Mike Bartlett grew up in Orlando, Florida, and graduated from Lyman High School in 1980. He started his career in construction as an on-site employee with McDevitt and Street Company in 1983 as a field engineer. While working for McDevitt and Street Company in Atlanta in 1985, he enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology to study architecture. He graduated in 1989 with a bachelor of science degree in architecture.
In 1987, while working his way through college as a construction field engineer, Mike changed jobs and took a similar position with R. J. Griffin and Company. Upon graduation in 1989, Mike was offered a salaried position with R. J. Griffin as a Project Engineer in the Atlanta Office. By 1992, Mike was promoted to Project Manager and in 1996 promoted to Senior Project Manager.
In 1998, Mike was promoted to Vice President and Division Manager and transferred to Orlando, Florida to open a division office for R. J. Griffin focused on the Florida Market.
In 2004, Mike was asked to return to the Atlanta Office to manage the company’s largest client account, Wood Partners/Novare Group. Together with Wood/Novare, Dunn’s partner architects, and four other division offices, JE Dunn built 16 high-rise multifamily projects in 8 cities throughout the United States totaling over $1.1 billion in construction revenue.
In 2011, Mike was promoted to his current position and has operational responsibility for JE Dunn’s divisional headquarters office in Atlanta.
Mike has been married to his wife Janet since 1989. They have two sons, Kevin, who works as a project engineer for JE Dunn, and Andrew, a senior at Walton High School in Marietta. Mike leads an active life style and enjoys playing golf, and helping with his sons’ baseball and football teams in addition to his son’s scouting effort.
A LEED® Accredited Professional, Mike is also a licensed Florida General Contractor.
What inspires you to be successful?
At this point in my career, success is all about assisting with the development of others in our organization. I want to see people get better — continuously. And I like being part of that process. Which means getting to know employees individually, understanding their career objectives, offering constructive feedback, and aligning them with our company’s goals and opportunities. The reward for me is the chance to engage and support some of the brightest and best people in our industry. I am constantly inspired by the intelligence and the speed of learning of the folks we have in our organization.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Almost the same answer. I truly love being an “elder statesman” in a progressive, fast-moving organization. This puts me in position to share wisdom (I hope) and to pass along institutional knowledge and insight. It also challenges me to continue honing my leadership skills and to stay relevant to those who are looking to me for guidance by being adaptable and open to new ideas, and by staying on top of developments in our industry. At this stage, I find myself answering a lot of questions and being asked to provide opinions on issues that our people deal with daily. I need to stay sharp. JE Dunn is a sophisticated builder. I want to continue serving as a valuable resource to our employees, who are providing innovative solutions to our customers each day. This is fun!
What are some of the challenges facing your industry and what are you doing to combat those challenges?
Construction is a people business — it always has been, and always will be. Of course, we provide a service and solutions to our clients relying on superior technical skills. But in an industry where communication and collaboration are increasingly critical to working efficiently and sustaining relationships, I believe one of our greatest challenges is people — more specifically, getting the right people on our team as we grow. This requires a diligent, neverending quest to recruit well. At JE Dunn, we like to say that we’re looking for people who are hungry, humble and smart. It is natural to wait until you need people to hire them. In my opinion, that’s way too late. That will lead to crisis hiring, and ultimately will erode the company’s culture. To combat this, we stay focused on ALWAYS recruiting people, so that when we need help, we are ready to pull the trigger. Stay ready and you won’t have to get ready!
Tell us about your upbringing (where you grew up, parents’ careers, etc.) and how that might have shaped you in your life and career.
I grew up in Orlando, Florida and enjoyed a big family and some hard-working parents who instilled a strong work ethic in us all. I earned my way through college — Georgia Tech — as a construction worker, and upon graduation literally rolled from an hourly worker to a salaried employee here at JE Dunn. This is the only place I have worked since age 25.
What are some of your personal interests/hobbies and causes you support outside of the office?
At 55, my activities have dwindled to golf, occasional hunting and shooting sports and my favorite, attending live events — sporting events and concerts mostly. I love the passion and energy that come at events with large crowds. I have a wonderful and loving wife, Janet, whom I met in college, and we have two sons — Kevin, 26 and Andrew, 19. We have had Atlanta Falcons season tickets since 1990. Our live sporting events and trips have revolved around the Falcons. We usually catch a road game somewhere each year. Last year we chased them to Los Angeles and to the Super Bowl. I serve on the Executive Board at the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and previously volunteered with BSA Troop 1011 in Marietta, where my son Andrew earned Eagle Scout.
What does the future hold for your company/position? Any plans for growth?
JE Dunn is a privately-held family owned business that’s moving towards an ESOP. We are currently about 20 percent employee owned. This bodes well for the employees who will spend their careers here. Our business is expanding and growing, in our current markets and in new enterprises — renewable energy and advanced industries such as microelectronics and clean room spaces, for example.