Layton Construction’s HBCU Partnerships: Emory’s Story
It was in May 2022 when Layton DE&I Manager Quentin O’Neal met Emory Norris at a Tennessee State University (TSU) classroom session. After the session, Emory exchanged contact information with the Layton reps, who quickly saw the TSU senior’s potential and began seeking internship placement for him.
Growing up in Atlanta, Emory was inspired by his architect uncle and harbored a passion for engineering. He always wanted to go to an HBCU and chose to pursue architectural engineering at TSU when the school offered him a scholarship.
This path led Emory to an internship in Las Vegas on Layton’s HCA MountainView, where he worked under the direction of construction manager Troy Stevens and alongside Harrison Ganir, the project engineer. While on the job, Emory did a lot of document control, took meeting minutes, worked on RFIs, RGCs, and submittals, put together the weekly reports, and communicated with trade partners—really helping the team out in whatever capacity they needed, especially getting a permit for the job.
Quentin received nothing but positive feedback from the project team, who raved about Emory’s work ethic, character, and enthusiasm. Troy Stevens said, “The cool thing about Emory is when he first joined us, he was pretty green and quiet coming into what can be an intimidating jobsite. As he progressed, he really opened up, gained confidence, took on more work, and did a great job.”
Despite not being able to do much field work due to the project’s early age and permit status, Emory gained a lot more than he would have in a classroom, he says. He was exposed to engineering skills, project management, and document control—areas of day-to-day life on a jobsite. A naturally shy and quiet person, communication was initially a challenge for Emory, but he learned how to talk to trade partners and architects and feels that he is a better communicator overall because of that.
Emory says he would do the internship again in a heartbeat. He really enjoyed working with the MountainView team, who welcomed him and made work feel like anything but. When asked if Emory would recommend Layton to his peers looking for internships, he says, “Most definitely. When I get back to school, I’m just trying to brag about you guys… this will open doors to other students looking for internships.”
Quentin couldn’t agree more, saying Emory has championed Layton’s internship program at TSU. Knowing the power of word-of-mouth endorsements, Layton looks forward to gaining more trust and a deeper connection among the campus community.