Team philosophy endures

September 25, 2022


By Debbie Juniewicz

From football huddles to client meetings, much has changed since J.R. Purnell, ’02, attended the University of Richmond, but his focus on teamwork remains as strong as ever.

“Sales is like being an athlete — showing up prepared, putting in the work when no one is looking, following routines to have a minimum output level no matter how you're feeling,” he says. “Internally, I manage my team's deliverables to clients. It feels like being a captain of a sports team.”

Purnell — a Spider running back on two conference championship teams — is now a sales executive at the Los Angeles branch of Falkbuilt, a leader in digital component construction. He sells prefabricated interior construction, an alternative to using drywall. Sustainability is the cornerstone of Falkbuilt as digital component construction uses fewer materials and virtually eliminates on-site construction waste. It is designed for disassembly and can be easily reconfigured.

I love showing people a better, more efficient way to work.

“It’s manufactured in the factory, shipped, and erected on site, kind of like Legos,” he says. “To me it represents the future of construction. I love showing people a better, more efficient way to work.”

While it has been decades since he suited up for a college football game, sports and fitness remain a priority. This thread “has run through my life and actually has gotten stronger over time,” he says. “In sports, you have public accountability, sacrificing for the greater good, and you pump your teammates up, and those elements are part of the corporate world.”

Purnell would like to do more than help his clients build better spaces as he is also interested in building spaces that combine his passions.

“I love running around and being active, and I believe fitness permeates all phases of a person's life from productivity to capacity and mood,” he says. “I would love to help create a sense of community by building spaces that bring people together through sports or physical games.”