Evan Rankin discusses his recent recognition as AGC of Middle Tennessee’s Emerging Professional of the Year
Evan Rankin, Project Manager on the Building Operations Team, joined BELL six years ago. Since that time, Evan has become known for his keen ability to grasp challenging projects, situations, and details to make the best-informed decisions at all stages of construction. He is a constant source of assistance to clients and provides them with thoughtful solutions to their challenges, and he is a trusted ally amongst our industry trade partners. He is also viewed as a mentor among teammates and trains and leads them to use best practices that accelerate their growth and development.
As a result of his leadership, AGC of Middle Tennessee recently selected him as its 2023 Emerging Professional of the Year, an award that celebrates young professionals who are accomplished in their field and actively promote AGC’s core values of skill, integrity, and responsibility while supporting the next generation of leaders through personal and professional development.
We sat down with Evan to learn more about his background and industry experience, his recent recognition and the advice he’d give other young professionals about how they can become respected leaders in the industry.
1. How did you choose to pursue a career in construction?
I’ve always been interested in building things and seeing projects move from dirt to completion. I attended the University of Tennessee and pursued a degree in civil engineering because my dad, a structural engineer, encouraged me to go that route. While at UT, I connected with BELL at a career fair and was subsequently hired as an intern. I really liked the small company setting with the ability to do big work around Nashville and the state. I love to make things better – whether that’s a tangible construction project or managing and developing other young, ambitious professionals.
2. What excites you most about construction?
Developing relationships with all project stakeholders motivates me most. I believe it’s important to build positive long-term relationships and treat every person well, including teammates, project owners, onsite laborers, and subcontractors. Establishing trust and goodwill helps ensure the people we work with know BELL is a great company that does the right thing, treats its employees well, and does great work.
3. Why do you believe you were selected for this award?
I’ve really tried to learn from my own experience and equip young professionals with the tools they need to succeed. I pride myself on getting younger team members engaged at the project engineer level and ensuring they’re set up for long-term success. BELL has recognized that many of the professionals I have trained and mentored are succeeding, and I’ve received good feedback from project owners about the work I’ve done. These successes positioned me as a strong candidate for the award, and I’m grateful to be recognized for both my mentorship and project-related work.
4. What accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
I’m most proud of earning my engineering degree. I had to work hard to achieve academic success because it didn’t come naturally. During college, I learned how to build good relationships with professors and colleagues. My commitment to education and support from those around me helped get me to where I am today.
5. Who has guided you in your career and what have you learned from them?
Tyler Powell has been an incredible mentor since the day I started at BELL as an intern. I appreciate the openness of his management approach and how he allows me to ask questions and get to know him on a personal level. Tyler makes sure things get done but also explains the why behind the work so people understand the purpose of their roles. He truly cares about his people and helps set them up for success. Many interns Tyler works with have been hired as full-time employees because he invests in them and supports their success. The success of our internship program is an incredible testament to his leadership.
6. As an emerging professional, what advice do you have for other young professionals who want to make a difference?
My advice for emerging professionals is do your job as if no one is going behind you and checking your work. When you find a problem, be proactive and find a solution. Problems don’t just go away. If you can’t figure it out, go to the next person for help, but take initiative and be a part of the solution. My second piece of advice is always ask questions if you’re not sure how to do something. I appreciate when colleagues ask questions and get the job right the first time instead of reactively fixing things because they were afraid to ask questions.
7. What does this award mean to you?
I am incredibly honored to receive this award. It is a reminder I’m doing a good job and an opportunity for self-reflection on what I can be doing better. We have so many incredible professionals in the same position as I am who have the opportunity to be future leaders at BELL. I hope this encourages them to keep at it and know they can achieve great things.
8. How would you like to continue to grow in your career?
I couldn’t be happier with my career right now and feel very fortunate. My experience and current role have put me in a position to do great work and learn how to build and manage big projects. I have strong mentors on our leadership team, and I’m soaking their knowledge in as much as possible. I’d like to move into a project executive role eventually and help solve new problems. Regardless of my future job title, I hope to develop and mentor others, setting them up to be successful just like my mentors have done for me.
9. How are you involved with the local community?
I really enjoy volunteering with BELL and would like to find ways to serve the growing homeless population in downtown Nashville. We have many active projects downtown, and I’d like to be part of the solution to this challenge as Nashville continues to grow. I’m also involved with the Middle Tennessee chapter of AGC and look forward to continuing to serve this organization and partner with like-minded professionals who are looking to grow their careers while also serving as guides for new professionals entering the industry.