Quarter 3 2021 | Issue No. 50 Contents:      Eric’s Message      Troy Brandt     Donella Chainus      Chad Holmes     Katy Ventre      Carl Davis     Travis Nichols     John Jonsson     Josh Smith     Mike Hayden     Gary Tankus     Milo Middleton     John Hoglen     Richard Ellinger     Family News

Eric Taylor

Message from Eric

Saint Augustine of Hippo held the most prestigious academic position in the Roman Empire before forsaking it, soon becoming bishop of the not-so-famous city of Hippo in northern Africa. He would stay in Hippo the rest of his life despite being famous and a major influence on the entire world during his lifetime. His life and writings continue to be a major influence to this day.

Michael Jordan of Chicago had a childhood love for baseball that he forsook to concentrate on basketball, earning him a scholarship at UNC where he won the 1982 NCAA championship and the 1984 Naismith College Player of the Year before being drafted to the Chicago Bulls where he played his entire career. You know the story. He won a bunch of MVP awards and a whole host of other individual awards to go with 6 NBA championships with the Bulls. While it is true he came out of retirement to play a couple mediocre seasons for the Wizards to end his career, that was after becoming a part owner of the Wizards and after his Bulls team had completely fallen apart.

What do Saint Augustine and Michael Jordan have in common? They both put on one pant leg at a time. Both famous. And both had longevity in a place. They both changed the city they lived in, and from their cities they were able to have an influence on the whole world.

10-Years at RQ means something. 10-Years at RQ is not just kind-of a big deal. Even though we are experiencing more and more folks in the 10-Year Green Bat Club, it is, no doubt, a super-big deal precisely because of the fruits associated with longevity. Someone showed me an article from the publication Inc that made me shake my head in visceral disagreement. The article was suggestive (mainly to Millennials) that they should switch careers every 2-3 years. Their rationale was incredibly near-sighted. The author claimed this was best for the individual as they would gain diverse skills and become more valuable and could get wage hikes every move they made. I didn’t write that as eloquently as they were trying to sell the idea, but that was the idea and I couldn’t disagree more. Longevity in a place allows individuals to have a bigger impact on the organization they are a part of, and because of that it allows them to have a bigger influence on the world at large.

You’ve heard the expressions, “Grow where you’re planted” and “The grass isn’t greener on the other side.” Both sayings use agricultural language and appropriately so. Agriculture represents life… growth… vitality. Longevity – life and vitality – are interlinked. The truth of the matter is, no organization is perfect. RQ isn’t perfect. Our grass isn’t perfect green-ness. I think what makes RQ special is that it wants and tries and continually strives to be perfect.  We want our grass to be perfect green-ness even while we admit it isn’t quite perfect yet. But this is what is so important to understand: It is the lack of perfection that translates to opportunity for every employee to make an impact and have a significant influence. Imperfection means opportunity! Those (like the Green Bat Club) that stick around longer are most often able to have a deeper impact and be a major influence. And those things bring meaning to our work and meaning to those our work touches in the world. What’s more, longevity fosters community and a greater sense of belonging which are really positive things in a very individualistic society. Whether you want to influence the world or not, who doesn’t want to be a part of a healthy, happy, thriving community? It’s more fun!

This year is RQ’s 25th Anniversary. Anyone who was around the first 15 years would say that the last 10 years has seen us grow and mature as an organization by leaps and bounds. The group highlighted in this edition of The Flywheel have had a major hand in this growing and maturing. While we at RQ want every single member of our team to contribute to the continued leaps and boundedness of our journey, it is important to recognize this very special group of people. When you see someone from this gang, or think to write them a line, thank them for the influence they’ve made wrapped up in their longevity. They’ve truly made RQ the great place to work it is. And when you see the green-ness of their 10-Year bat, be reminded that there is plenty of influence and impact left for the rest of us.


Eric Taylor

Troy Brandt

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the things you like to do for fun? 
I’m 60 years young and married to my beautiful wife of 25 years Lani. We have two lovely daughters, Jenna 24 and Jessica 21. For 10 years our fun was being a Travel Softball family so the girls could have an opportunity to get college scholarships. Now we love our staycations at our home in Temecula and enjoying our pool, spa and our backyard full of palm trees with family and friends. I also look forward to my early morning motorcycle rides out into to Temecula wine country on my old school 2003 Honda Dual Sport XR 650 R.

How did you find RQ and why did you want to work for us? 
I met Robert Childress while I was completing my EM-385 40 hour course. We hit it off and we stayed in contact until I was hired about a year later. Best decision I have ever made.

What is your current role at RQ and – if applicable – what project are you assigned to?
I am a Site Safety and Health Officer on our P-250 Child Development Center at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar San Diego, CA. After spending over 35 years in the Lath, Metal Stud Framing & Glazing industries I realized I had a passion for Safety Management and reinvented myself. One of the many things in my life that I am very thankful for.

Fun thing you want to share about yourself that no one else might know?
This one stumped me.

What’s your favorite memory from you 10 years with RQ?
There are so many fond memories, but there is one that I think of often. Everyone knows Kurz always has some tough and philosophical questions for you when he sees you. Me, being the new guy It had been the norm for Kurz to quiz me on RQ’s Mission, Vision & Values while we were in a group of our team members. I remember the first time it wasn’t me, it was the new guy that was getting grilled. I was no longer the new guy and I was so proud that I had made the cut.

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your 10 years at RQ?
I have learned that RQ Construction is not only a great place to work but our Mission, Vision and Values are a mental compass to live and work by.

From Kurz:
Troy, with his reliable, tireless commitment and effort through the years has touched hundreds of people on our projects, keeping them safe, supporting our Vision with a Best Built environment while being the First Choice, and making our Team better every day.

From Kevin Tucker:
Troy is the first team member on site day in & day out. We can always count on him. He is deliberate in his planning and communication to ensure the team has what is needed to start work as scheduled.

From Brandon Kinney:
One of Troy’s favorite sayings is “I don’t ever want to be the reason work can’t start.”  That mindset over the 10 years at RQ speaks to Troy’s commitment to planning and communication of safety; Support of people (both RQ and our trade partners); Reliability to the many project teams Troy has been a part of;  All in support of safely producing quality work.

Donella Chainus

Donella was hired as the Field Administrator on the P-1400 Marine Corps Energy Initiative, MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She excelled in her position and was quickly tagged as a potential manager for all FAs in North Carolina. She became the Field Admin Supervisor in 2012 and oversees a team of 9 with projects in both North Carolina and Virginia. Along Donella’s RQ journey, she has assisted with many side projects that include planning team events, coordinating travel, onboarding new employees, and more recently, assisting IT with multi-factor authentication and setting up both new offices in North Carolina and Virginia.

Donella shows up to work every day ready to take on whatever challenge comes her way. She is very generous with her time and on top of her workload she spends lots of energy helping others. As a manager, she has the respect and love of her team. It’s not uncommon to hear feedback from her team that includes statements like, “I love working for Donella” or “I feel supported by Donella. She is there to help with anything we need.”

Chad Holmes

“When Chad arrived here in GTMO, early 2017, he immediately started to make an impact. You would not be able to tell he was new to the roll of PM. He has always been a leader focused not only on the project but on much greater goals: Understanding/Partnership with all Stakeholders, Individual Career Growth, and most importantly – Individual Personal Growth. He’s developed and encouraged people for lifelong success regardless of our location or role. He thinks about not just the individual but the individual and their family. My growth under Chad has been exponential. Thank you, Chad, for everything you have done and the sacrifices you have made. You are a reason I am confident in what I do regardless of where life takes me.”

I wanted to start with this quote from Cody, who himself started as an entry level Project Engineer at RQ only a few years ago.  Cody, under the tutelage of Chad, has quickly become a strong Project Manager in a very short period of time, who not only tirelessly drives for success on his projects, but also does so while living RQ’s mission, vision and values.   It is like finding a great treasure chest to find someone like Chad who fully embodies RQ’s mission, vision, and values, who leads by example, strives for excellence in everything he does, and settles for nothing less than excellence on all his projects while tirelessly working to grow our markets, people, and capabilities, and all strictly within RQ’s ethical standards and values.   It’s like finding a much greater treasure chest buried beneath the first treasure chest to find someone who can replicate those same characteristics in others throughout the organization.  Chad is self-sacrificing, humble, excited to tackle new opportunities and increase RQ’s capabilities.  And he has instilled these same values throughout the organization he has helped build at GTMO.  Chad has also proven that he’s willing to go where RQ needs him to go (i.e. moving from California to Washington to GTMO) and help lead our new expeditionary team on a new island (ergo Puerto Rico).  In fact, it is Chad’s willingness to do what it takes to make Puerto Rico successful that gives me the confidence that we will be successful there.

Apart from his exceptional attributes at work, I’ve had the opportunity to literally live across the street from Chad and his family for the past four and a half years (yes, GTMO is a unique place).   Chad’s character is consistent in and out of work.  He is a loving husband and father, a great neighbor, and an active and positive member of the community who is charitable with his time and energy.

Chad, thank you for your hard work and dedication to RQ over the past 10+ years.  I look forward to working with you for many years to come.

Kyle Youngdale, another one of Chad’s PMs at GTMO, wanted to share a few “Chadisms:”

“Ya, I think that’s the right approach…maybe we could [insert improved solution].”

“I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. I think we could pursue parallel paths for now.”

“Thanks man, I appreciate what you do.”


“You’re the best JTF Barracks project manager I have.”

Ok, I’m pretty sure Kyle made that last one up.  Thanks, Chad, for being the kind of guy who can have such endearing Chadisms.  We hope for and expect many more in the years to come.

Katy Ventre

Katy joined the team in 2010 to manage our home office in Carlsbad and quickly formalized all office processes. She tackled facility issues with urgency, met each employee with a smile and dealt with all the awkward office issues with grace and humor. On top of the day-to-day office duties, Katy has tackled projects that include company vehicle analysis, yearend gifting and creating forms. One of the most impactful projects she has successfully completed is the creation of our company apparel store, THE SHOP.

Katy has a passion for improving processes and challenging the status quo. She doesn’t sit idle waiting for specialty projects to be assigned to her. She seeks them out, owns them and executes. Her passion has led her to a new role at RQ, implementing a corporate intranet and formalizing our use of the Microsoft 365 platform. She took on these challenges with a renewed sense of excitement, determination and focus to help RQ streamline its communication and customize a platform to help improve our collaboration spaces.

Carl Davis

Carl was raised in the Little Creek, Norfolk area of eastern VA.  He lived there till he was 8 and most of his family still live in the adjacent Hampton Roads area. He first met RQ staff while working for a subcontractor on the AW/RQC BEQ FY09, MCB Camp Lejeune, NC project.  He was interested in and so impressed by the RQ culture that he pursued a job opportunity with RQ and came on the team on September 30, 2011.

But Carl is not just a one-dimensional man.  He especially loves spending time with his wife, Kimberly, and their family.  He can also be found riding dirt bikes for fun.

When asked about his favorite project at RQ, Carl said this, “I have been blessed to work on several unique projects which makes choosing just one difficult.  If I had to pick one, I would choose the Human Performance Center in Virginia Beach for Seal Team 6.” An impressive project.  Carl made RQ look really good on that project.

What does Carl enjoy most about working at RQ for the past 10 years?  Hands down, it’s the people he has worked with for the past 10 years!

This is what others on the team have to say about Carl…

David Youngdale, Project Manager:  “Carl is a great to work with every day, is very smart, hardworking, and has great sense of humor. We are very fortunate to have him.”

Chris Canfield, Senior Project Manager:  “Although I haven’t necessarily been a direct supervisor of Carl’s since the P1400 days, I have worked with him enough to know he is very deserving of the 10 year bat. He’s a great family, person and friend and I would entrust any of our projects with Carl.  He genuinely cares about the success of his projects, as well as those around him that he works with.  He is a hard worker who leads by example and will no doubt continue to contribute to our success in this region.”

Craig Shadle, Project Executive:  “Carl has been integral to our success on the east coast and growing our business in that region. RQ has one of the best reputations in the region because of people like Carl. He’s not only a great superintendent, but a great person as well. He selflessly goes about his work each and every day, striving to see his project and those around him succeed. I look forward to another 10 years with Carl on the RQ team.”

Congratulations Carl!  You are one those people that make RQ what it is today!

Travis Nichols

The greatest tribute RQ can give Travis Nichols is simply to demonstrate what a tribute Travis Nichols has been to RQ. Trav is a man of integrity. Period. He is as dependable as they come. If he is responsible for something… you can count on it getting done. If he says he’ll do something… he’ll do it. He’s proven that every single day for 10 years now. He’s had over 3600 chances to fail and hasn’t. Well maybe once, but that’s still pretty good! RQ is fortunate to have such a good dude. Under Trav’s leadership in Pursuits, our overhead costs have gone down per proposal sent out while taking really good quality and making it even better. Our yearly planning and forecasting have improved. Our staff has improved. And more significantly, retention has gone up in a position type that is prone to turnover. Our Pursuits group is just plain better than before Travis’ years. If Trav was given a trophy for every betterment he has brought to RQ, I don’t think a single trophy case could hold them all. And, really, he wouldn’t have any trophies in cases because he’s the type of guy who would give all the credit to his staff and his peers around him. His trophies would be in their trophy cases.

Story time. Before moving from Lionshead to Faraday (ergo pre-Covid / Zombie Apocalypse), guys used to fairly regularly meet out in the parking lot at lunchtime for a basketball game. Although no Yao Ming in stature (who lived with Trav’s family for a little while – fun fact), Trav was perhaps the single greatest competitor out there. Never losing that smile of his, you could tell he was upset with himself the few times he drove the lane against three defenders and actually missed the layup or turned over the pass. You always wanted to be on Trav’s team because his team almost always won. I’ve always said you can learn a lot about a guy on the basketball court. It is a picture that exemplifies who Trav is: He wants to win. He wants the game to be perfect. And when one of life’s blunders happens, he doesn’t lose that smile. What a guy. After 10 years I still want to be on Trav’s team!

Listen to some of the words from those HR would say Travis is their supervisor. They just call him Travis.

“Travis: We could not ask for a better leader and advocate for our Marketing Department/Pursuits than you! I am grateful for your mentorship and value your friendship. Congratulations on 10 years!” – Christiana

“Congratulations on 10 years, Travis! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.” – Lauren

“Travis, Congratulations on achieving your 10 year anniversary! Thankful for your leadership and your commitment to our team over the years. Navigating through rapid growth and “unprecedented times”, our group seems to always come through stronger than before. Here’s to 10 more!” – Alissa

“Travis – thanks for being the best leader for our team! Your guidance, support, insight, and understanding are truly valued and have been influential during my own time at RQ. Congrats and happy 10 years!!!” – Kristina

“Thank you for providing consistent encouragement, guidance, and support, and for always being a great resource and leader. I appreciate your willingness to always talk through issues no matter how big or small. Congrats on 10 years at RQ!!” – Marisa

John Jonsson

I was born in Chicago, IL and moved to California in 1964. Grew up in Orange County, attended school, and graduated in 1973. I came to working at RQ after working for Harper Construction on Camp Pendleton for several years. A coworker, Richard Olaiz (who I worked with at Harper), recommended I apply with RQ – and the rest is history.

With my free time my wife Sandy and I love to hang out at the beach enjoying body surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking, and hiking the many trails that are in San Diego.

My favorite project would be the first one that I worked on when I came to RQ. That was the Navy Lodge at North Island, Coronado. It was located right on the beach and every day working and having the ocean to look at was an awesome environment. That’s also the project I met Pete Pizzo and Josh Ericksen.

Fun Fact: In 1980 I smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. At that time the Bible was a prohibited book in the Eastern Block communist countries. And if you want to know how we did it, can you keep a secret? So can I!

“JJ, with his extensive experience and willingness to do just about anything, anytime has been a Team player, always there, willing and able to help and keep us on point and moving forward.” – Kurz

“JJ exhibits strong attention to detail and really shines during punchlist closeout process.  He has completed a wide variety of project types during his time at RQ.” – Dave Barg

“JJ has an eye for detail and a knack for figuring out unique building elements. He is a genuine individual, team player, and a valuable member of the Michelson Lab project.” – Chris Angi

Josh Smith

Josh grew up in Vista, CA.  A local (North San Diego County) hometown prodigy who knew a few people who had worked at RQ and loved working here…so when he finished college at Cal Baptist University with his engineering degree, he came to work at RQ as a PE on August 1, 2011.  Soon Josh settled into RQ Estimating at the HQ and has risen to the role of a Lead Estimator.

But Josh is more than just a great part of RQ.  He’s also a golfer, a Padres fan and cherishes time with his wife and 4 children.

When asked about his favorite project to work on at RQ, Josh said this, “My favorite projects were when we were bidding over $300M at one time at Camp Lejeune for all the Hurricane Florence Recovery projects. It was a tough time because COVID had just shut everything down and the whole estimating team was working remotely, but I feel like our team grew so much because of the difficult task we had. When RQ won all that work, it was such a rewarding time.” And quite the project is was, opening the door for RQ to successfully win other very large contracts.

One of Josh’s best memories at RQ was working for Doug Youngdale.  Josh said, “He was an amazing man to work for and made sure we had fun while working. Whether it was playing basketball, eating cinnamon rolls, or just joking around, Doug made coming to work enjoyable for everyone.”

This is what others on his team have to say about Josh…

James Altman, Chief Estimator, “Josh is a gentle giant of a man…not because he’s a big man, but because he’s a man that isn’t seeking recognition, but is in fact having a giant influence and impact both in his job as a Lead Estimator and also for all of RQ.  He is one of the key foundation stones on our Estimating Team…genuine, indispensable, team member…someone everyone can count on and learn from.  Josh has been a big part of our ongoing success and we have been most fortunate to have Josh for the last 10 years.  Congratulations Josh, on your first 10 years!

Matt Sesslin, Estimator, “Josh Smith is the type of guy that will really take the time to show you how to work through any issue you might have on a project. He is always willing to backcheck and be a second set of eyes when you want to review something regardless of the other things he has going on. He is a great coworker, friend, father, and husband. RQ is very lucky to have him, and we are better because he is on our team. But, he doesn’t like fish and that’s a bit fishy…”

Josh Osborne, Lead Estimator, “When it comes to Josh Smith the first things that come to mind are “selfless & humble.” He has a way of being one of the best at whatever he does but doesn’t need anyone to know it, he just does his thing and with time anyone paying attention begins to realize how amazing he is. He is a pillar in the Estimating department and has been a crucial part of all of our success.”

Mike Hayden

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the things you like to do for fun?
Enjoying life, love being on the water especially crabbing, enjoying the Northwest and Big Sky Country, hiking

How did you find RQ and why did you want to work for us?
Was doing work at Camp Pendleton as a General Contractor and heard about RQ looking for help and decided to inquire about the SSHO openings and that’s where it started for me. The reason for the change was to take my experiences and apply them to safety and RQ seem to be a good fit

What is your current role at RQ and – if applicable – what project are you assigned to?
My role as SSHO on the P-1090 project includes getting sub-contractors safety docs set up for govt approval , over see site safety in the field to include for example scaffold plans & inspections, crane plans and inspections, trenching inspections, confine space entry, are just a few of the things I do, assist the QC’s and Superintendents and have filled in as a assist superintendent in the pass on other projects

Fun thing you want to share about yourself that no one else might know?
Taking up trap shooting, smoking meats. I’ve been going to a place up in Chino and love it. I am also working on long range shooting

What’s your favorite memory from you 10 years with RQ?
I would say it would be making the career change from General Contracting to SSHO and RQ giving me a chance to expand on my career

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your 10 years at RQ ?
That RQ has let me expand my knowledge and expand my safety certifications

“Mike is Mr Dependable; regardless of what it is or where it is, he is always ready, willing and able to be there for the Team, doing what is needed to keep us safe and keeping it simple,  all the while sharing his unique perspective on any number of worldly events and at times creating his own vocabulary.”  – Kurz

“Mike’s typical response to anything he’s asked to do is “no problem”.  That’s the type of attitude and mindset he has all the times.” – Clint Petit

Gary Tankus

I am originally from the City of Los Angeles in sunny California. I ended up working for RQ after hearing about the company through an old friend. I just completed a project out in the desert off Highway 8 for another contracting company and heard about a hangar project that was to be starting soon for RQ. I was told RQ was looking for qualified Safety Managers for the project and another project dealing with underground electrical work. After hearing how much work RQ had, I decided to put my hat into the ring to see if I could land the job. Within one week from that date I set up an interview with Robert Childress and Don Rogers and was hired to come aboard for the Camp Pendleton MALS-39 Hangar.

In my free time I enjoy hanging out at the beach surfing or nighttime diving for lobsters. I also enjoy riding my road bike (bicycle) and working out with weights. Probably one of my favorite things to do is take long walks on hiking trails and hang out with my wife and my dog at the park playing ball or throwing a Frisbee. We just got a new puppy and she is pretty awesome.

I think one of the most memorable events in the past ten years of working with RQ happened at Balboa Navy Medical Center, when for some strange reason our trailer decided to catch on fire. We had about 20 people working in the trailer when it decided to go up in flames. It only took about 2 minutes for the entire trailer to be engulfed. It was a true team effort to get everyone out of the trailer safely and attempt to put out the fire. We got the first part right, but when it came to the second half, we just couldn’t save it. Flames were about 30 feet in the air as we all watched from a safe distance across the street. The entire trailer was burned to the ground, but our United States of America flag was spared from the flames. It was saved by the quick work and quick thinking of the Balboa Navy Medical Fire Department. They saved it from having the same fate as the trailer. What a day!!!

“Gary, with his abundant energy and passion for the Team and Safety is there and everywhere on site, sharing his deep knowledge and caring soul to keep us safe and productive.”  – Kurz

“Gary is personable and willing to do whatever it takes to support the project teams, even beyond the scope of Safety. Through his years of experience and insight, Gary contributes to the overall success of projects to ensure workers go home safe each day.” – Dave Barg

Milo Middleton

A bit about me:
I have very little fun because I like to work. I have worked from the East Coast to the West Coast; from the Canada border to the Mexico border. I have worked in most states, except for two.

How I learned of RQ:
I was working at Camp Pendleton on the only 5 story barracks at the time. I was the 4th QC Manager on the job and they had not come out of the ground yet, though the project was coming to the end of the original schedule. One of the other QC Managers at the time asked the COE of the company where he would be headed next. He said that the QC’s brought nothing to his company. When I heard this, I started to look for my next job. The NAVFAC Safety at Pendleton told me about RQ, as you had started the 800-power pole replacement job (utilities upgrade) and needed a Safety manager. That gentleman talked to me and talked to Robert Childress and Don Rogers, who then called me and asked me to have dinner with them to talk about opportunities at RQ. At dinner, we talked about my background and about RQ and how safety worked. Two weeks later, I came to work at RQ.

Role at RQ:
I am a Site Safety Manager/Trainer at RQ. We work to make sure that the safety rules are kept on a project. I spent 10 years with the Army Core of Engineers as a GS12 Assistant residence engineer and ran over $100M in work at NORAD in Colorado. I have worked on jobs ranging from $100,000 to $5.2 Billion as a Safety or QC Manager. Currently, I’m working on of the projects at China Lake: the repair of the Michelson Lab and wing addition.

Good memory in 10 years:
During my 10 years at RQ, I have seen that RQ does more in the line of safety than any one I have worked for in the past and that’s a great thing to be a part of.

From Kurz: Milo is and has always been there for the Team, sharing his extensive knowledge and experience.  Be it Camp Pendleton, Twenty-Nine Palms, Coronado and now China Lake, he has put himself out there,  engaging with the Team and trades his own and endearing way, and keeping us safe.

From Clint Petit: He’s dedicated and will work whenever needed.  I’ve asked him to let me beat him to work at least once. He loves working, although will not admit this and in fact needs reminders to smile once in a while. Milo only drinks diet coke, as he believes water rusts your insides.

From Jeff Ventre: Although you may not know it from first appearances, Milo is a big softy willing to help in any way he can.  Home shopping network, books and safety training would rate highest on Milo’s list of “fun things to do on the weekends!” Of course I’ve worked many weekends side by side with Milo so I know these things which is why I also know that he loves his job more than his “fun things to do on the weekend” list and I have been grateful to have him there alongside.

From Chris Angi: Milo might appears to act like a grump, but is really a silly guy that has a unique way of lightening the mood. His wealth of knowledge and experience always brings great value to any team.

John Hoglen

John worked for the architectural group, JWDA, for several years and did some DoD work with Soltek for them. He ended up rubbing shoulders with James Brown and Eric Miller. On other projects he had worked with Stacey Strand. He had heard and seen good things about RQ, and when given the opportunity, he joined the RQ Design Team on December 12, 2011.

John was born in Santa Monica, CA, but grew up in North San Diego County. Went to Oceanside High School and then went on to Texas A & M (Go Aggies) for his bachelor’s degree in Architecture.

Today John enjoys spending time with his kids and working on home improvement projects. He enjoys learning new skills both on his home projects, and when it comes to his work at RQ. He has become a sort of guru that most everyone on the Design Team looks to for “how to do it” and “how to fix it” issues in architecture.

John’s favorite project, though there are many of them, was the Coronado Coastal Campus for the Navy Seals.  John said, “the Coastal Campus in Coronado is pretty tough to beat. The SEAL TEAM OPS buildings 1, 3, 5, & 7 were amazing projects, and one of the best sites in the world, on the beach in Coronado.”

When asked what some of his best memories were at RQ, John said, “Most of my favorite memories with my colleagues here at RQ involve us heading out of the office together as a team.  Sometimes those trips are to tour the projects we’ve designed and meet the field teams doing such great work to build them, and sometimes it’s for a design CDW or government meeting, but the trips always end up being so impactful and productive that it’s immediately clear that we’re part of a very capable and accomplished team here at RQ.”  And John is a very impactful part of that Team!

This is what Sherri Haviken, the Executive Director of Architecture said about John…

John has been integral to our growth in RQ Design over the past 10 years.  Not only does he keep our systems up and running smoothly, but continuously seeks and implements innovative methods for our team to achieve greater efficiencies in Design through our systems and software.  John has also been a key component of our training new staff in how we develop our designs, while at the same time advancing his own project work.  In addition to all of this, John has an incredibly positive attitude that supports us all – he is able and willing to answer questions and assist at any time . . . and believe me, we’ve all tapped into his expertise!  John has helped Design grow into what it is today, both in capability and attitude.  Thank you, John, for all that you bring to RQ, and for the person that you are.  Congratulations on your 10 years Anniversary!

Richard Ellinger

Rich was a part of the RQ team as an IT consultant years before he was officially hired 10 years ago. He helped maintain and sometimes fixed issues within our corporate network. During Rich’s tenure at RQ, he has grown the team from an all-in-one IT person to a solid team of four and growing into specialties that will meet the needs of RQ. Rich brought an expertise that helped us become software-compliant, built a corporate network that would sustain our growth and add in numerous protections to keep our data safe. He has spent the last 10 years at RQ helping create a technical infrastructure that we can continue to build on and serve us in the future.

Rich is passionate about how tech can help make our team become better, faster, and cheaper. He’s constantly chasing the next big advancement and presenting these to the team. He has an original perspective that can help us reevaluate our potential decisions, even if we don’t understand his thought process (haha!). Rich has a talent for the random one-liner that can calm potentially tense situations and he brings a unique sense of humor that keeps us guessing.  Rich continues to be a playful teammate that loves RQ and continues to try to make it better in his own way every day.

Family News:

Josh Smith – and his wife, Nicole – welcomed their 4th child, Kearson Elizabeth Smith, on 8/30/21. Hudson, Addison, and Jackson are very excited to have a new sister. Congrats, Smith family!

Dan and Amanda Tiersma welcomed Samantha Rose on 8/27/21. Her brothers and sister were ecstatic to meet her. Congratulations, Tiersma family!


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