Get to Know: Danielle Hemsley

September 17, 2019

Danielle Hemsley, RID, NCIDQ, joined JAI in 2016.


What is your role at JAI?

Director of business development. Also, occasional deliverer of Chick-fil-A biscuits, and it is fun to make everyone’s day with that!


What three words best describe you?

Social, busy, mom.


What is your favorite aspect of being on the JAI team?

I think that I get to do a lot of the FUN stuff! Since I am social, I get to be with people most of the time, either at meetings or events. I also get to help people in need – whether it is helping the partners, project managers and staff with some marketing/business development support or attending events that support worthwhile causes such as fighting cancer, heart disease and more.


What three words best describe the culture at JAI?

Laid-back, yet productive. FUN!


What has been your proudest moment to date working at JAI?

When I first started in 2016, we put out the nicest proposal for the University of Tennessee Dining Hall that we still use as a guide. I had a little part in that, and it felt great! Also, within two weeks of finding out that we were awarded with that project, we received a phone call that we would be the designer/architect for Lakeway Christian Academy.

Two of our largest projects came in, and I had only been at JAI for three months. It sure set the bar high, but it was a great feeling to WIN!


How has working at JAI enhanced your professional development?

I have learned a lot about all of our project types. My background was mainly in education and health care, but I have learned so much about mixed-use developments, master planning, restaurants, residential, industrial, spiritual projects, etc.


What or who is your go-to source for work inspiration?

I would say, I go to almost everyone in the office for help in something. Every person in the office provides a clear direction in their own expertise. Most often, I depend on Linda Mollica to help me keep up with myself, Heather Overton for ongoing advice, Colleen Riordan to remain connected to health care, and Emily Haire to help me in all of graphic design. I really could list everyone!


If you could switch places for a day with any JAI team member, which one would you choose?

Our designers, I wish I had Daryl Johnson’s and Brian Pittman’s artistic design and drawing skills, and Emily Haire’s and Jimmy Ryan’s ability to recreate that digitally. I am a very visual person, and I think these project elements are invaluable.


Before joining JAI, what was the most unusual job you held?

I worked in a lot of restaurants – Chick-fil-A, TCBY, Applebee’s – but those are pretty normal. Also, I was a counselor at Webb Day Camp and taught archery.

My most unusual job was working in property management for an apartment complex. We had to inspect every apartment in two to three days. Let’s just say, it is better to keep people’s personal lives behind closed doors!


What do you look most forward to at the end of a workday?

This is a hard one, because at this time of my life, being a Mamma Uber to my kids is as long and hard of a task as my actual workday. I love being a mom to them and they keep me busy! I look forward to having some quiet time on a screened-in porch to sit, relax to some music with a glass of wine – one day.


If you were stranded alone on an island, what three material possessions would you hope to have with you?

My phone – I am too social to be left alone that long without a connection to the world; a fun beverage that would never run out; and a book – John Grisham or James Patterson.


What is your secret talent?

I can sleep in the car from Knoxville to St. Louis. Give me a chance to rest and I am asleep!


What is your favorite place in the world?

The lake. I have been around the world – Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Iceland, Hawaii and 35 states across this beautiful country of ours. I love to travel, but when it comes down to it, if I had a small place on the lake, with a screen porch, I would be content.


What are you currently watching or reading?

The next book when I find time is John Grisham’s “The Reckoning.” My husband, Jim, and I just finished “Mindhunter” on Netflix.