From framing to flying and back again, Jimmy Walter has had an eventful career that landed him right here as a JRC team member.
Four years ago Jimmy Walter reached out to JRC owner, Ken Felts, about coming to work for us as a carpenter. Jimmy hadn’t been in Richmond long – just a couple of weeks – but the city’s architecture and culture convinced him to settle in and get back to his construction roots. When he and Ken talked about their shared passion for building and creating life-long products, he knew he had landed in the right place.
Jimmy’s career in construction began in Rockville, Maryland where he began apprenticing under a Master Carpenter right out of high school. In this position he learned fine trim and carpentry skills that started his fascination with home building and remodeling. Between 2007-2009 Jimmy started two businesses in Maryland – a home remodeling company and a home inspection company he owned alongside his father.
In 2011 Jimmy took a big leap and moved to Manteo on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. There he found plenty of work remodeling beach homes, but he also found a new passion: flying. The birthplace of flight, the Outer Banks has many opportunities to fly above Jockey’s Ridge with unparalleled ocean views just like the Wright brothers, and that’s what Jimmy decided he wanted to do. He got a job at a local flight school and within a few months was a full-time Hang Gliding instructor. For the next four years he taught thousands of people of all ages to fly. This passion also led him to travel all over the country, flying along both the Appalachian and Rocky Mountain ranges.
But in 2015 Jimmy found himself in Richmond, exploring the city, its food and breweries and parks and it didn’t take long to convince him he should stay. Jimmy began his work at JRC as an assistant project manager working alongside and learning from our two other project managers who were overseeing all the signature projects at the time. But his experience and skill level, as well as the experience and mentorship he gained from his supervisors, quickly led us to promote him to Project Manager. In fact, Jimmy is currently managing the largest JRC signature renovation and addition to date!
Jimmy’s days now start with a large cup of coffee and can turn into anything from communicating with the clients and carpenters, coordinating with vendors and trade partners, working with municipalities, scheduling staff, overseeing budgets, sourcing materials, organizing sites and even sometimes boasting a tool belt or broom on a jobsite. He loves how different every day can be, but he also loves the change and flux he sees in the industry as a whole. “What I love about the construction industry is that it is in constant change. You won’t see typical building practices vary much over a few years or decades, but materials, styles and applications are in constant evolution.” This keeps you on your toes, learning and doing something different – things Jimmy thrives on.
These new materials and applications are his favorite part of the job, admitting that his favorite jobs “include using materials or products that are not typically used in residential construction.” He points to a project where a client wanted to take advantage of the views from their second story sunroom that overlooked their beautiful wooded lot. Typical building practices would have limited the window size and therefore the view, but with this as inspiration, we were able to source locally made commercial style aluminum framed panels to create a wall of glass that gave them the panoramic view they wanted.
This creativity embedded in our process is what Jimmy sees as JRC’s differentiator. “What sets us apart isn’t the ability to build the products that we do – it is the process in which we do it! It’s a combination of having all the right pieces in place, the correct people to oversee the process, quality installs with high quality products and doing it all within budget and on schedule.”
When Jimmy isn’t being creative and running projects efficiently for us, you’ll find him in his backyard workshop, putting some sweat equity into his own home or out running around with his new puppy. He’s also always up for a weekend trip to Virginia’s many antique stores or exploring Richmond’s restaurants and breweries with his girlfriend. But, he says, “We certainly leave time just to relax.”Tags: addition, architecture, ashland, builder, building, carpenter, central Virginia, chester, chesterfield, constructor, contractor, craftsman, custom construction, design, design build, hanover, henrico, high end construction, high end home builder, home, home builder, house, james river construction, JRC, luxury construction, luxury homes, Midlothian, remodel, renovation, Richmond, rva, VA, Virginia, whole home remodel