Michael Scherr, EMJAY Engineering & Construction Co., Inc.
Michael Scherr, president and CEO of EMJAY Engineering and Construction Co., Inc., doesn’t hesitate in naming his most influential teacher. He received the lessons of a lifetime from his father, Jerome, who founded their firm in 1954 and contributed his vast knowledge and experience until his passing in early 2016.
Joining his father’s company in the mid-60s, Scherr learned not only about business and general contracting, but the value of building relationships. Like his mentor, he believes in helping people solve problems, whether technical or personal. “I was given a good start in life, maybe not so much with money, but with strong family support, and as our company grew, I felt like I should give back to people and places that need help getting started,” he says.
Scherr counts Howard Community College as one of those valuable relationships. For over 30 years, EMJAY has contracted with the college on building and renovating its growing campus. That history goes back even further with EMJAY’s executive VP and COO, Wayne Myers, who crewed for the company that constructed HCC’s very first building on campus.
EMJAY’s relationship with the college includes building student scholarships through gifts to the Howard Community College Educational Foundation (HCCEF) such as special event sponsorships and a named space in the new Science, Engineering, and Technology Building. Scherr’s support also includes drawing on his industry relationships to help with outreach for the HCCEF. “You may hear the reasons why someone can’t or won’t give, and there’s always a reason ‘why not’ – there’s a million of them, but to me you should be the bigger person and step up.”
“Why give? Probably thirty years ago when our client, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, first asked for a contribution to help inner-city youth, I asked “do you really think it matters?” And the dean’s response always stuck with me: ‘If we help one person, then we’ve made a difference.’ If you can help with even a little, it’s a good thing.”