#Duckumentary - Nick PhelanPublished 04 / 05 / 2023
What did you do before your time at EDA?
I joined the Marine Corps out of high school. From 2008 to 2013, I was a rifleman, and got out as a Corporal. Afterwards, I went to college for a little while, starting at Middlesex County College and transferring to Rutgers Business School in Newark.
What brought you to the construction industry?
I was going to school for accounting, and while I was there I kind of realized that accounting was not the type of work I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I found out about Helmets to Hardhats, and joining the union sounded like it would be more closely related to what I was accustomed to in the military. Tough physical work, the camaraderie with the people you’re working with, being out in the elements, and taking pride in what you’re doing.
Can you briefly explain what you do at EDA?
As a Carpenter with EDA, I am out in the field doing sub-framing, trim, insulating the building, and installing panels.
What are some things that most people don't know about you?
I have a dog, a Staffordshire Terrier, named Domino. She’s white with black spots over her eyes and named after the female superhero Domino (as seen in Marvel’s Deadpool). I’m also a huge NY Rangers fan.
If you weren’t in the construction industry, where would you be today?
If I continued the way I was heading, I’d probably be working as an Accountant. I imagine I’d be going to work at M Station East after EDA finished the terra cotta there, working for Deloitte as an accountant, poring over balance sheets and admiring the exterior work that the EDA crew did over at the M Station project.
If you could work in any other trade or department here at EDA, where would you be?
I love my trade, so I wouldn’t change that.
Many many many years down the road, once I have the knowledge and experience, I could picture myself wanting to be a Project Manager or a Superintendent, getting to take a larger look at the details of projects, planning, and making sure everyone has what they need to execute the plan.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced in work? How did you overcome it?
In the past? Making sure my squad and I made it home from Afghanistan. I overcame it by not being complacent and keeping my head on a swivel. Which is kind of applicable to the work we do at EDA as well. Safety should be everyone’s number one priority. Everyone should go home the same way they came in. That involves recognizing unsafe situations and coming up with a solution to make it a safe situation before proceeding. There’s a lot of moving parts on a construction site, so maintaining that situational awareness is important.
What has been the best part about your experience working with EDA
Aside from the people and the bonds we build, I would say learning. Each job, and most new days for that matter, present an opportunity to learn something new. Whether it be a different panel system you haven’t worked with before, someone showing you a different technique or way to do something, and learning solutions to rectify problems that arise in the field. Learning is a lifelong process, and I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve met here with EDA.
What is your favorite EDA value, and why?
If I had to choose one, the most important/favorite one for me would be Build Trust. Without building trust, there is no team. And without a team, we don’t work. Building trust is pivotal to making many of the other EDA values work. If there’s no trust on a job site, if there’s no smiling or laughing, if there’s no way you’ll display humility, you will never exceed expectations working as an individual. Placing trust in the people around you is the only way anything gets done.