employee exemplification

Ismael Hernandez
Project Manager
Advanced Facilities Group, Portland

We believe in growing as a team, and Ismael Hernandez, known fondly as “Izzy,” has exemplified that guiding principle for more than a decade at JE Dunn. Born and raised in Kansas City, Izzy attended Kansas State University and earned his degree in Construction Science and Management.

“Growing up in Kansas City, I always remember seeing the JE Dunn blue windscreens and knew about the Dunn family through my mom’s involvement with the KC Chamber of Commerce and Donnelly College. Because of this, JE Dunn was top of my list when I was job searching.”

He joined JE Dunn in 2013 as an intern, completing three summer internships before joining the team full-time in 2016 as a project engineer in the K-12 Education group. His first project had him stationed in Liberal, Kansas building five new middle/elementary schools for the Liberal School District, in addition to other renovations and maintenance work.

“I remember the ultimate satisfaction and gratitude I felt on the first day of school when the kids were so excited to be in a brand new school that I helped build.”

From there, Izzy moved back to Kansas City and worked on projects for North Kansas City and Blue Valley. Working in the K-12 Education group was challenging due to aggressive schedules and tight budgets. As a project engineer running scopes on the projects, he quickly learned and developed his skills.

In the fall of 2021, he moved to Portland, Oregon to join Project Roadrunner. He made an immediate impact with his experience and was promoted to project manager, running multiple scopes on the project. With Izzy’s contributions, the project received JE Dunn Project of the Year in 2021 and 2023.

Izzy has worked on multiple progressive build projects for our semiconductor client in Hillsboro, Oregon. They are design-build projects where JE Dunn is installing a variety of enabling scopes to the tools that the client is installing in their facilities. Izzy’s role is largely focused on operations, helping the project teams execute the scopes of work for the progressive build program.  He is also contributing on various process improvement/operational excellence efforts.

As a traveler for JE Dunn, he has welcomed the opportunity to live in various places, although he admits it has sometimes taken him out of his comfort zone.  “I am a city slicker from Kansas City so [living in rural Liberal, Kansas] was definitely out of my comfort zone being in a rural area. As travelers, you really build a sense of JE Dunn family.”

Project Roadrunner has led to strong connections with other travelers, as it has brought out travelers from all over the country (Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, etc.). Izzy considers himself fortunate to be part of this group and sees it as an opportunity to see the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

The inspiration to go above and beyond stems from his parents’ strong work ethic. His mom has worked at a variety of companies in a variety of roles in HR, business development, and operations and has made her share of sacrifices to support their family. She is now the COO of Tico Production and COO of the Latino Coalition in Kansas City. “She has taught me that you can achieve your goals and aspirations despite the many challenges life throws your way.”

Although there have been challenges that Izzy has overcome, with the strong work ethic passed on from his family, he has persevered and is currently a Project Manager 2. He coaches many young project engineers and project managers, sharing his experience, and helping with their development.

“There is a shared culture of caring no matter what part of the country you are working in with JE Dunn. Continuing to travel and share that experience with others is rewarding. Especially when I tell people about how Kansas City, Kansas is the Taco Capitol of the United States (deemed by Forbes magazine) and that we have the best BBQ in the country. And I bug people enough with my RED KINGDOM chants.”