Investor Spotlight with John Parker

Posted in News on August 15, 2022

 Investor Spotlight with John Parker

Picture1.jpgJohn Parker is the Vice President of Project Development for EV Construction, a nationally recognized construction management firm. He works closely with clients in the early stages of project planning and preconstruction, to help guide teams from concept to reality. His strong leadership and communication skills contribute to the team effort and ultimate project success. Parker’s experience ranges from complex healthcare and industrial renovations to new senior living and retail construction.
 
John is a dedicated member of the community. John is part of the board of directors for the Fearless Family of Churches, which includes three churches in west Michigan. John is also the current President of the board for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. John also co-authored the book, Become Unmistakable, with his partner and CEO of EV Construction, Mike Novakoski.
 
You have years of senior-level leadership experience. Who are the people who have had a profound influence on you and your leadership style?
I am truly blessed to have many great leaders in my life.  My business partners are my primary source of leadership influence.  The three-partners senior to me are all about ten years apart in age which has given me the unique opportunity to model and learn from leaders in various stages of their careers and personal lives.  Having mentors, “out in front” of me in life has been an essential part of my growth. 
 
I also need to recognize my father.  He is retired now, but was one of the most respected leaders that I have ever known.  He has influenced my professional development just as much as my personal development. He continues to influence my life from his new home in Arizona, but I am also reminded of his influence every time I run into one of his many former co-workers or vendor partners. 
 
EV Construction is consistently voted one of West Michigan’s Best & Brightest Companies to work for. Talk to us about organizational culture. What are some values that you and your team live by?
In 2020 we celebrated 75 years in business and rebranded from Elzinga & Volkers Construction Professionals to EV Construction.  Rebranding gave us an opportunity to reflect our overall brand, culture and values. Our new tag line, “Built Around People” says it all for us.  It’s a simple tag line on the surface, but it has many layers.  First and foremost, we are a people-centric organization.  We focus first on our employees and their families.  We believe that when our employees are happy, they will naturally create happy customers and partners.  This high value in people drives the way we manage safety, vendor relationships and almost everything we do in our construction operations.    
 
From renovating a mail truck into an ice cream truck to establishing a ‘Shark Tank’-style kids’ program, you and your team are constantly doing exciting things. What part of your work currently excites you?
I must give credit for these idea to Mike Novakoski, our CEO. He loves to have fun and remind the team of the little joys in life (like a good ice cream sandwich on a hot day). Making time for fun in the workday is one of the biggest lessons that I have learned from Mike.
 
All work environments are stressful in some way. Construction can be particularly challenging.  Introducing fun, exciting and unexpected events in the normal course of business reminds us that there is joy in working hard with a great team.  Programs like “Y.E.S.” (the Young Entrepreneur Scholarship) connect the families of our employees to our business and it reinforces innovation and creative thinking. 
 
Our new “Sweets and Treats” ice cream truck represents the tremendous gratitude we have for our partners and clients.  Handing out ice cream at a groundbreaking or at a project site is a simple gesture to show how thankful we are for the people we work with and build for. 
 
Without programs like these, the world can quickly become very black and white.  We prefer to work in a colorful world!
 
What is a book that you’ve read or a resource that you use to help you continually grow as a leader?
I have been a journey since 2017 to read 100 books before I turn 40. I have been reading a wide range of books from classic literature to biographies.  Two of the most influential books I have read so far are the biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Politics aside, both leaders shared a similar attitude towards hard work and perseverance which has been particularly influential in my professional life.
 
Can you share why it is a priority for you to invest in economic development?  
There is a direct connection between the success of our business and economic development along the lakeshore. Business growth requires space, and space is what we provide.  We also invest because the tools and resources offered by Lakeshore Advantage make us more successful.  They add direct value to our clients, and we get credit just for making the connection!  More indirectly, EV Construction invests in Lakeshore Advantage in order build a community of innovation and entrepreneurship on the lakeshore.  We believe building that type of community will attract the kind of talent that we will need to grow our business for the next 77 years and beyond.