Insights- DJ Monahan


If you have been keeping up with our construction blog posts, you know that the El Moore is a complex building project with ambitious sustainability goals. As such, it was critical to retain not just a highly competent general contractor but one that shared the same triple bottom line values  as the El Moore project team. The Monahan Company fit the bill as a company that values history (it’s a four generation family company) with a proven track record for excellence.

I had an opportunity to sit down with DJ Monahan recently. I was curious about his perspective on the El Moore project given the fact that he comes from a long line of contractors and has himself been working in the field for more than 20 years. He has seen a lot – but I was sure he hadn’t experienced anything quite like the El Moore project 🙂

Question: DJ what were your first reactions when you learned of the El Moore project?

“I was extremely excited about being involved in it. You can’t be around Tom Brennan for any length of time and not be affected by his passion and commitment to environmental responsibility. We have done a fair amount of LEED projects but this project is more than LEED. It’s more like LEED+++. It is about responsible living and responsible construction.”

Question: Are you learning anything?

“Everyday! This is a unique project in that it is highly collaborative.  We are even sharing in the procurement of some of the materials, which is highly unusual. It is more than collaboration  — it really is being part of a team. A partnership.

Question: Do you think it is likely that we will see more sustainable living projects being built in the near future?

“I think that the likelihood is higher but not high, simply because there is a fear factor that exists in taking on something like this. It takes a lot more effort to find and recycle materials and initially the investment is higher.”

Question: What is your advice to others who might consider taking on such a project?

“Practically speaking I would say sit down with some people like the team at the Green Garage and the El Moore, the architects and contractors involved – a group of people who are committed to sharing information, as they would like to see others glean from this model of development. I think that would be a great first step in lessening the learning curve.”

Question: What has been the most exciting aspect of the project for you?

“Outwardly it is a very unique project. For a relatively small space there is a lot going on: apartments, hotel, green house, park – it is very unique. As unique as all that is, I’ve been even more excited about the people that I have met and the melding of all the different personalities involved in the work. It makes for an enjoyable project.”

Question: On a little more of a personal note, this is just one of your projects that you are overseeing – what helps you to stay focused and not get overwhelmed with it all.

“Well – one I pray A LOT everyday! I have a great family a wife who I am crazy about and three kids (a son in college and two daughters in high school). I love spending time with my family. I work out regularly. Of course, I am part of a team – on any job you are part of a team. At Monahan, we have a culture of integrity, and good systems all designed to support relationships with the people we work with. It makes for a good work environment and quality projects”.



  1. You are always a part of a team
  2. Practice self-care
  3. You have to overcome fears if you are going to be unique
  4. Keep learning
  5. Take care of your people

Until next time!