that going out on a limb to take my 40-hour HazWoper on my own time and PTO just for the opportunity to work in the environmental department was worth it.