Welcome to The ESS Family: Matt Cowell and Dennis Bahls

Sarah Brown | Thursday July 1, 2021

Growth is our middle name. We’re talking about the kind of strategic growth that sets us apart from the rest. And we have our incredible employee-owners to thank for that. When you join Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS), you’re not just looking at another job, it’s a career where you will have an impact on the bottom-line. Owners-mentality and commitment are must-haves. Not only does this allow us to sustain operations and drive business performance through the roof, securing the right employee-owners adds room for more opportunity to do what we love; deliver best-in-class results.

On that note, we’re excited to bring two new leaders aboard that will help us continue to invest in ESS. Matt Cowell is our new Director of Environmental Health & Safety, and Dennis Bahls is our new Vice President of Alternative Delivery & Project Executive. The addition of these two proficient leaders will help us continue to stay competitive in our industry and maximize the value and approach of our essential business functions.

Having a well-equipped safety team to drive our overall mission is imperative. Tim Paulson, Co-CEO at ESS stated, “Safety always comes first. We maintain a continued investment in safety for the community, our partners, employee-owners and their families. Adding Matt to our team has allowed us to capitalize on our opportunity for continuity of leadership, while also planning for a successful future.”

Vice President of Alternative Delivery is a new role at ESS that was implemented to help us continue to expand our current design-build teams and expertise. We want to continue to chase the work that fits us best and keep up with the increasing demand for design-build pursuits in the market. Robert Gillis, Co-CEO at ESS shared that “Dennis brings a wealth of project knowledge and design-build experience from across the country. I look to him to help us continue to grow our design-build capabilities and leverage the strong foundation that’s already been put in place. His addition to the team is a continued effort to build on what employee-owners have established and it’s a step forward into the future of pursuits.”

Introducing our two new leaders at ESS!


Matt Cowell
Director of Environmental Health & Safety

Matt joined the ESS team on Monday, June 21, 2021. He previously worked with Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGC) as the Vice President of Safety and has 28 years of experience in the industry. Most of his career has been focused in highway construction where he’s been involved in almost every aspect of safety.

“I chose ESS because of the commitment of the leadership team and employee-owners. When everyone has ownership, it makes everyone better. I’m looking forward to working with a team of people who want to make a company as safe as possible. Production and safety are always pulling against each other. ESS has a team of people who understand that you have to plan ahead to keep things running smoothly and safely, while also keeping budget in mind. Safety requires more planning but gets easier when safety planning is built into every job. Everyone wins when safety is a fundamental principle. I’m looking forward to building on the existing program.”


Dennis Bahls
Vice President of Alternative Delivery & Project Executive

Dennis became an employee-owner on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. He previously served as a Senior District Manager for The Lane Construction Corporation in Henderson, Nevada. Dennis has been in the construction industry for over 32 years and has 18 years of design-build experience. Since joining the team, Dennis has been actively engaged in the process and is helping ESS pursue new work.

“The culture, innovation and friendly people here at ESS inspired me to take on the opportunity. I could tell that these individuals were professional, direct, driven, experienced and they enjoyed what they did. I’m looking forward to visiting other areas of ESS and meeting more of the employee-owners, owner representatives, subcontractors, subconsultants and potential partners. ESS wants to self-perform as much of the work as possible, they’re safe and strive to construct a high-quality product, especially when it comes to alternative delivery. Employee-owners are always looking for a better way to perform an operation, pursuit or process and that’s unbeatable.”
We couldn’t agree more, Matt and Dennis! Welcome to the owner’s mentality.