TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Jason Barnes, 12 years with MMI
Talk to Jason Barnes’s peers and it is easy to see what kind of person he is. There’s commonality in the words used to describe him when they are asked what makes him special. Things like “great guy”, “welcomes the opportunity to help and teach others”, “always has a positive attitude”, “never gets frustrated”, and “full of knowledge and experience”. These sentiments are echoed over and over, just as Jason demonstrates them over and over.
Jason Barnes has been with MMI Industrial and Steel for 12 years, serving as a PM Services Manager, though he has been in the steel industry for over 24 years. What began as a job while going to college, quickly turned into something he loved and endeavored to make a career of. Initially working for a family friend and eventually starting his own business, Jason then brought his business savvy and steel construction know-how to MMI in 2011. His impact was immediate, in his first role as a project manager on some of the largest projects in MMI history. Today, he manages a team of project managers for both the full-service steel and the industrial services divisions.
There are many things Jason enjoys about his job and working with steel, but it’s clear the creativity involved is what sets his heart on fire. “My favorite part of the steel industry is taking raw materials and creating different things with it that other people get to use and enjoy. I enjoy working with wood and other materials, but there is just something really cool about building things out of steel. I love how we can take something as strong as steel and cut it with different tools, cut it with fire and melt it together with different welding processes. I love being able to be creative and enjoy the challenges it brings daily”, he says. However, Jason also enjoys the people aspect of his job. It is the teamwork, comradery and collaboration that inspires him to work hard. He values the different ideas and experiences that each of the project managers and crew members he oversees brings to the table. Collaboration is the best and most effective problem-solving tool, in his opinion. It brings a greater sense of satisfaction at the end of a project when he can share that joy with his teammates.
In Jason’s 12 years with MMI, he has had the opportunity to be involved in many different projects. When asked about the most memorable one, Jason says, “there are a lot that come to mind. Some great and some maybe not so great,” but the one that sticks out most in his memory is the first multi-million-dollar project he managed. It was the Coyote Center at Chandler Gilbert Community College. The building is equipped with a gymnasium, fitness center, and human performance lab. It serves as a one-stop-shop student services center and a welcoming gathering place. The biggest challenges were with the many different roof lines and architectural features, but ultimately Jason says, “…in the end it turned out beautiful!”
Jason is hopeful that many more people become interested in and will consider working in the steel fabrication industry. It has brought him such a great sense of accomplishment and enjoyment that he hopes others can experience it for themselves. His advice? “Just do it! Give it a shot. I had no idea I would enjoy working around industrial equipment and steel fabrication until I tried it and loved it. If you like to be creative and work with your hands, the steel and industrial industry is right for you. If you like challenges and doing different things daily, then this industry is for you. If you like to be around heavy equipment and machinery, this industry is for you. If you like to work with power tools, fire, and sparks, then this industry is for you!”, but in all seriousness, “if you have the slightest interest in this trade, I highly recommend you try it. I don’t think you will be disappointed… “.
We love Jason’s passion and commitment to his job. He is a true asset to our organization and lives by our 4H Core Values of Happy, Hungry, Honorable and Hardworking. He handles his failures with as much pride as his successes and is always willing to do what it takes to get the job done, always with a smile on his face and all the optimism we could ask for. We are honored to be chosen as the workplace Jason shares his time and talent with.