Retirement Announcement: Jeff Timmerman, General Contracting Director

When you cross the threshold of Jeff Timmerman’s office at Miller-Davis’ headquarters, you don’t find ostentatious displays of accolades or extravagant furnishings boasting his extensive credentials and decades of industry expertise. Instead, Jeff’s workspace mirrors his persona— pragmatic, focused, and relatable. Rather than diplomas adorning his walls, you’ll find eclectic artwork, curated antiques, and sports team banners. His desk houses blueprints, project schedules, and his favorite coffee mug, illustrating his commitment to his work and the projects at hand. Here, efficiency reigns supreme, serving as a venue for problem-solving and productivity and as a nexus for fostering rapport among team members.

Jeff had never planned on entering the construction field. However, his path naturally veered in that direction due to his father’s work as a carpenter. At 14, he began working summer jobs alongside his father to earn some extra money, a tradition he maintained for the three summers that followed. Despite completing a couple of years of college courses shortly after high school, Jeff eventually returned to full-time carpentry work, joining seasoned construction professionals on job sites.

“That hands-on knowledge was invaluable,” Jeff recalls. “I learned about jobsite dynamics from extremely smart and talented industry veterans, and it gave me a real leg up on my peers later on in my career.”

In 1996, Jeff made the most challenging decision he has faced to date: the choice to return to school. After more than a decade working full-time as a contractor, he had the itch to make a career shift, so with the support of his cheering section—his wife Beth—he enrolled at Western Michigan University to finish a degree he started pursuing years earlier. Juggling a full course load alongside the demands of a full-time job, being a husband, and a father to four young children was no small feat. In two-and-a-half rigorous years, he earned his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and returned to get his Master of Business Administration a few years later.

Shortly after graduation, Jeff landed a job at Miller-Davis as a project manager overseeing work at Abbott Nutrition and Plainwell High School. Back then, the landscape of a construction management firm looked a lot different than it does today. He recalls that, at the time, the company had one computer, pagers were more widely used than cell phones, and building information modeling hadn’t fully gained traction. Jeff attributes the rapid evolution of technology as the foremost industry transformation during his tenure.

“Technology has revolutionized the industry, there’s no doubt about that, but I always stress, especially to those just entering the construction field, that tech is merely a tool, much like drills and saws,” Jeff says. “You have to know how to do the job to see the full benefits the technology has to offer.”

Humble when asked about his biggest career accomplishments, Jeff doesn’t cite his slew of promotions, the multi-million-dollar projects he was on, or his dozens of industry connections. Instead, he emphasizes the collaborative efforts of the teams he has worked with, attributing success to their ability to come up with better ways of doing things.

“We know how to build a better mouse trap, so to speak,” Jeff explains. “That’s what sets us apart—our knack for problem-solving to meet the very specific needs of our clients.”

He particularly liked projects that required shutdowns—pausing work in specific areas of an occupied site, often industrial, to allow for construction work—because of all the planning and sequencing needed to meet milestones while still allowing owners to operate their businesses. He also preferred to be in the thick of things, on-site with the action, rather than in the office.

To anyone considering the field of construction, Jeff has one piece of advice: show up asking questions.

“None of us got ahead by showing up knowing how to do everything,” he shares. “Be curious. If you can learn the fundamentals, they can be applied to multiple factions of this business.”

He feels decisiveness and the ability to think outside the box are also critical skills needed for long-term industry success, stressing the importance of coming to the table with ideas when a plan needs retooling, “It’s okay not to have the answer. It’s not okay to show up without solutions to consider.”

As for plans following his May 3rd retirement, Jeff can likely be found on the putting green, casting a line in the water, or hanging out with his family. He says he’ll leave Miller-Davis knowing that it’s left in capable, hardworking hands and feels grateful for the opportunity he has had to play a role in the company’s legacy.

Miller-Davis is honored to raise a glass to Jeff Timmerman, General Contracting Director, on his 24 years with our firm and 42 in the industry. His dedication, expertise, and leadership have played a pivotal role in our continued success and growth, and we look forward to building upon the strong foundation he has helped us establish in Michigan’s general contracting market.